Our parking in Florence was until 11:30, so we made the most of it, and had a bit of a slow start to the morning. It’s surprisingly draining walking around all day in the heat – especially with all the camera gear on my back.
La Grassa – The Fat One, known for its rich cuisine – I’m sure everyone has heard of Bolognaise and who could ignore lasagne! There is more to the town than the rich food, but I’d reached the point that I wasn’t so interested in walking around another city – even if it was to see TWO leaning towers. OK, I was slightly interested to see two leaning towers, but I would have definitely gone if there were three. It seems that that’s what it’s going to take to entice me to visit another Italian city – three leaning towers.
Fortunately Risa was able to find a nice restaurant that was on the outskirts of town, saving us the hassle of trying to find an inner city park. Coming in to town, I was a little surprised by how busy and industrial this city was. We were driving on the largest motorways we’d yet driven on, much wider and busier than in Rome.
Anyway, the lunch. It was a nice little place, with quirky decorations including a bunch of 70’s albums hanging from strings, and posters of the members of the Communist party in a massive drinking binge. The menu changes frequently, depending on seasonal availability. Risa got a ragu, and I got a tortellini. I have to say, the ragu wasn’t quite what we were expecting. It was quite a paired down dish, without an abundance of flavour. It’s not to say it wasn’t tasty – it was – it was just quite simple, and wholesome. My tortellini was a little surprising too, as I didn’t expect to see carrots and zucchini in with the buttery white cheese sauce.
We could have stopped there, but what fun would that have been? We got a small steak to share. The waitress suggested we order it medium, and I’m glad we didn’t go any rarer – it was still quite raw inside. But, damn, it was tasty. I don’t know why something as simple as a steak can be so good (and frequently so bad).
Aaaand, because we are greedy, we went for deserts, too – cheesecake and a gooey chocolate brownie with mascarpone.
As you can guess, with this much rich food in our stomachs, and the temperatures exceeding 35˚C, it was a struggle to stay awake. Risa lasted 30-minutes on the motorway before giving in – I managed 45 minutes (I joke, I joke).
This is going to be quite a boring blog post, I’m sorry. We looked at Padua and Verona, and I couldn’t find a compelling reason to stop. There were cathedrals, and plazas, and old towns, a 20th century balcony that is claimed to be used by the 16th century Romeo and Juliet, but we’ve seen so many spectacular ones now that I don’t have the energy for any more. It was made worse when I read the reviews of camping areas in/near these two towns, filled with comments about gypsies breaking in (or attempting to) during the night. Some even seemed to suggest that a sleeping gas was used, and children came in through the ceiling vents – though, I don’t know how they can prove this. This ruined any skerricks of enthusiasm that might have existed.
I’m starting to get itchy-feet, and want to get moving again – we’ve spent much longer here in Italy than I could have anticipated.
So, we skipped the towns, and headed for the mountains – via Lake Garda. It was a long day on the motorway, covering a little over 350km. It’s not big distances, but it’s a slow car, and without air conditioning, the heat and the noise gets tiring.
We’re getting closer to Germany now, and it seemed that 1 in 3 cars had German plates. The motorway was also exceptionally busy, with one of the three lanes a solid line of trucks (and us slower motorhomes).
I know we only left Corsica and Sardinia, but I was looking forward to getting in to the north of Italy and spending some time in the nature again.