Thursday, July 3
I had a difficult time getting up Thursday morning after our evening at Diana's place. I wanted coffee but also wanted to sleep as late as possible. Sleep won. I would get coffee when I got to Alessandria. I walked to the station, taking one wrong turn which took me slightly off course. When I got to the station, Diana was just driving up and dropping her friend Birgit off. We rode to Alessandria together.
It was great having Birgit with me as she is a "power shopper" and has already visited Alessandria once before. Alessandria is a big city and I really had no idea where to go/what to see. She gave me the quick tour of the shopping district and showed me the other interesting areas on my map. The sales have just begun here and she was planning for a day of shopping. I was up for a little shopping but also wanted to get to know the city a little bit. When we arrived, we walked through the huge outdoor market. She pointed out a few stands along the way. I told her that I find it difficult buying clothes there since I am not sure if they would fit. She told me that was what the van was for.
After walking through the market, we turned left and walked through the smaller food market nearby and then hit the stores. I only lasted in a few stores with Birgit before coffee won out. She continued shopping and I went in search of my morning caffè machiato. After my caffè and brioche, I stopped at a huge fruit and vegetable store and bought a nectarine and some yellow plums. I stopped in a few shops until everything closed up for the afternoon. I ran into Birgit at Zara but then lost her when I was about to leave the store.
The one other place I wanted to go while in Alessandria was the biblioteca (library). I saw this wonderful picture of a room in this library with old books that I wanted to see. I found the library but was not allowed to take any photos inside. Besides the one room with the old books, the rest of the library was very modern. There was a video area with 4 TVs and headphones. CNN was on one TV, an Italian news station was on another TV, and there was a sign talking about watching DVDs on the equipment there. There also was an area with newspapers from around the world. The children's area was closed while I was there.
I spent some time reading a couple of the newspapers and then headed back towards the market area. Most everything else was closed and the next train did not leave for 2 more hours. I stopped in a supermarket and bought a yogurt drink and then found a gelateria, which turned out to not be that great. By this time, the stores started to open up again. I wandered in a few more until it was time to catch my train. I figured out that this would be my 9th train ride and not once yet has someone checked my ticket.
When I got back to Acqui Terme, I went to the Jolly Blu and spent some time on the internet and then met Jan at Gregario's new wine bar. She was there with Elizabeth and her husband. It was getting close to dinner time and I was craving good pizza. Elizabeth recommended a place near her apartment.
I ordered a bufala pizza (bufala mozzarella, pomodoro sauce, basil) and asked to also have pepperoni on my pizza (grilled peppers NOT the meat). My pizza was sooooo delicious! The crust was slightly burnt and so good. The sauce was perfect. The cheese was wonderful and the peppers were like the icing on the cake.