We were psyched up for a real day trip on the train. Woke up a little bit earlier and went for coffee. Our new friends at La Trinchetta were replaced by a gray-haired man about our age. We ordered our coffee and talked with him a while. Turns out he is the owner of the bar and le ragazzee (the girls) are his daughter and niece. I had a nice talk with him in Italian--I'm really improving, but I realize my grammatical errors usually about 5 minutes after the conversation is over. Anyway, we ended up giving him the rest of the botarga and that was nice.
I had to buy more time for the phone and then we walked to the train station. It took about a half hour. It was easy to get the tickets from the self-service machine--in English. We found our train way out on one of the last platforms and there were no yellow boxes there to validate. So--I had to go talk to the conductor and he wrote something on our tickets and initialed them to validate. The train made about 4 stops before we arrived in Padova. We got off and there were signs for pedestrians so we knew how to walk towards town. I really wanted to find the "i" (information for tourists) office so we made that our first goal. After asking a few people we finally found it and got a nice free map and some directions.
We walked to the lively market area first--lots of clothes, leather goods, fabrics, fruits and vegetables. Here is the view approaching the piazza:
I am always taken with the juxtaposition of the really old, the astronomical clock tower
built in the mid 1300's, and the totally present day happenings.
This fruit was unknown to me and it didn't have an Italian label??? They are big--like bigger than a softball.
After the market tour we walked by the duomo and baptistry. I really was intrigued by these topiaries in front:
Then thoughts of lunch began stirring. I had a page from the slowfood book with a restaurant on it and we were right on the street so we walked in there and it was pretty full. I said we would be back in about an hour and they said they'd have a table for us.
I really wanted to go to the "Orto Botanico" supposedly the first botanic garden ever. We had to walk about 15 minutes and follow the map to find it. We got there at 1:00. Guess what time they close! So...this is the only photo I got of the garden:
Back to L'Anforna (the restaurant). We were to only tourists in there, as far as I could tell, except for one solo woman, reading her guide book. The restaurant was dark with lots of jazz paraphernalia on the walls. We had to share a table with another couple but we pretty much ignored each other and they were soon gone. We ordered a plate of affetati misti (mixed cold meats) to start and then Ken had terrific twisty pasta with pesto, served with little green beans and pieces of potatoes just like in Liguria. I ordered chicken with asparagus. The plate had the pieces of breast meat in a sauce, a side of very fresh and sweet peas (cooked a little longer than we normally would) and tiny zucchini. I was thinking--OK where's the asparagus? I tasted the chicken and realized there were pieces of white asparagus mixed in with it--and olive oil and some broth. I really enjoyed it--"down home" cooking, Italian style.
We started the walk, slowly back to the train station, passing this unusual sculpture we had seen on the way in.
This huge piece was, from what I could tell, donated to the town by an architecture firm. Kids play and climb on it and people sit on it and read.
Back onto the train--much faster this time with only one stop in Mestre. We thought about taking the vaporetto from there but we just missed our boat so we walked. I figure we walked for about 3 hours total. Too much! We were pretty pooped the rest of the day--made a simple salad for dinner and then went out for gelato. The Ca d'oro gelato is really great!
There were some young people out on the street for some kind of bawdy pre-wedding party. They were obviously having fun in their crazy costumes, singing an Italian song to the tune of "Guantanamera" Who knows?