Oh today the sun is shining and the weather promises to be the best we have had to date, so out come the shorts for David, out come my cropped pants and the sandals. We sleep in, after all this is vacation; after breakfast in the hotel (I have mentioned in other trips how much I enjoy the hotel breakfast room and the cappucini that magically appear), we head out for our short walk to the city walls. It is market day in Bassano del Grappa.
And it is a large market, dry goods of all kinds, stands spread out over several squares - you can buy almost anything from children's socks to household goods. There is also a section for fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables - those mounds of white asparagus still amaze me. We walk to the bridge again, get some better shots and revisit the grappa distillery to figure out just how this tasting thing goes. We taste a few grappas, and I buy an asparagus plate to take home - Bassano is known for its Majolica pottery. Looks like I will be carrying the Baggolini shopping bag onto the plane after all. And David has treated himself to a bottle of grappa.
We return to the hotel to regroup and gather maps and books for our afternoon driving adventure. I have to admit it does feel good to sit in the car for a change; my back has been bothering me again, probably from lifting luggage and sleeping in different beds. Thinking the chiropractor and I will become good friends again in May.
We decide to not use our GPS this morning and follow the rather well marked signs towards Valodobbediane, the start of the Prosecco Road. It is a rather quiet Saturday afternoon when we arrive, the town is pretty well shut down, and of course the tourist info office is closed, proabably for the weekend. No surprise that, and since we had had a late breakfast, lunch is piadini and drinks at a cafe in the square.
We follow the signs for Strada delle Prosecco and soon we are lifted up into the hills, on windy roads with beautiful views. I'm sure that there are cantine open for tastings, but it is hard to tell. Around one bend, we see an open sign, and cars in a pathway (this is so different from winetasting in California), so we stop and go in, have a small conversation about the various types of prosecco that they make (a small producer), also a conversation about the cousin of his father who moved to Toronto, then opened restaurants in Miami, not retired to Boca Raton. Anyway we do taste and do buy a bottle - prices are amazing, about 4-5E/bottle, but our suitcases are smaller this trip and there are trains still to take.
The Prosecco Road then seems to drop into more of an industrial town and highway look on the way to Conegliano, and we wonder if we made the wrong turn. We do drive around Congegliano, but it is a large place and we have no desire to stop. I do think we did the right drive, and on the way home we do turn on the GPS and take a scenic route back to Bassano. This is really pretty countryside.
Back in Bassano, the night is young and our thirst takes us to Cafe Italia across from our hotel, with a patio that has sweeping views below Bassano. Schweppes bitter lemon is my drink of choice, David has a glass, or two, of wine. We discuss dinner plans. On the Trip Advisor list is a place close to our hotel, but in the old city, called Bella Capri, that David likes. He also wants to walk around some, so we split up, I head back to our room for some wifi time, David says he will make a reservation.
When David comes back, he says he found the other grappa bar, Nardini, by the bridge and joined the crowd there who apparently order drinks and walk out to the bridge to consume them, nice idea. We walk to Bella Capri, and yes we do have a table that says Riservato.
The room rapidly fills up with Italian couples and young families. Babies are walked around, people seem to know each other. We decide to have pasta primis (spaghetti scampi, tagliatelle with white artichoke), then veal milanese and salads. We wait a very long time for our primis, and that gives me the opportunity to notice that pretty much everyone else is eating pizza - perhaps this is the Saturday night special. Our food is very good, and costs quite a bit less than our dinner the previous night.
Ah, but the night is still young. David wants an espresso so we walk over to one of the piazzas and find an empty table. Danieli is also a gelateria and while David has his espresso with a shot of grappa, we also share a vanilla gelato with fresh strawberries. This is enough for me and we walk towards our hotel. The night is still young for David, or still empty, because when we pass the little crepe stand, he decides to have one. It's fun to watch the charming French expat make the Grand Marnier crepe, but I am too full for even a bit.
The night is finally old.