Budapest and Italy, Part 2.
This turned out to be very long, I recommend getting a great glass of Italian wine before you read this!
After 4 days in Budapest it was time for us to have a little vacation. Budapest was great, but for TJ, it was work. A nice venue for work but still work. Time for a little recreational wine tasting and sightseeing with friends.
We got out of Budapest a day before the sludge arrived. We were heading to Desenzano del Garda, Italy. There is no easy way to get there from Budapest. First, take a plane to Frankfurt, our 2nd time at the Frankfurt airport on this trip, then take a plane to Venice where we rent a car and drive for 2 hours to Desenzano. Just picture TJ and I driving along the autostrad with no Euro and wondering how we will be able to pay the toll at the end of the road. We decide to risk it and carry on.....FYI, they take credit cards! We thought they might, but you can't be too sure.
Italy! Sunshine! Finally! We even had a view of the water.....see? It's there, keep looking! Ok, it's not the Danube and Buda Castle but the sun is shining!
Lake Garda was beautiful. The water was beautiful blue with the mountains in the background. The small towns all along the lake were quaint and picturesque without being too touristy. I can only imagine how it would be in the summer though, full of tourists! Glad we were there for the off season.
Lake Garda as seen from Sirmione.
Then the fun began! The fun is in Verona....think Romeo and Juliet meet the soup Nazi meets the Amazing Race.
This is not Juliet's balcony, just a lovely building in Verona.
First, Romeo and Juliet. We did the typical Verona tourist thing and went to Juliet's balcony, but no one rubbed the statue of Juliet, we also made a stop by Romeo's door.
Juliet in all her bronze glory.
On to the soup Nazi....dinner was one of a kind. A true, authentic, no English spoken or written, Italian restaurant, Il Ropeton. Our waiter, Ropeton himself, recited the entire menu in rapid fire Italian and then looked at us with that "what would you like?" look. We deferred to the Italian speakers at our table and managed to order an amazing meal, plenty of wine,a little grappa for everyone and limoncello for the perfect end. By the end of the night we had befriended Ropeton and had him posing for pictures with our table! That's him at the end of the table!
Time for the Amazing Race! We had responsibly taken the train to Verona and planned to catch the 11:45 train back to Desenzano. We had to make tracks! The four of us walked the 2 miles to the train station as fast as we could. We got close to the station and TJ told Rick, who is ahead of all of us, to go ahead inside and buy the tickets. As Patty and I caught up to Rick who was trying to buy tickets at the machine, we see the next train to Desenzano leaves at 5a.m.!!!! at which point Patty bursts out laughing! We all burst out laughing in the deserted train station, it must have been the grappa, or the limoncello, or the wine, pick one. Turns out the last train left at 10:45, oops. We all walked out of the train station, laughing and carrying on, and looking for a way to Desenzano. Turns out the only way to get home at midnight was taxi....90 EU worth of taxi. We laughed the entire way home, all 30 minutes of it, poor taxi driver! We just could not believe our expert planning backfired. That's what we get for being so responsible!
The rest of Italy will have to wait for another post, it was just too much fun for one post. I will leave you with a few more pictures of Verona and Sirmione.
Soccer practice carpool
View across the river in Verona
Winery near Sirmione, beautiful place!
More of Sirmione