firstly and foremostly: I BLOODY LOVE ROAD TRIPS! i do. i truly do. and the one we’re currently on combines all the things i oh so love: food, travelling, singing, reading, and of course my beloved rahel. we have been excited for this trip through italy for months now, not only for all the great things such a holiday can bring, but also knowing full well that this is the longest time the two of us will have each other all to ourselves this year. my dear readers, i know the premise of the blog is a new dish, respectively two, every week. and really, we wanted to cook. we did. but making puff pastry on the road is virtually impossible, even for cooks as seasoned as we are. *cough* so we unanimously decided to tell us about our trip thus far instead. with some extra culinary information, of course.
we started off by taking the train to berne on monday, where rahel’s dad’s car awaited. and oh what a car that is: a vw bus. exactly. those gigantic ones. to be driven by two drivers who have had a driver’s license for years but never really driven a car, especially one of such an intimidating size, such a long distance. but hey, we are adventurers after all, and we thought that if we could manage to make it through our road trip in one piece (with the car as unharmed as possible), we could manage pretty much everything in terms of driving. the trip started off well; driving from berne to genoa was quite a big chunk of our route and gave us plenty of time to get accustomed to the giant of a car. it was also the first time either of us went on a car train. plenty of fun, let me tell ya. and in switzerland one can get a massive bar of ovaltine chocolate with the ticket, should one so wish. how very swiss, i know. after a little picnic on the simplon pass, the first of many, we left switzerland.
everyone had warned us how much of a nightmare italian motorways and drivers (no offense) were and frankly, we weren’t exactly looking forward to meeting either, however, we made it to genoa (or genova, as it is called in italian) in one piece. the city itself was a whole ‘nother story. let’s just say i almost suffered a nervous breakdown having to drive in italian city rush hour. but we did survive. and find a parking spot. the place we stayed at was adorable and the owners, alessandra and giovanni, absolutely charming. they even obliged to our request of hiding a photo of jamie dornan somewhere in the room. how brilliant is that?
we spent our days in the city with more picnics, gelati (plural, obvs), getting lost, watching the newest gbbo episode, strolling around and all that good stuff.
on thursday morning, after a trip to a beautiful market in genoa’s center to stock up on supplies, we were back on the road towards corniglia. italian mountains aren’t the easiest to drive in to begin with, the streets being narrow and very curvy, and doing so with what at times feels like a double decker bus doesn’t make the situation easier, but we made it to corniglia, one of the villages that make up “cinque terre”, despite having to take some detours. corniglia was kind to us and the bay we swam in rather tourist-less and all the more beautiful.
our first night in corniglia also happened to be the second night of the perseides peak and we were lucky enough to have a giant roof top terrace all to ourselves. after yet another picnic we stared at the stars for hours and got excited like kids on christmas day whenever we saw a shooting star (exclaimer: we saw plenty). we hiked to vernazza on our second day and rewarded ourselves with a swim in the sea there (which was nowhere as beautiful as where we had swam the day before).
a train brought us back to corniglia, where we passed the hundreds of steps we had to climb by taking turns in naming an ice cream flavour every ten steps; safe to say the ice cream that awaited us at our destination was more than worth it. we finished off our stay in corniglia by going skinny dipping at the same rocky bay and honestly, that moment must have made it into my top three of memories ever. naked in the sea, a thunder storm with outrageously beautiful lightning flashes and even some more shooting stars above and before us. for once, the fates had not conspired against us but clearly decided to reward us for our great calm when yet another fiat multipla tried squeezing past us on a narrow road.
despite the journey to our new residence just outside of lucca supposedly only taking an hour and a half, we were smart for once and bought all the required picnic supplies before leaving: fresh focaccia, beautiful tomatoes, brie, antipasti, thinly sliced ham and more delicacies. little did we know that our gps (flamingo!) would somehow lead us through all the mountains in the tuscany ever, so what should have been a short journey extended to a five hour odyssey. the view was worth it, though.
once having arrived at our b&b, where we were greeted by the most welcoming and truly sweet janaina, marek and their little daughter dorothea (big shout out to them. i urge you to stay at “casa del pino”, should you ever be in the area), we were so exhausted from driving and learning “let it all go” by rhodes (*sigh”) and birdy by heart (the song has totally become our road trip anthem), that we only made it up the next hill for some much earned dinner. rahel had tortelloni con pecorino, pera e noci and i had some noodles whose name i have forgotten (there are too many) con salmone. delish.
the next day, being yesterday, we drove into lucca, a truly picturesque little city, where we spent the day strolling around on the city walls, visiting a great photography exhibition by elliott erwitt, buying too many ancient post cards at a market, and of course, eating. we stumbled upon a restaurant shortly after noon, only planning on having a drink, but after seeing the scrumptious looking food everyone around us was being served, we decided to stay and have lunch, too. brilliant idea. we shared some bruschette, crunchy, olive-oiled and tomato-ed to perfection and a tasting platter with some fresh salami, pecorino and figs. in fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much, eating-wise, that we ended up having dinner at the same place, where i read some more of j.k. rowling’s “fantastic beasts and where to find them” to rahel, which we are reading alongside “grey”: yup. all about the contrast.
today we sadly had to say goodbye to casa del pino and its inhabitants and once more made our way further south. with a little bit of searching around, we at last did find our hotel where we have been hanging out at thus far, playing yatzy by the pool and giggling in the jacuzzi. dinner shall be had at some snazzy place at 8, so i should go and get dressed now. come back next week for part two of the two roaming ramblettes travel journal. ci vediamo.