week thirty-three – road trip part two à la snukandinski

my dear people. my apologies for the absence. i shan’t go on and type out a melodramatic “pity me” paragraph, but i nonetheless feel obliged to tell you that my grandmother, lattkes and honey cake maker par excellence and world-wide number one in peeling apples thinly and just one stripe, passed away earlier this week. i went to see her right off the railway station when we returned from our fantastic trip and couldn’t be more glad to have done so. the funeral was beautiful and happened shortly after the demise (as traditional in judaism) and despite death always being sad, it couldn’t have gone down better. she just fell asleep. oh well. i’m sorry if i am being depressing, but i felt like getting this off my chest and explaining the lack of a post last week. pack away your torches and pitchforks, snukandinski is back.

moving on to happier matters: the road trip. i mean, let’s be honest, i had high expectations of the trips awesomeness-level. i did. but our actual holiday exceeded them. by far. we never argued about pizza (the only thing we’ve ever had something close to an actual fight about), fought about who should make the salad dressing, or whose turn it was to choose what to listen to; basically, we had an absolute blast.

the evening after we wrote the last post we walked to a little restaurant we had stumbled upon by accident, having got lost yet again. and we couldn’t have been more grateful for our evident inability to navigate properly. we did eat well in italy, we truly did. how can one not. BUT that dinner was probably the best meal we had during all of our travels. already the gazpacho served as an amuse bouche, or a “gruss aus der küche”, as we say in german (“greeting from the kitchen”, if it were to be taken literally) and lord, were our bouches amused. i would’ve happily just eaten a massive pot of that delicious cold soup. as a starter we shared (da dividere, right?) a crema di burrata with some crostinis and bell pepper-y things and yes. just yes. the main was not shared, but we both decided to go for the ricotta gnocchi, which was a brilliant decision, besides the fact that we should have ordered two portions each. have you ever salivated whilst eating something because it was so good? we now have. whilst waiting for our dessert to arrive, a cheesecake for rahel, blackberry mousse on meringue for me, i had actual goosebumps just bloody smelling the ragù someone was eating at the table next to ours. that’s how good it was. the walk back gave some time to reflect upon the just eaten deliciousness, only interrupted by numerous dogs barking in 101 dalmatians-style, apparently having important things to discuss.

the next day we yet again packed our monstrosity of a car and visited san gimignano. and weeeeell. let’s start with the part where we didn’t commit a crime (way to keep you reading, am i right?). san gimignano is adorbz. and there is a gelateria selling multiple-world-champion-ice-cream, which, of course, we had. twice. oh yeah. as in all the cities we walked around, i read to rahel (‘fantastic beasts and where to find them’ ftw) and took photos of her taking photos. the usual. and then, we, uhm, had, uhm lunch. which we didn’t pay for. which we just walked out on. i know. it just kind of happened. we discussed how dining and dashing was on my bucket list and the food wasn’t great and the place was super tourist-y and we just left. and then spent the next five minutes laughing hysterically as we tried not to look like two new-fledged criminals. was it an ok thing to do? of course not. am i going to try and justify it? i won’t. but was it a story to tell sophia’s great-great-great-granchildren? most certainly.

from san gimignano we drove to siena, where we managed, probably so paranoid the carabinieri would catch us and throw us into prison for zechprellerei, to park in a highly illegal area, causing our b&b host to dramatically tell us she’d have to call the police so we wouldn’t get into trouble. safe to say we reeeeally quickly re-parked our car. yay. siena was pretty, but didn’t win our hearts over as much as some of the other cities did. we spent the first evening, still marked by the events of the day, in our room, eating leftovers and discussing which animal our patronus would take shape as (rahel’s is either a moth, a bear, a wolf or a swan, and i’m clearly a flamingo, fox or owl. or a water bear. duh.)

on our first full day in siena we found a lovely little restaurant, where the most adorable french children ever at the table next to us (their parents were in another restaurant across the road) led to our barely being able to concentrate on our pasta. i still wish we had kid-napped them. however, seeing as photos of our faces probably were hung up in police stations all over the country anyway, it probably wouldn’t have been the greatest of ideas.

our last night in siena was also our last night in a proper bed. as we embarked on our homeward journey, we decided to sleep in the bus. the first of those nights was spent on a farm off pienza, (which was insanely difficult to find and led us through what felt like the italian jungle), where we once more made a culinary decision that would turn out to be fantastic: dinner on the terrace. oh yes. the view. i mean. the view. i have no words. and the food. just. so. good. food. yes. food. also, the stars. and the sky. and cosmos. and the cosmos. and yes. we easily could have spent a few more days eating the delicious home made meals and drinking in the natural surroundings. 

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but sadly, we had to leave the very next morning. towards como. after a last stop in pienza and a few hourse on the italian highway, we made it to como. later than expected (as ever), where we found a camp site a mile or so from the lake.

some rounds of yahtzee, some cuddling and another night later we headed off towards the lake. or at least thus was the plan. we still had postcards to write and send off, and having already bought stamps, we thought it smart to do so in italy. well. one wrong turn later, we found ourselves in switzerland. completely unprepared. it happens. we drove to the lago di lugano instead and had another lake picnic and finished our cards notwithstanding. (i sent mine off yesterday, one of which was to my brother who lives in the same house as i do. oh well). our night was spent at the walensee, a beautiful lake into which we waded first slowly, then decidedly and rejoiced discovering the warm and cold streams in the overall rather chilly lake.

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our last night was followed by an overcast morning, where we finally prepared this (well, last) week’s dish. this blog used to have a theme, remember? yeah, neither do we, really. in honour of sour-week, we prepared a fruit caprese with grapefruits, oranges, watermelon, donut peach and mint. this week we’ll be cooking properly again. i promise.

on last stop was to be made on our journey: winterthur. to see ben howard. my future husband. who just doesn’t know it yet. long story short, he’s just perfect. not much else to say, there. and even the rain, usually not one’s favourite meteorological happening whilst attending an openair gig, could not lessen our excitement, nay, even enhanced the multi-sensory experience of watching ben howard perform.

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and thus our trip was over. two weeks of italy, sun, insane drivers, food, lakes, the sea, stars, books, music and all of those beautiful things that make a holiday the most special time of the year. i think i speak for us both when i say: ’twas a blast.

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this week we brunch. a lot.

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