Modena and Parma were undiscovered country for us. We’d been to Bologna before (ten years ago!). We’d heard good things about Emilia-Romagna and Italian cuisine from various sources — including our waiter at Colline Emiliane on our trip to Rome. But for all the famous foody aspects of this bit of Italy (balsamico, parmesan cheese, prosciutto), we’d never actually been. Well, why the heck not? We loved both these cities.
It was only a few hours’ drive from the outskirts of Venice to the former capital of the Western Roman Empire, Ravenna.
We’d been to the town before, but last time, it was dark, and cold, and difficult to navigate with our rental car. This time we arrived with plenty of daylight, parked the car once, and did all the exploration on foot. The weather was generally agreeable this time, too — though some fierce winds and a brief rain spell motivated us to spend a little more time under the awning at a restaurant eating piadine for lunch.
Some brief notes:
We stayed on the edge of the Altstadt in a cool (despite the dorky name) little boutique BnB called "M Club DeLuxe"
We did the FreinsheimKulinarischeWeinwanderungagain this year. And again our pal Snooker joined us for good wine, good food, and especially good company. This year was a little trickier than most with regard to accommodations. Seasonal demand in the area is always high, so we plan far in advance. But this year, our Ferienwohung host bailed on us with rather short notice, and we had to hunt for a place to stay months later than normal. The pickings were slim, but we managed to make it work through AirBnB. We stayed in Flörsheim-Dalsheim and used the local transit system to get into and out of Freinsheim on the Saturday of that weekend. This is a trick our pals the Heidelbergers taught us back in 2012 on our very first Kulinarische Weinwanderung.
Last week one of our city’s most identifiable symbols played dress-up. You can read more about the event on the city’s webpage here (in German). The occasion is the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Dom’s towers. We probably would have missed the memo on it completely, but a colleague of mine called our attention to it.
For reference, here is what it looked like before the light show began:
Music and a narrative, from the perspective of an apprentice and master stonemason, accompanied the light designs projected onto the cathedral. These stills look nice, but really it was the illumination’s animation that made it clear how the cathedral looked at different phases over its history.
We’ve visited Piombino Dese twicebefore, at the agriturismo "Ca’ de Memi." It’s a great place to stay on its own, due to its location in Veneto: Bassano del Grappa, Asolo, Treviso, and Castelfranco are all easily reachable by car or train. It’s also a fantastic place to eat. If you’re going to visit Ca’ de Memi, book it soon, because this month they got a write-up in the Guardian as one of the ten best cooking classes with stays in Europe. We have enjoyed their food immensely, but not yet taken a cooking course there…maybe next time!
This time the draw to us was the five-minute walk from the train station. From there we did a 40-minute train trip to Santa Lucia station in Venice.
It’s not every year that we get TWO trips to Italy. Last time our focus was Tuscany. This time was a mix of new and old destinations in Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, showing Sarah’s mom some stuff we knew, and some we didn’t. Clearly this is going to have to be split into several different posts. We took way too many pictures to cover it all in one post. Stay tuned for individual segments to follow.
For the last eleven months I’ve been cultivating a beard. I told everyone at work I’d shave it when we reached a certain milestone at work. Well, the work thing finally happened today. True to my word, the beard is gone, as of about 20 minutes ago.
I’m not excited about shaving (nearly) every day again, but I do look forward to eating without
straining my food like a baleen whale
giving food particles hundreds of jumping-off points as they try to land on my shirt
We planned a rendezvous with some of Sarah’s extended family months ago and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
We’d been to Berchtesgaden before, several years ago, in that dark, rainy period before Christmas. Visiting it in the summer was a very different experience! Also, this time we stayed in the Kempinski hotel above the town. We were only there one night — just long enough to catch up with the fam and send them back on their way home to the USA.
Make the passwords you use cryptographically strong — adequate length, no stock phrases, and a mix of cases, numbers, and symbols can’t hurt. Lots of sites are dumb about these rules.
Use a system that works for you to generate and store them: Password Safe, KeePass, 1Password, LastPass, whatever. Google them.
Retire old passwords, and replace them with completely unrelated new, better ones.
Use a password system that replicates across all your devices (lappy, tablet, desktop, phone).
Save yourself some headache by generating human-readable (but still of acceptable complexity) passwords for when you do have to read from one device and type/tap into another, or read one off to another human.
Set your password system bug you to update your passwords periodically.
Our birthday/Christmas/anniversary presents to ourselves was a long April weekend attending a cooking course at a winery/abbey in Tuscany. If you watched “Salt Fat Acid Heat” on Netflix, this is the place (and these are the people!) where Samin makes pasta from scratch.