Monday, June 27, 2011

Food and Friends: the solution to everything.

Although last weekend was the weekend from hell I can laugh about it and move on. My week was fantastic but this weekend turned out to be perfect.

The past week I met up with friends for lunch and returned to my favorite restaurant to meet a friend I hadn't seen in a year. We went to Caffè Della Piazzetta (they have the most fantastic sandwiches!).

The rest of the week I spent with my host family and with Beatrice. Going to the park and enjoying the beautiful weather. I am so happy to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.

After the week was over it was time to meet up with my friends. Friday evening I met up with Chiara and her group of friends at an outdoor bar - I had a few Italian lessons and called it an early night. The next morning I woke up and met Laura (the mother of my host family), Beatrice, along with a few of Laura's friends and their children for a day at the sea. It was indeed a hot day and although the drive there was spent sitting in a traffic jam it was worth the wait to sit seaside with the breeze, sea, and sun. The day was nice and the traffic was minimal on the way back to Abano.

In the evening I met up with Chiara and her group of friends again. We went to Sagra di Faedo for a grand feast and an unexpected game of kings. Sangra di Faedo is located in the Colli Euganei region. It was only about a half hour drive from where I am staying and the scenic route was completely worth it. As we drove up the hills the sun seemed to have a special light, a golden yellow reflected off the hills and it was as if the tiny villages below were on display. As we went round and round the curvy roads up the hill you could smell the fresh countryside trees and flowers. The most beautiful part was all of the vineyards that lined the hilltops.

Sagra di Faedo is a festival that took place in a tiny village a top one of the hills in the Colli Euganei region where the inhabitants of the village prepare their local Veneto cuisine to raise money. They charge you a small fee and in return you get more food than you could possibly eat and an endless amount of wine. There were 18 in our group and after patiently waiting for a table we were served and stuffed with some of the best damn gnocchi I had ever ate. Throughout dinner we drank the wine, and we drank a lot. At the end of our feast a friend of Chiaras informed us that they brought poker cards. At a previous dinner I had explained to them the American drinking game of kings and they were intrigued . A group of us decided to play with the bountiful supply of wine. In the end there were a few drunk Italians but I expect to be playing this game many more times as they seemed to enjoy it.

As if my Saturday night wasn't enough, I had what seemed to be a perfect Sunday...

My plans were to meet up with a new friend for a picnic in the shade in Prato della Valle.
We spent hours under the trees, eating delicious vegan food prepared by chef 'F', and listening to music while lying in the grass. If that's not a perfect Sunday, I don't know what is.

After the picnic we changed locations to the Botanical gardens, my new favorite place to go. A jungle inside a city.

My Sundays will forever be spent under trees... at least while I have the opportunity.

I think even a fun part of the day was lying in 'illegal grass' - apparently there are some areas where you cannot go and old men on motor bikes make you go to mosquito infested parks. I really don't mind.

I was told of a good Indian restaurant, at last.. my weekend can be complete. A picnic, Indian food.. what else could possibly happen you ask?

As I was waiting for my bus I happen to run into two Americans that are taking the same bus as I am, by chance they are living and working in Abano Terme, the same town I live in. They are both my age and work as cooks in a hotel. They were happy to meet me because after only being here a few weeks they were unable to meet many people and don't know the right places to go for dinner, drinks, etc. I am always happy to show people my favorite places for lunch and to have new friends in general. We ended up talking the entire bus ride back to my bus stop and exchanged numbers. New friends, a perfect weekend, and the most amazing weather anyone could ask for.

La Dolce Vita.

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