Day 9: To Vicenza

Today we travelled to Vicenza because we were supposed to be joining the UBC tour. Since that got cancelled, we are trying to view the city and area on our own.

The journey began with a scramble. We arrived early at Bologna Centrale train station only to discover our train had been cancelled as had a number of other trains because of a derailment on the high speed line. Tons of people were trying to change tickets. I got in line for the ticket office, #370 and the three booths were at #247.

To preserve sanity, I went to the self-service machines and bought tickets on slower trains which would get us to Vicenza a bit later.

Our first train was leaving from platform 3-Ovest (3 west). We went to platform 3 which it turned out is not the same as 3-Ovest and missed our train. So back to the station to buy another set of tickets. This time, we asked directions for the right platform.

While I was trying to use the self-service machine, a young woman with olive coloured skin, brown hair and pale eyes started talking to me in Italian. She looked a lot like the women who stole my wallet in Paris in 2003. She asked me for money but I said I had no cash and ignored her. After, I double-triple checked that I still had my wallet in my pocket. The pick pocket incident 20 years ago is why I don’t keep cash or credit cards in my purse. When travelling, I keep it in a zippered pocket.

We got to Verona where we needed to change trains. While using i servizi (bathrooms) I couldn’t find my ticket to Vicenza. I had Scott’s but must have dropped mine somewhere. (The tickets have our names on them.) We went to another self-service machine and bought another ticket. The transportation costs were not very high since available seats were limited to the cheapest options which give you no flexibility. But given our situation, this was not an issue. However, I was feeling particularly frazzled and annoyed with myself. Part of the point for all the Italian language I have been studying is to be able to ask directions. I was failing myself by not asking for help.

When we got to Vicenza, it was steadily raining. Although we had less than a kilometre to walk to where we were staying, we took a taxi.

The apartment is in Palazzo Valmarana Braga, a Palladio designed palazzo. Appropriate for the objective of this visit.

The inside of the apartment:

When I booked this apartment, I thought it had a washing machine but it appears that this that does not. However, the apartment information says that a washing machine can be arranged. We will figure it out

We went out in search of groceries, a glass of wine and something lunch-like, not necessarily in that order. We headed toward the tourist information office to get a city map and a visitors card that will get us into the many museums and Palladio sites we want to see.

Leaving the Palazzo Valmarana Braga
A building across from the tourism office
View from the apartment to the courtyard

We returned to the apartment to unpack, put our feet up, figure out how to work the TV (plugging it in helps) and see if the wine we bought from the supermercato is drinkable (it was!).

Dinner was at Al Pestello, a restaurant that gets good reviews for being very local focussed.

Our waiter spoke English confidently but not necessarily well. Since we ordered the specials, the details were not clear to us.

The above was bigoli pasta, like a very thick spaghetti. The dressing was garlic, dried tomatoes, croutons and I think, chard. A dish I thought would not be too heavy. I ate every bite.

Scott’s antipasto was called spring rolls prima vera, basically a vegetarian spring roll about 5 times the size we usually see. It tasted like a spring roll.

Scott had braised beef belly; I had beef cheeks. Both served on polenta made from locally ground corn that was more textured and flavourful than polenta we usually eat. They were accompanied by a regional pinot nero, a pinot noir variant, which our server claimed was older than pinot noir.

When we left, it was pouring rain after a light drizzle all day. This area has had severe drought so rain is welcomed. If it continues, we hope it does not dampen our plans.

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