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Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Hairdryer's behind the Chainsaw: Novara on and on ... and on

When last I wrote about this we had just found a hotel in Novara -- a not particularly pretty non-descript town not far from Milan. It took us a while to find one and we had to drive across the town/city toward the motorway before we spied a reasonable looking structure with the word "Hotel" emblazoned upon it. The building was yellow and curved and had its own parking. I was instructed by the driver to use what little Italian I had remastered to see if there was a room and if the price was right. So I unbound myself from the confines of the front seat and headed out across the parking lot to see if I could find the front door.
Suddenly I heard a man addressing me in French -- imagine my surprise! I was all ready with my 'una camera per due, per favore' rigamarole and didn't need it because the man addressing me turned out to be the proprietor of the hotel and was having a fag break out in the parking lot! Not only that but the price of the room included dinner and breakfast and was under 100 Euros! The Hotel Cupola worked out just fine. The room was comfortable enough and Neil was pleased to climb out the window onto the roof for a cigar and I caught him in the act.

drive was driving past the southern end of Lake Guarda -- but that was so fleeting, it hardly made up for my back ache and grumpiness from inhaling toxic fumes and endless traffic slowdowns for 10 hours. It all proved once again that old men should have to live alone ... Dinner was very good, though I don't remember what I had. The wife was the cook and the food was well prepared and there was plenty of wine to go along with it! Neil was happy; I was happy. The next morning breakfast was a processed croissant and was terrible! Though the tea was fine!
And so we were off on the final leg and I did not enjoy the drive one little bit. This made me a very grumpy wife and him a determined idiot determined to trudge on through the traffic and the pollution for 10 hours instead of 3 hours 45 minutes. To this day he insists he enjoyed seeing the towns and countryside along the way and would do the same again. Not with me. Son Andrew called several times and offered to pay the autostrada charges -- to no avail, of course. The only sort of enjoyable part of the endless journey was the drive across the southern end of Lake Guarda -- but that was so fleeting it didn't make up for the aching back and disgusting taste in my mouth from the endless truck and car fumes that penetrated through the car. I do not remember one town or village that was charming or memorable in any way along this stretch of Italian landscape.
The experience convinced me once again that old men should have to live alone!
What a shame -- we could have spent the afternoon in the sunshine of the Veneto with my Andy and Carla. Enjoyed an early evening splash of prosecco laughing and talking. Do I sound bitter. Don't get me started! By the time we got to San Vendemiano it was just about dark and Carla met us to guide us to their new apartment -- beautiful -- Unfortunately, Andy, was working that evening and got home around 9. We lugged lots of perishable food up to their place to take advantage of a freezer and refrigerator and this led to unfortunate consequences the next day.
In the meantime, Andy got home -- kisses and hugs all around -- we ate some yummy pasta Carla prepared and headed for our hotel, which was just around the corner and a lovely surprise. The hotel e turned out to be the Azienda Vinicola FURLAN and is a winery. San Vendemiano is in the heart of the prosecco wine region of Italy and FURLAN is a family run winery. Things were looking up. The cantina (Italian for winery) was a lovely refurbished building with hotel rooms above.
Next: Poor Carla's car, but still a happy ending; touring with Andy; and the birthday boy has the tables turned by his students!

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