|Let’s begin today’s blog with a big congratulations to the Mighty St George Dragons who won the NRL Premiership for 2010. Our family did our bit for the team by staying away, as did a few of our friends who were also absent from the game. We were fortunate enough to have access via the web and listened to the ABC broadcast. We even waited till halftime to have breakfast downstairs so we wouldn’t miss much. A few other hotel guests were listening too.
The game was close at halftime, but Melisa and Bailey were soon doing high fives and dancing around the room when Jason Nightingale went in for his try, and then fun continued after that. I am not sure if the local church was taking the broadcast, but they rang the bells in Venice when full time was called. Call it a coincidence..... I don’t know!!
Following our Grand Final jubilation we had to make tracks and check out and collect our car. The next part of adventure was to begin. The dreaded Italian roadways! We went into Venice to collect our car. We have been given a VW Tiguan and our bags only just fit. After taking time to acclimatise to the vehicle we are on our way. You can do 130km on the highways here but most are doing heaps more. They seem to just fly by. The other noticeable thing is that blinkers are not really used, particularly when changing lanes. All that aside the trip is not too bad. We have a 3 hour drive to Chianti with a stop somewhere along the way. Not long into the trip I look around, Bailey asleep, Melisa asleep and Zoe watching a movie. No one is noticing the great countryside or some of these massive tunnels through the mountains we driving through.
The traffic moves pretty well and after a stop for lunch near Bologna, we are back on the autostrade to Chianti. Once coming off the autostrade we still have about 40km’s to the town where we are staying. We wind our way down from the mountains through these picturesque valleys with vineyards everywhere you look, and well known wine names from the area (Sangiovese, Chianti and co). We finally arrive in Greve in Chianti and there is a festival or something going on to celebrate our arrival (we wish!), we have a bit of trouble getting to the Hotel as the town square outside is where the festival is. We finally get in and drop our bags, before getting back out to explore. This really is a lovely, picturesque area (Julie you will love this place), lost of quaint little shops that sell everything from olive oils, to handicrafts, to toys, as well as artists and a lot more. Apart from the market stalls today they had a wine tasting 3.oo Euros and you can taste the lot and keep the souvenir glass. Seemed like a nice way for me to wind down after all the driving. I started off with the Chianti Classico, the local drop and it was a pretty smooth flavoured red. I followed up later with a Tuscan Red that was more to my taste, I was also able to try an older Chianti Classico from a few years earlier and this was my favourite of the afternoon.
There are plenty of restaurants here and we checked most out before making a choice. We decided on the Gallo Nero (The Black Rooster), we thought that this was a great choice following the jubilation from earlier today. Our toast tonight was to the Dragons and their win (and to us still being in one-piece after these Italian roads!)
The Black Rooster was a nice little restaurant, well fitted out with both modern and some older pieces of art on the walls. Tonight, Zoe had the Ravioli with pecorino and pumpkin, served with pear, while Melisa had Ravioli with potato, mushroom and pecorino, Bailey gave up on hamburgers and hotdogs and went with the fettuccine bolognaise and I revisited an old favourite, the Papadrelle al Chingialle (Pasta and wild boar). I also ordered a bottle of the local Chardonnay (Impronata del formatore Chardonnay Trentino 2009), I have really enjoyed the Chardonnays on this trip, in Paris, the cruise and now tonight. In addition to this we tasted a selection of mixed breads with oils, tomato, a fig paste (not really to our liking) and pesto. All the breads are cooked in the wood fire oven, which has a nice feel as you enter the restaurant, particularly as it is a little cooler here tonight than in previous places. Everyone enjoyed their meals tonight although still no envelope yet Anthony. Dinner set us back 95 Euro tonight.