The highlight (for me) would have to be in Bordolino, a small resort town on Lake Garda. Around half an hour's drive from Verona and quick trip down the autostrade from Germany, this town is now mostly frequented by German weekenders. We stumbled across a fantastic Venetian seafood restaurant. The place looked a little dreary in comparison to the other restaurants, but the owner was enthusiastic and we ended up having an amazing meal of seafood antipasto - fresh sardines grilled with caramelised white onions, BBQ prawns, marinated seabass, little Scallops grilled with a sweet sauce and the most heavenly tomato and squid salad I've ever had. For main course mum and I had lobster spaghetti, half a lobster each and a delicious, simple Italian spaghetti sauce. Laguna White Wine and lemoncello from Naples helped wash it all down. And, as only can happen in Italy, our delightfully enthusiastic owner has just got his Australian permanent residency and plans to open his "little Italian cafe" in St Kilda Junction in June!
I've spent the last few days in Verona with Mum and Dad. I had forgotten how much of traveling can revolve around yummy lunches and dinners, with a bit of culture thrown in. We spent most of the time ambling around the old city, searching for the next place to eat a delicious Veronese three-course meal.
In what is to be my first of many Travel Tip Blogs. This is what I learnt from my flight from Sydney to Zurich via Mumbai:
1. If a flight is cheap, there is usually a reason... search for it until you find it.
Flying through Mumbai (and probably most of India) requires a fair degree of faith. Six hours in Mumbai Airport almost completely destroyed my faith in travel at all. Arriving at the airport we were herded into "groups" of transit travelers. 4 other Australians and myself were placed in the "British Airways, Swiss Airways" box. Our passports and onward tickets were taken from us and we were told to wait at Gate 15 for "a few hours - maybe one, maybe two". Through Indian construction and at times the monsoon rain we walked, eventually arriving at Gate 15 to wait. And wait we did - for 3 1/2 hours. I had visions of Shantaram in my head. Imagine what could be done with my passport (with my US visa!) and ticket in 3 1/2 hours? I was beginning to think I might never leave Mumbai and it was only my new best-friend, a 50 year old Croat-Australian who kept me sane. Anyway, our passports did turn up and then the second part of the journey began - an excursion to "identify" our checked through luggage. Down lifts, across more construction, through corridors, into a shoddy mini-bus and eventually to an external hanger and there in front of us was a shopping trolley full of our luggage. In the middle of essentially an empty hanger. More visions of Shantaram, this time with drugs involved and a touch of Shapelle Corby, raced through my mind. Bags identified we were desposited back at Gate 15 for another 3 hour wait. Mumbai Airport is not Singapore, or even Sydney during renovation. There was nothing there but ooggling Indian men and some very uncomfortable seats. But I made it. And the ticket was cheap!
But I made it to Zurich, which is almost the antithesis of Mumbai Airport. Clean, quiet and importantly quietly affluent. There is not a begger on the street, the water is drinkable and the weather a deliciously sunny 20 degrees. Perfect for warming up my winter skin before Italy!
For the record my suitcase weighed 25.7kg on departure from Tullamarine this morning. The maximum weight for domestic flights in Australia is 32kg, the weight for international is 25kg. I think I would probably be safe, but just to make sure I've had a last minute cull. This is what has ended up on the hotel room floor.
And this is what I've decided I'm wearing. I've calculated that there is at least 500gms in these innocent looking accessories!
My last morning was spent having intensive "sister" time. Breakfast at Eden Cafe on Maling Road is pretty much the only time we're going to spend together this year. So between Rowan's Music Classes and my flight to Sydney we caught up over lattes and poached eggs.
Jane flew in from Germany last night and what with me leaving for Sydney today the Barnett girls will have spent about 18 hours in the same country in 2008. Cafe Eden should feel honored!