Sherman, relaxing at the Burnt Corral Campground in Arizona. Photo taken February 24, 2015!
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode (Ottawa), Ontario, Canada.

Where are they going next? Barbados! Arrive on October 25th!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

We finally managed to have pizza in Italy!

Travel days are always interesting. You just never know how smoothly things are going to go! And we had quite a lot to accomplish. First, we had to return our little red rental car. We had picked it up at Bergamo airport exactly two weeks ago at 10:00am, so we needed to return it by 10:00am.

And that meant getting an early start.

So we set the alarm for 5:30am, and we were on the road just after 6:30am. Our route took us fairly close to Milan, and we didn't know if there were going to be any traffic issues so we left lots of time for any problems.

Yetserday's drive, 99 kms (60 miles).

It was only 99 kms (60 miles), but we know how slow it goes driving in Italy when you're not on a toll road. Sure enough, it took almost two hours to do the drive. We got to the airport, filled the car with gas, and took it to the rental car parking. They do the entire check in with a tablet computer right there in the parking lot. Your final bill is sent by email instantly. Very efficient! Final cost for the two week rental was €142 ($209 CAD, $157 USD). Not bad at all.

Then, we had to get ourselves from Bergamo airport to Bergamo train station. This turned out to be a very easy thing to do. Easy, but not that cheap. The city bus takes you right from the airport to downtown for €2.30 ($3.40 CAD, $2.55 USD) each. Not bad, until you consider that it's only a 20 minute ride. Oh well.

Things went so smoothly that we now had lots of time to spare. Our train wasn't scheduled to leave until 2:02pm. We had already seen all we wanted to see in Bergamo a couple of weeks ago. So the plan was to just find a bench in the train station and waste some time. 

But there are no benches in the train station!

Across the street was the bus station (very logical!) but the only benches there were outside.

We spotted a McDonalds and figured we would buy a hot drink and sit and use their free wifi. So that's what we did. We sat for a couple of hours and that's where I wrote yesterday's blog post. After that, we went outside and found a park bench and just watched the world go by for a while. Had our lunch there, and did some reading. At least it was a nice enough day.

Eventually, we made our way back to the train station and got to the platform. The train was already there and we boarded with lots of time to spare.

The train connected in Milan, and we only had a 15 minute connection time. Everything went smoothly, and we were soon on our way from Milan to Savona.

Nice enough scenery along the way, but the windows were not clear at all so no photos!

Train from Bergamo to Savona.

We arrived in Savona at 5:30pm and our AirBnb host had offered to pick us up at the station. Super nice guy. Originally from Albania, but living in Italy for the last 25 years or so. His English is passable though, so we could communicate with no problem. 

It's light until 7:30pm or so now, so we decided to go out and explore the city. Our apartment is right near the central area.

Savona fortress.

We went into the fortress because it's free to tour the grounds. It's a huge complex!

Castle wall.

View of the old city.

Savona is a busy shipping port. New cars, either arriving or being shipped out, I'm not sure.

After the fortress, we walked around the old town for a while...






Not sure if you've been paying attention, but we've been in Italy for two and a half weeks and have not yet eaten in a restaurant! So we figured that because it's our last day, we would treat ourselves to a meal out. But eating gluten free in Italy is not easy, so we had to find a restaurant that would accommodate our diet. It took some searching, but we eventually came upon a place that even advertised gluten free pizza on its outdoor menu! Nice!

In Italian, I said to the waiter "We don't speak Italian". And he came back to us in perfect English. So that was an added bonus. We ordered a half liter of red wine, and two pizzas with Bufala mozzarella (made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo) and spicey salami.

Barbarossa Restaurant in Savona.

Dinner is served!

Total price for the two pizzas and half a liter of wine was €21 ($30.50 CAD, $23 USD). Tipping is not expected in restaurants in Italy. And, we had enough left over for lunch today!

So, we finally managed to have pizza in Italy! Great way to end our visit here.

Slept well last night. Good thing, because we're traveling again today. Our train leaves Savona, Italy at 1:30pm and arrives in Nice, France at 4:00pm! 

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Good deal on a Black and Decker drill kit!


And in Canada, a decent deal on the Garmin 2589LMT..includes Mexico maps, and lifetime updates...



24 comments:

  1. Gotta have pizza in Italy, glad you did and enjoyed it.

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    1. You sure do, otherwise you have never really been to Italy, lol!

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  2. Replies
    1. We enjoyed ours as well especially with the spicy salami and buffalo mozzarella cheese on it.

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  3. I spent one of my first nights in Italy in Savona. I had read there was a hostel in the fortress, and it sounded really cool. I found my way to the fortress, and wandered around the grounds for a while looking for the hostel. There were very few other people there. I finally found the hostel, and it had clearly been abandoned some time before. It was around dusk, and it suddenly seemed quite a dangerous place to be by myself, so I skedaddled out of there. After quite a bit of walking, and finding no one to direct me, I managed to find a small hotel. I had an uncomfortable encounter with the proprietor (likely due to cultural differences) and got many bed-bug bites that night. Needless to say, I didn't think of that city fondly! The city itself looks nice. I hadn't really seen it, as I went directly on to San Remo the next day.

    I enjoy following your travels, as I haven't gotten out of the country in years.

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    1. Having an experience like that wouldn't have made us look fondly on the city either. Savona was OK but nothing special, it was more just a place to break up a trip rather than having one long travel day. I don't think it would be a city that we would return to or highly recommend to someone.

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  4. I was wondering about the food, I guess some of the restaurants get it though. Nice is high on my list of places to travel, looking forward to seeing it through your eyes.

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    1. We find most cities that bring in enough tourists will have restaurants that will cater to various food allergies and diets.

      Not sure that we will be able to give you a good enough view of Nice as we aren't really here very long and our one full day will be mostly spent in Monaco, rather than in Nice. Hopefully tomorrow morning we will get out and see a bit more of Nice before our plane leaves in the afternoon.

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  5. Where do you find all the energy? Pizza in Italy is a must just like prickly pear fries in Arizona. Safe travels.

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    1. We don't like wasting time, there is enough time to relax when we are dead! ;-)

      Until you mentioned prickly pear fries in your blog post I had never heard of them as fries, especially in Arizona!

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  6. We ate so much pizza while in Italy, it was so good and cheap. Come to think about it while in Avingnon we would split a big pizza and a big side salad! Cheers, we found eating out in France more expensive than Italy. Cheers

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    1. Yes, pizza is one of the cheaper meals in Italy, probably in many countries. We won't find out how expensive eating out in France is because we won't be eating out here.

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  7. How did you manage the 'doggie bag' pizza? Did you just take care of it yourself by having a baggie or whatever handy, or did you ask the waiter for help?

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    1. Dianne, I was wondering about that, too. It is so routine here in the Charleston area to ask for a styrofoam container (at least in the family restaurants) to take uneaten food home with you to have for another meal. But when we were in European restaurants, the food servings were not large enough to take a doggie bag, so the situation never presented itself. However, Kevin's and Ruth's pizzas look huge.

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    2. Dianne, when we finished eating as much as we wanted we just asked the waiter to have the remaining food to take home. It was no problem, he brought us a pizza box and we put our leftovers in it, just like we would do at home in Canada.

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  8. I had the best pizza in NYC with fresh, crisp salad...I folded the pizza over like the locals do and enjoyed my pizza. The Italian pizza don't look like they can fold over...what's with the knife and fork? I thought pizza was a finger food. I see comments indicating the pizza was good in Italy.

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    1. Our understanding is that it's the American culture to eat pizza as a slice with your hands. In Italy, if it is served unsliced as a pie with a knife and fork, then you should eat it with the knife and fork.

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    2. Rita, there are many different types of pizza in Italy, depending on what region you are in. Around Naples, the pizza is thin, soft and chewy (foldable). The Margherita pizza has tomato/mozzarella/basil - the inspiration for a large portion of American pizzas. In Rome, I typically saw very large trays of thick dough cut into rectangles. You would buy just the rectangle slice, and it might be served room temp. Toppings could be as simple as olive oil + herbs (more what I would think of as a slice of focaccia), although more elaborate toppings are also available. There is pizza all across the country, but it isn't as big of a thing in the northern regions. There are long histories with different dietary traditions in each of the regions of Italy, which were only joined as one country in the mid 1800s, and there is a great deal of local pride.

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    3. Another thing that Kevin forgot to mention that is different with pizzas in Italy compared to those at home is that your have a choice of having your pizza blanche (white pizza, without tomato sauce) or pizza rosse (red pizza, with tomato sauce). It is very common and popular to have pizzas here without sauce (blanche), just the crust with your toppings. Also it isn't common to be loaded down with cheese and all the various topping choices that we have back home.

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  9. Daylight in Ottawa until 7:30 also!

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    1. It is nice to see it staying lighter, longer in the evening. Here in Nice, sunset was almost 8pm.

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  10. You guys drive me nuts. You have been eating in Italy and not telling us what you had for lunch today. Ruth is a great cook so even if it´s a sandwich it would be nice to know what she prepared. I can make a list of foods she prepares that we love. Like some of those honey granola bars! Yum!

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    1. Yes, describing those prepared meals would also describe what items Kevin and Ruth picked up at the food markets in Italy while shopping to include any beverages. Also, did you use or drink bottled water?

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    2. Chris, our lunches are pretty mundane. Most of the time we are out and about and I pack a lunch which will consist of lightly toasted GF bread with ham, cheese and lettuce on it or I bring along the ham, cheese and rice/corn cakes with us and make them up wherever we happen to find a nice place for a picnic. I also normally bring along some yoghurt and some fruit. Sometimes some peanuts for a snack later on.

      I still haven't sent you the recipe for those granola bars, have I?

      Dee, it depends on the water. Most places we can drink the water from the tap but if it has too much of a chlorine taste in it then we will buy bottled water. We hate the taste of the chlorine and find if there is too much in the water it also makes our hot drinks taste funny. Luckily that hasn't happened too often over here in Europe.

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