The Arno River in Pisa, Italy. Photo taken March 24, 2017.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Sala Mandelli, Italy.

Where are they going next? Savona, Italy. Arrive March 27th.

Monday, March 13, 2017

When in Rome...

We haven't had a "do nothing" day in almost three weeks. And even on our last "do nothing" day, we had still gone for a walk. So, after trekking more than 24 kms (15 miles) in the previous two days, we both agreed that yesterday would be a day of rest.

So we stayed in for the morning and had some computer time and reading. The computer time was productive though, in that I got some more of our future travel plans set into place.

I booked us a train from Bergamo to Savona on March 27th. With the early booking bonus, the price for the almost three hour train ride was €14.50 ($21 CAD, $16 USD) each. Pretty cheap when you book far enough in advance.

We need to be in Nice, France on March 30th, so Savona is about half way there. Also, Savona isn't much on the tourist radar, so we wanted to check it out.

And, I booked us a two night stay in Rimini. We arrive there tomorrow. Rimini is a popular beach town during the summer season, with a lot of nightclubs and discotheques. But we're not much into that, so why are we going to Rimini?

Well Rimini is very close to the Republic of San Marino. A tiny country, surrounded by Italy! And we want to visit the Republic of San Marino! So, we'll be doing that on Wednesday.

Fernando, our Airbnb host here in Bergamo, offered to take us to a big grocery store so we went for a drive after lunch.

In the big grocery store.

The big grocery store was located in an even bigger shopping mall. The mall was packed with people! You'd think it was Christmas time! 

We got what we needed, and headed back home.

Scenery along thee way.

For supper, Fernando had offered to make us a traditional and popular local Italian dish. No, there is no pasta in it! And so when in Rome, we do as the Romans do...

We eat horse meat salad!

Yes, horse meat is popular in the province of Lombardy (where we are now). In fact, the grocery store meat department has a whole section devoted to horse meat.

The meat we bought was pre-cooked and very finely shredded.

I didn't take a photo of the salad...but, it looks like a salad! With the shredded horse meat, there was also a lot of fresh shredded parmesan cheese, and shredded carrots.

It was actually really good, once you get over the fact that you're eating horse meat! A little too salty tasting, but good nonetheless.

Our host, Fernando.

It's been really good staying with Fernando. He's been very helpful and informative, and always offering to do something for us. In fact, we have a car rental booked back at the airport this morning and we were prepared to take the bus...but he insisted that he will drive us there. 

So hopefully everything goes smoothly getting our car rental, and then we might do an afternoon drive towards the mountains in behind us.

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24 comments:

  1. Kudoes to Fernando for taking good care of you and being a great host!

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    1. Frenando has been an excellent host. We have learned a lot from him about the culture in Italy as well as Peru, especially with the food.

      Last night we cooked him a meal. :-)

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  2. Wow horsemeat salad surely a different meal. Good to have a nice host taking you places. Enjoy your drive!

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    1. It certainly was because we would never go out to buy horse meat for ourselves. We both enjoyed the salad however, and glad that we were able to try food that is Italian.

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  3. In the netherlands sliced horsement is common to be on the table with other deli meats. It creeps me out but Peter has had it.

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    1. It is also a popular meat in Iceland but Kevin and I both couldn't bring ourselves to order it. You have to try and put your mind into the way of thinking that they breed the horses for the meat the same way they do cows. I am pretty sure that I would never go out and buy it in a store to prepare at home.

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  4. Horse meat is also eaten frequently in France. In small population areas and villages in France, the old fashion proprietor small meat markets still exist. The way you tell if a little French meat market sells horse meat is by looking at the sign above the door with a horse head insignia. If the horse head is large on the sign, the market may exclusively sell nothing but horse meat. However, we just stuck with fish, chicken, veal, or eggs prepared wonderfully in French cooking, and a modest French household (we stayed with families a lot) and a modest French restaurant owner are superb chefs.

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    1. Apparently there are a number of countries that it is a popular meat to eat.

      I will have to remember that little bit of information any time that we go to France, especially out in the country, so that if I see a large horse head insignia over the door that we will avoid that butcher. We don't mind trying it as we did with Frenando but it is a meat that I doubt we will buy for ourselves.

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  5. I love love love going grocery shopping in other countries - seeing all the different things to eat, although horse meat wouldn't be my first choice. I avoided oxtail in Spain and we ended up eating it accidentally in a small pub where they didn't speak English and it was disguised as a daily special. I had looked at San Marino as a very neat place to go when I was doing some advance planning for our Italy trip next year. Can't wait to see your posts!

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    1. Yes, grocery shopping in another country is always an interesting and fun thing to see and do. It always takes us a while to figure everything out when we do our first or second grocery shop though because we have to read all the ingredients to make sure everything we buy is gluten free.

      We had oxtail as a tapas in Seville and it was very good. The only reason we picked it was because friends of ours said that it was tender and delicious.

      We are looking forward to our short visit in San Marino! :-)

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    2. I would never have thought to eat oxtail except that my parents forced it on me when I was a child. As it turns out, it is really good, if a bit fatty. It was cheap, which is why they bought it (and this was in the US!) I haven't ever bought or ordered it as an adult, but I'm actually thankful that they exposed me to it now, as it wouldn't phase me to eat it. Not sure about horsemeat, but it is all about what foods are common and acceptable in a given culture. I suspect if I'd grown up with it, I wouldn't feel so weird about eating it.

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    3. We are glad that our friends had suggested that we try the oxtail as well because if they hadn't of been there we probably wouldn't have ordered it. Now that we have, I wouldn't hesitate to have it again.

      You are totally right, about what food is common and acceptable in each culture and how they wouldn't think twice about eating something that they are used to but we would be gagging at the thought. We do like to try different foods in different countries so I guess that is horse meat off the list now. It was totally fine to eat but we really have a hard time wrapping our heads around it because I love horses and think of them only as pets not food.

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  6. I did not care for horse meat, but the wine looks good:)

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  7. We can buy certified horse meat here in Mexico. It's actually very good ground and in tacos. In Monterrey we have a meat market that specializes in horse meat.

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    1. Kevin said that Mexico is a huge exporter of horse meat but rarely sells it in it's own country. This is the first time that I have heard of ground horse meat in tacos or that Monterrey has a market that specializes in it. We learn something new every day!

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  8. Wow this was an extremely good read even the replies. Yes I love seeing the markets to see what the locals eat.

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    1. Thanks! We love the markets, the best ones are still the ones that we have seen in Mexico although we saw two fantastic fish markets in South Korea and they were amazing. Some of the food other countries eat is definitely an acquired taste!

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  9. I remember my dad getting horsemeat in Edmonton back in the early 60's but it was very expensive so didnt get it often. But I remember liking it! Havent noticed it in the stores so far in France. We were in Nice and Monaco today :). Lyd

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    1. I had never heard of anyone having horse meat in Canada but then I just maybe never paid attention to it. We know that when we were in Iceland, it was on the menu of a shop that we went into but this is the first time that we have ever seen it for sale in a store.

      The rate you two are moving along, our paths just might cross once again.

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  10. Not being much of a meat eater (of any kind), I'd probably pass of the salad!

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    1. I wouldn't blame you, it is hard wrapping your head around the fact that it is horse meat. It is difficult for us to appreciate some of the Italian cuisine because so much of it contains gluten, that it is nice to try something that is a local food when we can.

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  11. In Cancun, Mexico we went grocery shopping in a fancy mall. A huge grocery store in an expensive mall. Everything was reasonable...but since I don't speak Spanish or read it, it was difficult making sure I bought the right stuff to make dinner.

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    1. Yep, that is the way it is for us until we get used what some of the ingredients are. We really have to read the labels because we need to make sure anything we buy doesn't include gluten. Takes us ages to do a grocery shop!

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