Piadina in Ferrara
Earlier in my trip to Italy, my travel buddy and I met up with her Italian friend she had met in the USA. He picked us up at the train station, and spent the day showing us around his home town, Ferrara. I thought my home town was lovely, but his has a castle. According to our host, the Castello Estense is the oldest castle in Europe still surround by water- quite the moat, if I do say so. Another fantastic building is the Palazzo dei Diamanti- a villa covered by an exterior of patterned diamond shapes, one rumored to be a real, gigantic diamond.
It is also known as a city of bicycles, with 3.5 bikes for every one person. Other highlights include the impressive medieval walls, the church turned porno movie theatre, and the longest street in Italy with out any shops. Oh, and how could I forget- the PIADINA!
In Spain, it was pretty easy to explain that I just didn’t eat meat because I didn’t like it. But Italy was another matter entirely, and it wasn’t just because of the language barrier. “How can you not eat meat? Don’t you get sick?” or my personal favorite, “What’s wrong with you? Meat is so good.” Well guys, I still don’t eat meat, and although some may beg to differ, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with my habit.
Anyway, our kind host took us to his favorite bar to get a necessary bite to eat before continuing on our tour of the region. He repeatedly reminded us of the importance of these lovely sandwiches, which sounded better and better the hungrier we became. The ‘chef’ extraordinaire repeatedly told me that he didn’t know how to make a piadina without meat, and then reluctantly served me a veggie filled, sauce drowning wonder, which I ate reassuring him that it was perfect (although thoughts may have gone to more tasty wonderlands…). Vegetarianism in Europe garners some interesting reactions.
The rest of the visit was spent driving to and walking around in Bologna, a city with quite the sense of humor (see photo to the right) and a nutella themed cafe. Heaven? Maybe, maybe not, but it made me miss Barcelona all the more. However, on the train ride back to our hostel outside of Venice, I realized that regardless of the apparent confusion over a meatless existence, Italy was a magical place.
Next Week: Another late night in Italy- Catalan Angels in Milan