Published: May 7th 2012May 7th 2012
We took a late night flight to Bologna, Italy for a burn around the country side and some fine eating. We woke in our reasonably priced, but very clean hotel room to bright blue skies. Which was a nice change from a gloomy April in London. Scott and I headed into the main square to wait for a flying pick up by Adam and Myles who had been driving around Tuscany leading up to the long weekend. We had a poke around the square and found an excellent little foodie alley with amazing hams, cheeses, fish and fresh fruit and vegetables which was a buzz with locals picking up their groceries. We enjoyed one of many espressos watching the world go by, including a pensioner enjoying an early morning dirty martini. Why not on a beautiful Saturday morning? Adam managed to find the square and double park up and we leaped in ans we were soon zooming towards Modena, home of the balsamic vinegar. Oddly we started seeing scantly dressed women on the road side, just waiting. After seeing about 10 or more we realised they were not waiting for the local bus, in fact we were driving past prostitutes showing their wears ... very strange.
Modena was a lovely town with buildings painted an array of pastel colours, sadly we couldn't find any vinegar. Parma was another fabulous little town with grand buildings on every corner. We had a tasty pasta lunch in one of the little alley ways. There we managed to have some Parma cheese and balsamic . Next stop was our rural hotel on the Pe River. The hotel had been constructed from a very old farm house and an extension added to accommodate a Michelin star restaurant. The rooms were lovely with the old wooden ceiling, traditional furniture and modern bathroom. The property consisted of garden, chickens, horses and cows. Further down the road they had a vineyard and farmed pork and more cows for the Parma ham and cheese. That evening after some of the estates bubbles in one of the many lounges we had a fantastic meal in the restaurant. Enjoying more of the local wines and laughs through out the evening.
The following morning we were treated to an extensive breakfast in the same restaurant before watching the peacocks that roam the property mate. Never seen anything like it, the plumage was amazing, however the females didn't seem that impressed by it all. That morning we took a pasta cooking class in the kitchen. It was a good laugh and interesting to see how a Michelin restaurant prepares for a service. We did get the feeling they wanted us out of there. As we were leaving on a short bike ride the rich from the area started to arrive for the Sunday lunch. There were Bentley's, Rolls Royce, BMW's, etc, so they were more than likely trying to get us out of the kitchen. We found a quaint rural village to return to for dinner that evening on our bike ride which appeared to be having some kind of festival. That afternoon we headed out to some surrounding foothills and took a Sunday drive to enjoy a few mountain vistas. Dinner was fun at the wee Village, more local bubbles, pasta and of course Parma. On the ride home we managed to catch a lovely sunset over the wide Pe River, a nice ending to our stay in the country side.
On our last day we decided to try and visit the Ferrari museum on the way to the airport. It got a little bit tight having made a couple of wrong turns and hitting a bit of traffic. But we managed to race inside and take a peak at a few of the cars before tearing off to the airport. Like most other Italian towns, the airport was very badly sign posted, but after a few round about spins and a couple of u-turns we arrived in the nick of time.