Just a quick update on how today went so that you know what I'm in for this week. This morning we got to the winery at 8:30 am and everything was SILENT...I have learned that this is NOT a good sign. All the machines were either being cleaned or fixed. By 11:00am we had tractors lined up to waiting on the mechanics to fix our grape seperator. At 4 all was slow and well with the world by the machine still wasn't funcntioning to speed. So Giulia and I went to do a bit of grocery shopping and when we got back at 6... there was no where to park because the ENTIRE parking lot was full of tractors!!! This is supposed to be one of the busiest weeks of the year, and so far it's shaping up to be that way.
This past weekend was full of lakes and food! Friday night we all went to Monte Forte (the picture from with the large tower looking thing and also where the grape festival was with the big grape balloons) to have a spritz...in case you haven't noticed the Spritz is a big deal here. At first I thought the "spritz" was what they called their happy hour. I was wrong. I have learned that a spritz is a particular (and particually delicious) drink. The spritz is a mixture of Prosecco, Aperol, and Frizzy water, served with an orange slice. The Aperol has a different taste, not quite fruity, not quite alcoholy...delicious none the less. I also learned the other evening that this drink and the happy hour I had associated with the spritz have only become the fad within the last three years. After our spritz we all went to Agusto's house to have pizza. It was very late because even though it had started to rain on Friday there was still a lot of work at the winery and none of the boys in the cantina got to go home until around 10:30pm.
Saturday was a day of rest in the morning and then off to Lake Garda for the evening. We didn't arrive at the lake until around 11:30pm (because once again everyone is very busy during this time of the year and even though it rained all day causing the farmers to not harvest any grapes that day, the cantina workers were home late at night). This lake town was like a beautiful Italian dream, cobblestone streets, colorful brick buildings, people drinking wine in the streets, music coming from the bars and pizzerias...abosolutly everything I had imagined an Italian town to look like, right out of a dream. First we had a spritz at a little bar and listened to a group of older (slightly intoxicated) men speak in English. None of us could decide what accent they had and where they were from. I was going to ask, but decided I had better just let them be. After our spritz we went walking down the cobblestone street (note to all: high heels + cobblestone street = potential danger) to find some place to feed our ravaging hunger. Luckily for us we found an amazing restaurant that stayed open until 2am (by this time it was about 12:15am). We chowed down on breadsticks (the dry cracker type) and prosecco from the tap while we waited on dinner. I was finally able to find a dish that was spicy and didn't invovle meat. I had penne arribiata and it was delicious! After dinner we walked down to see the lake and some of the sail boats then we headed back home. A late night, but so worth it.
Sunday we all slept in late and then woke up to meet again at Augusto's house. We enjoyed coffee and crossiants wrapped around chocolate made by Augusto's sister. As we drank our coffee I witnessed (what I thought at the time) was the strangest thing. Alessandro was putting what I thought were Marachisno cherries into his timy expresso cup. I couldn't understand why you would do such a thing...until I decided that an overly sweet Marachisno cherry sounded absolutly delicious and popped on in my mouth. Imagine my surpise when the Marachisno cherry was actually a regular cherry that was LACED with liquor. Oh man, that sucker was strong. And now, I understand that cherry in the coffee. One of the many surprises that comes with 1. Not completely knowing the language and 2. Assumption. After the cherry episode we all headed out to a Lake Fimon in Vicenza. This lake was beautiful (I posted pictures in the "Out with friends" album) and looked a little mysterious since it was a bit stormy yesterday. We (including the Lab of Augusto, Leo) walked the entire path around the lake. Leo especially enjoyed himself, jumping into the lake, chasing other dogs, chasing sticks, running away from us...when Leo got in the car, oh man did he stink! We drove into the town of Vicenza to have our spritz and then to Montecchio for dinner at a Trattoria (which I have discovered usally means, at least around here, Authentic Italian restaurant). We all at waaaaay too much. I had two types of pasta, for my first plate. :) I got to see what Italian's call macaroni and cheese and imeadiatly proclaimed that my Momma made it better! I had a spaghetti with seasonal veggies and also a strange pasta that was two little tubes right beside each other in a sauce that was ricotta and eggplant. Both were equally delicious. We had grilled meat (ok obviously everyone but me) and passed lots of veggies, cooked carrots, fried potatoes, spinach, and something else I've forgotten at the moment, but i know there was more. We had with our dinner the house red wine. I swore it smelled like a cabernet, but my friends (who honestly have a lot more experience that I do) told me it was a Merlot. If it was a Merlot, it's one of teh two I've actually liked. For dessert I had panna cotta, which to me looked more like what I think tofu looks like, with two different sauces, carmel and mixed fruits. The sauces were yummy but I didn't quite get over the fact that the panna cotta looked, and tasted a little, like tofu... After dinner we drove to the REAL castles of Romeo and Juliet. We were going to go inside but because it was Sunday they were closed. I was promised we'd go again some time. I had no idea the real castles (okay first I honestly had no idea that they were REAL people) sat on two hills not very far from each other. It was very majestic to sit there in a place where history had happened. The inspiration for shakespeare was sitting right out my car window tall and proud like it had a life full of secrets. It was pretty awesome.
I wrote about Monday (actually yesterday) at the beginning of this post and today has been rather...um...boring. Although what better place than Italy to be bored? :) Not a whole lot to do this morning in the Cantina. Some cleaning, then some more cleaning, lunch, and now I'm at the computer catching up with you all. I'll go home early tonight and hopefully catch up on some sleep I missed this weekend. I'll need that sleep this coming weekend because IT'S MY BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!!!
So far the plans for birthday weekend are as follows. Friday, something but I don't know what yet. Saturday Villa Bonin the disco I've been to before and dinner at Daniela's house before. Sunday (my actual birthday) I'm not sure what but I'm hoping something that we can all be together because only the girls can go out Saturday night since the boys all have to work late in the Cantina (figures that my birthday would fall on the busiest week of teh year for them). Oh well, it'll be wonderful and I have a new birthday outfit thanks to a present from my Daddy!
Well, I'm signing off for now. I'm not sure when I'll write again but I will try to update you no later than Monday evening. LOOK AT THE NEW PICTURES!!