Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Italy 2014: Day 20: Wednesday: May 21: Barge

The bad weather forecasts for this area are happily inaccurate....the sun is out this morning and there is no threat of rain. 

Today we get in the car and head for Bra, a small city about an hour to the north and east, which is the home of the Slow Food movement.  The drive to Bra is uneventful...lots of farmland, some factories and, as we drive through the town of Carde', many fields of solar panels--the most we have seen this trip.  We go through several attractive small towns on the way to of the nicest is Moretta with an impressive brick church in the center and tidy houses and shops.
We also get a chance to cross the Po River a number of times which is always a plus for me.

We reach Bra, park in the large lot just outside of the center (it is a bit crowded today because the weekly market is going on) and take a cursory walk through the market.  I go the tourist information office to ask about two things...the location of the typewriter museum and where we can buy hearing aid batteries (Diana's hearing aid is acting up.)   They don't know about the typewriter museum but they direct us to a shop in the center--an ottica (where they sell eyeglasses, etc.)

The stroll through the historic center is very pleasant--the town is clean and well-kept with lots of benches on the street--and we get to the "ottica" just before it closes for lunch.  We get the batteries without any fuss and the hearing aid is back in working order.

It is now time for lunch and the restaurant we are going to--Boccondivino--is only a few blocks away.  Boccondivino is one of the original Slow Food restaurants--the organization that started in Italy in 1989 to protest the opening of McDonald's.  It hasn't slowed the growth of fast food restaurants in Italy but the Slow Food movement has been quite successful in promoting the development of traditional foods and ingredients.

This is our second time at Boccondivino....we had been about ten years ago.  We are seated in the very beautiful courtyard so we can enjoy the fine sunny day.

Lunch is terrific....again.  I have a plate with small portions of carne cruda, lardo and the local salami while Diana has a flan. Diana tries their tajarin with butter and sage and I have the same pasta with sausages--both are good but not as good as our first tajarin in Cuneo.  The panna cotta is also very silky but slightly less impressive than one we had at the Osteria della Chiocciola in Cuneo.

After lunch, we take a short drive in Le Langhe area east of Bra...the beautiful vineyard country around La Morra and Barolo. Steep, winding roads with views of the vinyards and fields and the villages in the distance....very impressive.

Back in Barge, we stay in the room for a while to rest up from lunch.  The room has not been made up and when I go to the front desk to ask about, I am told that the "Do Not Disturb" indicator was on and they never go into the room when the light is on.  It turns out that I had inadvertently pushed the button on the hard to read control panel next to the bed and hadn't realized it.  Too high-tech for we get fresh towels and live with the unmade bed.

I go out for a last walk around Barge and have to say that--while it is generally not very appealing as a place to stay--it wasn't as bad as our original impression.   However, Barge will not be on any of my future itineraries.

No dinner tonight....still full from lunch.  We stay in the room and watch a very good Danish movie "A Hijacking."

Tomorrow we leave Barge for the eastern part of Piemonte--Casale Monferrato.

Jim and Di