Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I needed a vacation like nobody's business... Going back to Germany! Part 7

Bill and I got up early and cleaned up the apartment a bit.  We loaded up the car and had one last Italian breakfast, complete with delicious custard filled croissants covered with a sprinkling of caramelized sugar.  Although I don't need to be eating them, those croissants were absolutely sinful.

A final goodbye...
At about 8:30am, Bill called our host to let him know we were ready to check out.  He said they were unpleasantly surprised we were leaving so early.  After a short wait, the host's sister arrived and we handed over the keys.  She shook our hands and kissed me goodbye Italian (and French) style.  Bill maneuvered out of the tight parking spot and we headed to the Esso station to get some gas.  Bill had forgotten that gas is often done full service style in Italy.  It was a good thing, too, since he almost mistakenly put diesel fuel in our car.

After we gassed up, we headed to the grocery store to load up on wine.  I waited with the dogs while Bill picked up some vino, Parmesan cheese, and salami.  Bill advised me to mention that the grocery store in Domaso takes all credit cards.  It was a good thing, too, since it doesn't have an ATM.

Then, just as we were pulling out of the parking lot, we ended up behind this cool looking old car with German plates.  It was going pretty slowly, but that was okay.  I got a chance to watch people gawking at it as it passed through the little Italian towns.

Neato wheels!

We took a slightly different and shorter route out of the Lake Como area.  It saved us some time and only minimally challenged us with hairpin switchbacks.  I was pretty tired, so I dozed as we entered Switzerland.  I opened my eyes at just the right time to see all of the gorgeous (and very expensive) scenery.

We stopped at the same Swiss Burger King again and ate overpriced fast food.  Bill lamented how much mayonnaise was slathered all over his sandwich while Zane whined and fretted in the back seat.

In the absence of serious staus, we arrived home at about 3:30pm yesterday, which gave me plenty of time to do the laundry and start my blogging.  Although we didn't pack this trip with a lot of activities and we suffered a few mishaps, we managed to have a really nice time in Italy.  I would definitely recommend Domaso to people who are just looking for a pet friendly, kid friendly, and laid back place to chill out for a few days.  It's absolutely beautiful there and, as long as you aren't driving or trying to park, it's a very stress-free place to be.  I truly hope we can visit again sometime.

I needed a vacation like nobody's business... Lasagna by the lake! Part 6

When it became clear that Zane and Arran were going to be okay after their Saturday night food orgy, Bill and I decided to take them for another walk.  This time, we walked them down the hill into the town.  Zane was feeling very frisky as he pranced along, taking in the sights and sounds of Italy on a Sunday morning.  Unfortunately, we had to cut their walk a bit short because I suddenly needed to pee.  One thing that Domaso doesn't seem to have is public restrooms.  Yes, we could have stopped into a bar or a cafe and had a drink, but it was still kind of early for that.  So we walked the dogs back up the hill.  Really, it was a long enough walk for them, anyway.

At lunchtime, we decided to head back to the lake without the dogs.  I was going to get my lasagna.  I had read that the beach hostel had good lasagna and I knew it offered a prime spot right by the water. We got there a bit early for the lasagna.  We were told it wouldn't be ready until 1:30pm.  Or, we could have pizza or a panini.  I wanted lasagna, though, and was willing to sit at a table and drink beer until it was available.  And that is exactly what I did.

The beach hostel offers two beers on tap.  Bill and I enjoyed them both.  I commented that the above beer was a bit like sex in a rowboat, though...  ;)  

The staff at the beach hostel were very friendly during our visit.  The hostel was also very kid and dog friendly.  One lady brought a hilarious cocker spaniel, who was making the rounds saying hello to everyone, including a nearly identical cocker spaniel who passed by.

Sitting at the hostel, we were able to watch people enjoying the lake.  I didn't see anyone swimming or wading, although I'm sure it's acceptable.  I think the water was still a little cool for that.  However, we did see people windsurfing and there were plenty of sunbathers.  There were also many small sailboats on the water.  I'm sure in a month, people will really be enjoying watersports on the lake.

The above beer was less like sex in a rowboat.

After our second beer, the cute girl who waited on us said it would be another forty minutes for the lasagna.  We ordered another round and waited...  and finally, it came out piping hot and delicious.

This was worth the trip!  Made with bechamel sauce and a light Bolognese sauce, this lasagna really hit the spot. 

If you're in Domaso looking for a laid back hangout that caters to kids and dogs, this is the place.

Bill bought some food at the market, so we had dinner in the apartment on our last evening in Domaso, paired with plenty of wine.  We planned an early departure for yesterday, knowing it would take several hours to get back to Germany.  

I needed a vacation like nobody's business... A fantastic meal at Osteria Monti followed by an unpleasant surprise... Part 5

Bill and I decided that it wouldn't do to drink our dinner on Saturday night.  So we decided to head back down the hill to a wine shop/osteria I had noticed during our earlier walk.  We neglected to make reservations, which was kind of a mistake.  Fortunately, there was an available table at Osteria Monti when we arrived at about seven o'clock.  We took a seat and proceeded to enjoy a fantastic dinner.

This place has wine for purchase as well as a delightful restaurant.

Bill decides on dinner.  I noticed a lot of tables had been booked, but most of the people never showed up.  By the time we left at about 9:30, the reserved tables were still empty and had been all evening.  The couple sitting behind Bill brought their well-behaved dog with them and the staff brought out a bowl of water.  Given what we discovered later, we should have brought ours, too.

This wine was superb!  I'm definitely going to look for it around here.

The amuse.  This was warm octopus with tomatoes and peppers.  It was delicious.

I had a substantial starter.  These were shrimp fried in phyllo and served with fried potatoes and a mild, citrusy sauce.  They were a hit with me!

Bill had dried beef, which was flavorful and satisfying.  I preferred my shrimp, though.

For dinner, I had Iberian pork served with mashed potatoes and mustard.  This pork was absolutely delicious.  It was tender, flavorful, and cooked to perfection.  And it was just the right size.

Bill had Irish beef with lentils, again perfectly cooked to medium.  

A pre-dessert dessert--  vanilla chantilly with a dash of strawberry.

And I had a lime and gin ice cream creation.  The ice cream was so creamy and rich that it reminded me of custard.  That's probably what it actually was.

Bill had moist chocolate cake with hazelnut and pistachio ice cream.  Our bill came to 115 euros and it was worth every euro cent.

The walk back to the apartment was very pleasant.  There was a warm breeze and the air smelled of flowers.  Little did we know, we'd come back to a mess.  While we were gone, Arran the mischief maker managed to pull a crate full of supplies off the counter.  In the crate were a couple of partially eaten chocolate bars, an entire bag of expensive Orijen dog treats, and a small bag of dry dog food.  Arran helped himself to the dog treats and the dog food and ate part of the chocolate.

As most dog owners know, chocolate is toxic to dogs.  Fortunately, the bars we had were not especially dark chocolate and Arran didn't eat all of them.  I think he got about 100 grams.  Also, Arran apparently didn't let Zane get into the booty because only Arran was looking pregnant.  

Naturally, we were upset about the mess and the potential chocolate poisoning.  I went looking to see if the area had emergency vets.  Of course, both Bill and I had also been drinking wine at dinner, so neither of us was in any condition to drive.  As it turned out, Arran was totally fine.  He didn't even so much as suffer a loose bowel movement or vomit even once.  For those who are wondering, yes, there are emergency vets near Domaso.  Fortunately, we didn't have to pay a visit there.   

We didn't sleep well on Saturday night, though, because we were worried about Arran getting very sick.  Next time, we will do a better job of beagle proofing.  The kitchen in the apartment where we were staying does have a closing door.  In retrospect, we should have closed the door and that would have prevented this little mishap.  Lesson learned.  

Just before Bill and I got married back in 2002, our dog CC broke into some chocolate that I hadn't hidden well enough.  CC ate about two pounds of Hershey's Kisses and Dove candies that I had used as wedding favors.  He did get pretty sick, although we were able to take care of him at home.  This situation with Arran wasn't nearly as dramatic as that one was.  Every once in awhile, we have to be reminded not to get too complacent.  Consider us reminded.

Part 6

I needed a vacation like nobody's business... International relations! Part 4

Saturday morning, we woke up to bright and sunny skies.  Bill's ankle was still throbbing from his little mishap Friday morning.  We were still determined to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.  After breakfast, we took the boys on the same walk we took the day prior, only we kept going a ways.  We climbed up a long hill, cheered on by a marauding dog at the top of a wall who was desperate to protect his territory.

That dog meant business!

Rocky road!

When we finally reached the top of the hill, we were greeted by a tiny, toothless, old Italian lady dressed all in black.  She smiled and offered a greeting, then engaged us (well, really, Bill) in a lengthy conversation.  She did not speak any English and we don't speak Italian, but I'd studied enough Spanish to understand some of what she was saying.  Bill was gamely trying to respond to her as she rattled on about how the people in Domaso are nicer than the people in Milan.

I stood there in amazement because the conversation lasted several minutes with neither party being conversant in the other party's language.  I gazed up the hill and noticed another lady standing on a terrace watching the whole thing.  The old lady who was talking to us obviously knew the other lady and called up to her to tell her we were visitors.  It turned out the lady was standing on the terrace of Sorsasso, Domaso's well-regarded agritourism restaurant and shop.  Because you have to make reservations, we never did get a chance to visit there.  If we ever get back to Domaso, we will have to make a point of having dinner there.

After bidding the friendly local lady goodbye-- and she thanked us for listening to her-- we strolled to the end of the road where we captured a more stunning pictures of the enchanting landscape.  Really, I could spend all day simply taking in the beauty of this little town, watching the people, and drinking wine.  That's pretty much what I did, too.


After a short rest, we decided to go down to the lake without the dogs.  On the way back into town, we passed a grandmother taking her toddler aged granddaughter for a walk.  The lady was smiling and singing to the girl.  Bill said I got a huge delighted grin on my face as we passed them.  He said, "You love Italy, don't you?"  Yes...  yes I do!  I also love Germany, although I have to admit I am always charmed by how friendly the Italians are.    

Domaso has a nice beach area and, we soon discovered, it's a very popular place to camp.  There's also a great youth hostel there, located right next to the water and offering cheap, basic rooms.

A charming sight on the walk down to the main drag.

I took this picture of Bill noting that there was evidently a Scottish wedding going on behind that wrought iron fencing.  There were guys in kilts standing outside the city hall.  I never thought I'd see guys in kilts in Italy.  On the other hand, why not?

In Italy, you have to pick up your dog's poop...  

Domaso also has a shop where one can buy wine on tap.  We didn't venture into this business because we ran out of time.  Maybe if we happen to go back to Domaso we'll visit.

The kilted ones again.

After about an hour of strolling, it got to be time for lunch.  I was really in the mood for lasagna.  Alas, we fell victim to a very charming and assertive restaurant hawker who lured us to his terrace.  Lasagna was not on the menu at Ristorante da Mario.  I see his place doesn't get the best reviews on Trip Advisor, but we managed to enjoy lunch there anyway.  It's hard to get a bad meal in Italy.

Bill is laughing because the guy who lured us-- I presume it was Mario himself-- kept speaking to us in German.  He gave us German menus, even though he had ones in English.  His wife (again, I presume), spoke English and picked up that we are not German.  Mario never got a clue, though!  We were repeatedly mistaken for Germans this past weekend.  It was actually kind of funny.

I had noodles with Bolognese sauce.  These were pretty good, especially when paired with a nice wine.  We asked for sparkling water, but Mario brought us still water.

Bill had fish with risotto.  The risotto was very good-- not gummy or sticky.  And the fish was well-prepared.  

For dessert, we had lovely tiramisu.  Bill's piece was noticeably bigger than mine was, but that's okay.

This lunch went for about 45 euros.  Although it wasn't the lasagna I really wanted, it was fine.  We definitely made up for the experience at Mario's later, when we ventured out for dinner.  More on that in the next post.

Part 5