Day trip to Parma

The morning started with us taking a 20-minute walk to the train station. Along the way, we stopped for two apricot jam-filled croissants and two latte macchiatos. It was so nice to be there without all our belongings – this was just a day trip to Parma. The train ride lasted about 15 minutes.

Parma train station
In front of the Parma Train Station

We walked to Parco Ducale park (thanks to Google Maps we walked much further than we expected … like we need more steps) – saw people of all ages strolling, sitting, biking, kids playing ball, men playing some sort of tile game on the backless benches.

View from Parco Ducale toward city buildings
Women chatting and men playing in Parco Ducale
Gentlemen playing a game in Parco Ducale

Our walk continued into the urban area. This seems to be a more cosmopolitan city and we enjoyed the varied architecture. The shops are small but have trendy and colorful attire. Maybe that’s due to their proximity to Milan, a city famous for fashion design. We snapped a couple of pictures of statues then did a bit of shopping at an outdoor clothing market.

Bas Relief commemorating Giussepe Verdi
Memorial for the people who fought against fascism in WWII (Partigiano statue)
View from Piazza della Pilotta
Market next to Piazza della Pilotta
Memorial to the Fallen for the Fatherland of Parma
Memorial to the Fallen for the Fatherland of Parma
Memorial to the Fallen for the Fatherland of Parma,faces in barbed wire
Who can argue with this logic?
Bascilia of Santa Maria della Steccate
Architecture in Parma
Government building in Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi (guess who the statue is)
Salumeria in Parma near the Duomo

While we were at city hall, we saw a Telecom Italia Mobile store and got new sim cards for our phones, so we can use the network here.  We are, however, not reachable from the US.  Best way to do that is through LINE, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp.

The Duomo was not much to look at outside but the interior was Spectacular. The ceilings were covered in frescos and the floors were beautiful worn marble. Hopefully our photos will do it justice.

Door on the Baptisery of Parma
Bell tower/clock tower of Duomo Parma
Catterdale di Parma
Entrance to Cattedrale di Parma
Chapel in Cattedrale di Parma
Frescos and glass in Cattedrale di Parma
Truly the High Altar in Cattedrale di Parma
High Altar in Cattedrale di Parma
High Altar in Cattedrale di Parma
Dave suspects the women are Mary Magdelene, Mary, Mother of Jesus, at the Crucifixion.
Frescos in Cattedrale di Parma
Prayer candles have entered the 21st century – LED lights
Altar in area being used as a confessional in Cattedrale di Parma

We had a lunch reservation at Trattoria Corrieri at 12:30 and were seated immediately. We ordered water and wine (Cabernet Franc for Dave and Lambrusco for Linda, both local), and an appetizer of 4 different cured meats (three types of ham and one salami). Oh my, what a treat for $14! Again, we were disappointed with the bread (just like the bread served at lunch on Tuesday) but our meals were delicious. Dave had a thick slice of roast veal stuffed with dressing, served with roasted potatoes and gravy. Linda chose Risotto Parmesan – not only was it cooked in cheese, there was a thin triangle of Parmigiano Reggiano sitting on top AND they brought a bowl of parmesan cheese to sprinkle. We’ve been told not to ask for ‘take home’ in restaurants but we couldn’t just leave it there! We are American after all!  In the end, it was our best meal yet and we will be getting some of that fabulous salami to bring back with us.

Dining room at Tabarin Osteria
Appetizer of three types of prosciutto/ham and salami
Roasted veal stuffed with bread and egg and roasted potatoes (it only looked slightly better in person)
Risotto Parmesan with extra parmesan cheese and a parmesan crotuet
Hams and salami hanging in the basement
Smaller hams in the basement
Trattoria Corrieri

The train ride home was uneventful except for a young local who argued with a Turkish man about him being on the wrong train if he was going to Milan. (Never did see the man get off…)

Back at the AirB&B, Dave worked on reloading photos for the blog that should’ve gone out this morning while Linda did some ironing (we did a small load of laundry last night). We talked to Jim & Anne (Dave’s brother/SIL in Orvieto, Italy) who informed us that the train system would be out on Friday due to an 8 hour strike. So while Dave finagled an alternative plan for Thursday-Friday, Linda started writing the Wednesday blog.

Around 8:30, we borrowed bicycles from Natalia and took off to get gelato. People bike everywhere here so we just joined in. This ‘inner city’ area’s streets are more like generous alleyways, all cobblestone, and with an occasional vehicle passing by. We went to the same gelato shop that we visited last night because it is such good quality. Dave had a cone with Snikers (yep, exactly what you think). Linda had Mandorla con Fichi (toasted almond with figs) and Ricotta Noci Miele (cheese – honey – nuts). The fig flavor was especially good.

Continuing on, we headed west and ran into a Night Market (just like Taiwan!). Friends and families laughing and enjoying the evening…clothing, shoes, cookware, kitchen tools, hardware, linens, lots of gummi candy and sugared roasted nuts, food stands… at prices from 1 Euro to 15 Euro (which, lucky for us, is about even with the US dollar).

Church in piazza where people were dining
Statuary on church
Night Market
One of many confectionaries at Night Market
Candy pacifiers (why do those two words not belong together?)

Another day done and it was FUN. We are acclimating to being here in Italy and we’re excited to see the changes in cuisine and lifestyle as we travel from place to place.

Arrivederci Como; Buon Giorno Reggio Emilia

Dave started the day by walking to find a place for last minute garbage then surprised Linda with pastries and cappuccinos. We relaxed on the balcony overlooking Lake Como in a cool morning breeze.

We left our Airbnb and tried both phone numbers we had to hail a taxi. One never answered and one said there weren’t any taxis available. So, we took off for the 20-minute walk to the train station. With tickets purchased, we waited 45 minutes for the train to Milan. Onboard, the mountains disappeared quickly and flat farmland appeared. The Milano Stazione Ferroviaria was just as we remembered… massive, crowded and fun.  Our train to Reggio Emilia was on time and we waited at the gate board for them to name a platform for our 45-minute ride at 170 mph!

Taxis were lined up when we got there and, very quickly, we were on our way to the Airbnb downtown. Our hostess, Natalia, greeted us at the door and showed us around. Bikes for our use, treadmill (since they don’t have mountains here, I guess…LOL), a lovely little inside courtyard then one flight up to our space. AIR CONDITIONING was a very pleasant surprise as it will push 90 degrees for the two days we are here! The home has all the amenities – Dave is attaching photos. Natalia is wonderful, speaks Spanish and Italian but is from Ukraine (she spoke of getting her mom out but has other family still suffering there). We can correspond with her by texting which Airbnb provides.

Living and dining area
Kitchen and entry
Bedroom at Airbng
Courtyard at Emilia Reggio Airbnb

We had lunch at Ristorante Canoss in the neighborhood. Inside was one long windowless room with dining tables and another room a two-cook kitchen. Our waiter was an older man and although we did not speak each other’s language, we could make out words like ragu (meat sauce) and pomodoro (fresh tomato) and aqua (gas or no gas) and caffe (coffee). And, of course, vino (wine). This area of Italy specializes in Lambrusco which is not like the one you think you know. We ordered a half bottle and got a tasty red wine that was almost fizzy. The rolls they served were Beautiful but had a very dry and crunchy outer shell with a soft, almost like stringy cotton, white inside. Both were pretty flavorless – no salt, no yeast scent, weird. The local couple at the next table ordered tortellini in broth then the waiter brought a large cart full of roasted meats/smoked and cured meats. He sliced off what they wanted and returned with a vegetable cart. It is a very interesting process. In the end, we enjoyed our pastas and the wine.

Spaghetti Pomodoro
Tagliatelle with ragu
Did someone need Parmesan cheese?
Cart with roasted and cured meats

Dave had a walking tour for us and when it was over, we agreed that we should’ve gone back to the house to veg and saved the walk for the evening hours. It was 34° C = 94° F. The sun was relentless, but it was not humid. It was quite pleasant in the shade. The other oddity was that the stores all close from 12:30 till 3:00 then reopen till early evening. The city was eerily quiet.

Reggio Emilia during the early afternoon break
Open-air mall
Interesting architecture and plants
Cattedrale di Santa Mary Assunte (Reggio Emilia Cathedral)
Reggio Emilia’s Town Hall
Torre del Bordello (Bordello Tower)
Crostolo Fountain
Virgin Mary and Jesus in Regio Emilia Cathedral
Skyline of Cheisa di San Giorgio (San Giorgio Church)
Start of Corso Guiseppi Garbaldi
Chiesa di San Giorgio (San Giorgio Church)
Tomatoes in grocery store
Peppers and tomatoes in grocery store
Fresh pasta anyone?
Maybe some cured meats?
Street in Reggio Emilia
Street in Reggio Emilia

Back at the house, we checked email and took naps.

After a nice rest, it was time to head out to dinner.  It was a little after 19:00 (7 pm) and there was a notable difference between our last time outside.  The first thing we recognized was that while the temperature was still hot, without the sun beating on us, it was very tolerable.  The second was that the pedestrian crowds had increased and the city seemed more vibrant.  We took our time getting to dinner since we were only 10 minutes away.  That let us do some more window shopping.  We found that things looked to be either quite expensive or inexpensive.  There didn’t seem to be much “in the middle”.

Street life at 10:30 in Piazza Camillo Prampolini Ito the side of the Duomo)
Street life at 19:30 in Piazza Camillo Prampolini (in front of town hall)
Building in Piazza Camillo Prampolini at 19:30

We arrived at Tabarin Osteria slightly late for our 19:30 reservation.  To be clear, they just opened at 19:30.  There was a gentleman ahead of us and two women already seated.  We had previously checked out the menu, so deciding was a little easier.  Linda opted for the pickled vegetables. Dave ordered fried ravioli, fried bread (it’s starting to feel like the South) for us to share, and a spaghetti carbonara special that used a truffle sauce.  Everything was great, though we really didn’t need the fried bread.

Tabarin Osteria – we ate at the first table on the left
Pickled vegetables (Cauliflower, purple cauliflower, eggplant, red & yellow pepper)
Erbazzone (Emilian typical fried ravioli stuffed with wild chard and spinach, rice, eggs, and parmesan)
Gnocco frita (Emilian fried bread)
Spaghetti Carbonara in truffle sauce

After finishing dinner, we walked around some more.  Linda overheard a conversation about a great gelato place nearby, so we felt obligated to confirm the recommendation.  Well, we must agree with the recommendation.  K2 Gelateria did not disappoint.  Dave had a small cup of Stracciatella (chocolate chip), while Linda had a medium with mango and chocolate.

Cattedrale di Santa Mary Assunte (Reggio Emilia Cathedral) at night
Linda with her mango & chocolate scoops of gelato from K2 gelateria

We then walked to the Municipal Theater and a nearby fountain.  The theater was a nice building, but, unfortunately, the fountain was not running.  The light on the fountain with the water were supposed to be very nice.  The piazza near the theater was interesting in that it had tri-color lights (red, white, green) under the benches.

Municipal Theater in Reggio Emilia at 21:15

We then strolled back home taking in views on many local bodegas and other “mom & pop” stores.

It was then time to call it a night.