Monday, October 27, 2014

Emilia-Romagna by Car

If you were to ask me what the most intense, stressful moment of our trip was, I would, without a doubt, tell you that it was the day we tried to drive to Parma's city center without doing our research.  All of those traffic circles in quick succession just about did us in, especially since they came after we were lost in the outskirts of the city for a bit too long because we got off the highway too early. Factor in the unknown borders of the ZTL (limited traffic zones monitored by cameras that could result in tickets with large fines if you crossed into them) and we were a little frazzled.

After repeatedly pulling over to consult the map and the phone gps, we got close enough to park the car.  At this point our enthusiasm for exploring the city was pretty low.  We hoped stopping for lunch would recharge us.  Nope.  Since it was Sunday, the dining options were slim and lunch was unsatisfying.  We stayed on course towards the city center, meandered through a large city park.  We came across these awesome vintage kid tricycles and a small, outdoor recreation festival.

When we got to the other side of the park, we found ourselves at the edge of the historic center with no desire to go any further.  Sorry, Parma!  I'm sure you are great, but we just didn't have it in us to care that day.  We turned around and headed back to the car, picking up a little gelato on the way. 

The gelato was excellent and thankfully the next leg of the driving journey (to the second farm) went more smoothly.  You can't win them all, I guess!

On our way to the balsamic vinegar tour, we had some extra time to explore by car.  We came upon a produce store where the shopkeeper told us that the uglier the orange, the better the taste!

After our farm adventures, we opted to drive to Bologna and return our car instead of driving all of the way to Venice. Good bye, little Fiat!

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