Fortunately timed arrival in Italy allows me to get at least one post in the month of July.
We set off from Warsaw at 07:00 Tuesday morning following the usual route straight down Poland, across Czech (what was Moravia to be precise) and into Austria, past Vienna, past Graz and stopping near Klagenfurt. We were making excellent time and would have logged an 11 hour trip had it not been for an accident on the highway in Brno that brought all three lanes to a standstill for about 2.5 hours while they cleaned up the mess. I think a truck must have been involved but was craned & towed away. By the time we drove past there was only a white van whose passenger (if there was one) must be dead and driver close to it. Also a Mercedes in a bad way and a lot of sawdust covering oil, or worse, on the tarmac.
Three minutes earlier we would have been ahead of the crash. Two minutes earlier we would have been involved in it. Such is the way the dice roll.
Having had the usual trouble finding a stop-over in Austria I had finally booked us into the Sonnenhof in Maria Rain, just south of Klagenfurt. This was a countryside option as opposed to earlier attempts in the city itself. It had all the hallmarks of a privately run hotel where the parents hoped the kids would take it over but the kids had better ideas and buggered off to work for Google leaving the parents with something they can’t fully handle and should sell but they won’t.
It did deliver on ample free and safe parking, countryside, getting a meal when we arrived and a room big enough for the three of us. Unfortunately, it also had a weird sweet smell that suggesting more cleaning was needed and caused my wife to have her first ever dream about cleaning toilets! Breakfast wasn’t up to much either. So that’s another Austrian hotel off the list. I’ve never known a country so bereft of decent hotel options (outside of Vienna).
The drive from what will forever be known as “the toilet hotel” down to our place in Italy was without incident and took roughly the expected five hours.
Romagna, in fact most of Italy, has seen more rain this July than is usual and quite a lot of it fell just after we arrived. The good news for Italians though is that we brought the sun with us. Today was glorious weather and the long range promises more of the same so we benefit from the earlier rain making everywhere green and lush but don’t have it interrupting our sunbathing. Excellent.
We are at the same place as last year, Quattro Passeri (Four Sparrows), and a search of this blog will find plenty of posts from last year. It is as glorious as it was then and Stefano’s welcome and attention have not diminished at all.
We ate at Osteria dei Frati last night where we shared an antipasti plate of great home made meats and local cheeses then the girls had pasta and gnocchi while I ordered what turned out to be beef cheeks in red wine which the chef thought brave enough to come and serve them to me in person. A sort of last rites ritual in these parts.
Tonight we go to what ended up as our favorite from last year. Report later.
The only annoyance is a problem with the inside of my left ankle. It swelled up last Friday for no memorable reason. I hoped it would go away but it didn’t so we visited the hospital on Sunday. The x-rays showed nothing wrong and they did a blood test thinking that it might be, if my translation and search is correct, gout or at least some form of joint swelling caused by an excess of uric acid in the blood. My reading was within norms but only just. I was given anti inflammatory drugs and told to go back when I’m home. I’ve been taking the drugs but it is still not right and it will be interesting to see what happens when the drugs run out, tomorrow. I’m not convinced it’s gout because by all accounts that makes the skin very sensitive and painful, which I don’t have. I’ve got a feeling I have sprained an Achilles or some other ligament. If there are any doctors out there, it hurts on the inside in the space between the ball joint and the heel. Anyway, I’m trying to ignore it.
A few snaps of our hostelry: