Day 3 Part 1 Day Trip to the Hill Towns Tour of Veneto

*Beware : Ultra Long Picture Post*

A long, long time ago, I started a post on the day three(and final day) of our Venice Trip. It languished in my drafts for months, before I remembered. That too, just because daughter and I were going through the old pictures of the times when the three of us had so much fun.

Given that the year is coming to an end, the least I can do is do the post, before the year ends. Next year’s holidays can be chronicled the next year 🙂 without a backlog. Talking of holidays, this has been the longest time for us without a proper holiday. India trips never counted as holidays in that sense – they are just to replenish our souls, staying with parents and enjoying the cosy, warmth of being with them. For our holiday souls, we needed other holidays, like the ones to Greece, Venice or America. Or even a day trip to the Dales was good enough. So when we were planning our move to India, daughter had just one concern, ‘Where are we going to holiday next?’, and no, moving to India was not holiday by her standards. We haven’t done much this year, but we do have some plans in Jan, when husband is here. Fingers crossed.

While we plan for our next, long-awaited holiday, let me take you on a tour of Veneto’s Hill Towns. If you haven’t read about the earlier parts of the holiday, you can read them here,  here and here. You see, the weather forecast for Sunday, had been wet and rainy, so I did some research on TripAdvisor and figured that we could go on a day tour of the Hill Towns of Veneto. The tour operators came heavily recommended and the pictures of the places seemed great. So we booked the tour before we started on our trip.

Right on schedule Sunday morning dawned, grey and ready to pour. Never had we been so happy to see that we might have for once beaten the weather. Those of you who follow my travel posts, know how good we are at attracting bad weather. We’ve brought bad weather to California once,  have had our flights cancelled thanks to snow, perfectly good conditions turn nasty as soon as we plan a holiday.  So this time,we decided to do what we could to outwit the weather.

We set off nice and early, with all out bad weather clothes and food, just in case we needed to nibble. We did manage to forget one very important thing – a book for daughter  to read, and that sent us scouring the streets of the places we stopped at, to find one book in English.  They had warned the tourists to be on time, and we being very punctual when on holiday, were right on time, actually before time, but better early than late,eh? We reached Tronchetto,  which is the place from which our tour would take off. Apparently, Tronchetto is an Island that was created in the 1960s and it serves as a car park for tourist vehicles. Our tour guide had his van parked here, and off we  went with another family of four.

Our tour guide was guy called, oops, I seem to have completely forgotten! See, this is what happens when travelogues are written after a year(almost) of the trip! I was telling husband that I was writing this up, and he was amazed, ‘Do you still remember what we did’? Well, not everything, but whatever I do, will get documented.

Our first stop was Marostica.  Marostica is famous for the Human Chess game that it hosts every other year. The square was closed for renovation, so we couldn’t see the chess arena, but we do have some other pictures of the quaint little town for you.  It has these fort like walls surrounding the city, which gives it such a romantic air. Like someplace out of medieval history.

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On the right is the boarded off chess square

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As I go through the pictures, I come to the same conclusion that I come to, everytime I do a picture post, the best pictures have one of   us in them! This is what happens when we forget that we also blog, we need to take pictures without people!

We had about an hour, so we grabbed a gelato, rather husband and daughter did, while I tried to abstain, only to grab bites from both of them, and ambled about in the empty, cobbled streets of Marostica. It was a Sunday, so most shops were shut as well. We did take this picture, I think it was a chocolate box cover, in case any of you wanted to see how the chess square looks normally.

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Can you see the cathedral at the back?

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Funnily, a lot of houses looked boarded up, which felt rather sad.

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But other vibrant windows made up for the forlon ones above. Aren’t these cute? I love plants, and I love creepers all over.

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An hour runs by really quickly when we are on holiday. We set off for the next stop, Bassano Del Grappa, where we were heading for some Grappa tasting! The first thing that caught my eye was this window. I can’t tell you how much I loved it. I had dreams of replicating it in my windows in Bangalore, only for the dreams to come crashing down. It is way too windy on the eleventh floor, to try something like this. Sigh! One day…

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Bassano Del Grappa, is famous for inventing Grappa, the traditional Italian after dinner drink.  The town also has the famous Palladian Bridge, a covered wooden bridge, which apparently had been destroyed many times during the second World War.

The entrance to the bridge.

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The wooden structure of the bridge.

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The buildings near the bridge. Can you see those marks? Those are the bullet marks preserved from the World War. What a painful reminder that must be…

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Crossing the bridge we went on our way to the Grappa tasting, which was high up on some hill. The view of the bridge from up there.

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The view of the mountains..

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And finally, we reached what we were here for – the distillery.

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We got to see how Grappa is made, got to sniff at the various flavours, and got to taste. Again loads of pictures, some with us behaving like monkeys, so you get to see just these 🙂

These were the ones we got to taste. I loved the coffee flavoured one -it tasted close to Baileys – but better. And after all that, I was drunk before it was noon 🙂

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Light-headed after all those tasting sessions, we walked around, took some more pictures. I would have posted, but I’m running out of patience now. I guess I should do some picture posts later.

Onward to the next destination – Lunch! Our guide gave us an option of traditional fare or a pizza lunch. We opted for the pizza lunch, when he said that the traditional fare might not work for children, and we had three kids under the age of 6. He promised to take us to the best pizza place in Italy, and true to his words, the pizza was absolutely delicious and massive!

We were starving by then, and would have eaten any pizza, best or not.  I have no decent pictures of the pizzas, because we gobbled them up before we could take any pictures. So famished we were, that pictures were the last things on our mind. Husband ordered wine, and they brought it in a huge jug. It was more than enough for me and him. And delicious too, if I might add. The combination of Grappa before lunch(it is supposed to be the other way around), and wine with lunch, had me more than a little tipsy). The after lunch expresso was the best thing to be had. I have to say, the memory of that lunch still has me sighing! Simple and yet so delicious!

More lemon plants – how I love them!

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Some of us even got some pizza dough to make our own pizza on our way out:)

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And then it was time to walk back to our van. On the cobbled streets of Bassano. There is some old world charm to these streets, don’t you think?

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Full and sated, it was tough not to fall asleep on the next leg of the trip.

The next stop was Villa Barbaro, a Palladian Villa. It was post lunch, and the weather was still brilliant!

I’ve just realized that this post has been going on and on, and there is still so much I need to cover! I guess the best thing is to give you guys a rest, while I go and compile the next post 🙂

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18 Comments

Filed under Travelogue, Venice

18 responses to “Day 3 Part 1 Day Trip to the Hill Towns Tour of Veneto

  1. Beautiful pics Smitha,this is the first time i came here.Loved the blog look,i too used the same theme for my photo blog,i love the background colour of the theme.

  2. Lovely lovely lovely account of your trip there, Smits! And such heartwarming pictures too! What beautiful creepers there! Italy,,sigh!

    Your travelogue reminds me that I have to finish the final part of my SL trip too..before the year ends, hopefully! 😀

    • The creepers were so gorgeous, Deeps! And the potted plants! I so wish I could replicate all that!

      I sat on this for so long, and still have to do one more post 😦 But I wanted to write it down, because I seem to have forgotten so much within months.. Hopefully one day, we will read it again, and remember the fun we had…

  3. Gorgeous pics Smitha!!!!
    And enjoyed the write-up 🙂

  4. i just stopped looking at the pictures.. waiting for my chance to travel.. :).

  5. Lovely pics!

    I love pictures of Venetian windows,and always wonder if I can ever replicate them at my house. 🙂

    Loved the miniature lemon tree too. How come it is so small, and can be maintained indoors? :O

    • i LOVED the decor there, TGND! I would love to be able to replicate it here! One day, hopefully.

      Apparently there are dwarf lemon trees, so I assume these are the dwarf variety. They do need sunlight, so I assume they do keep the plants outside as well. They do look gorgeous, don’t they?

      • Yup. I love lemon trees, and these look just so adorable! I would love to have one of them at home. Any idea if I can get them in India?

        PS: You SHOULD read A Thousand Days In Venice. You’re going to LOVE it to bits.

      • Me too, TGND. Let me hunt around and check. You know that nursery you mentioned- they might have it, you know!

  6. ha!! I had blogged about my Manali Shimla holiday exactly after a year 😀 so u r still in time 😉

    Lovely pictures, makes you wish to be there 🙂

  7. Lovely pics smitha.. and better late than never is the motto 🙂

  8. Pingback: Day 3 Part 2 Day Trip to the Hill Towns Tour of Veneto | Any Excuse to Travel

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