Acqui Terme, Italy. October 11, 2008, 2:24 PM.
Acqui Terme, Italy. October 11, 2008, 2:24 PM.
Acqui Terme, Italy, October 11 2008, 2:16 PM.
It’s miserable out–grey, wet, icy and shitty–and I’m here listening to two plumbers rip out my toilet to fix a giant crack that’s leaking…something into the basement section underneath the pharmacy below us, and therefore we will be without a toilet until at least tomorrow. Add to that a sizable 1/5th of our bedroom celing that collapsed while we were away for the holidays due to the roof leaking (water was literally pouring into one corner of our bedroom the morning we left that is still not fixed, and you can see that I am far from being a happy camper.
So here’s a pretty picture taken on the Regione Valloria:
UPDATE: Right after I posted this, the plumber told us that we would be losing our shower as well. Fuck.
UPDATE #2: Yep, not allowed to run any water now.
UPDATE #3: We’re in a hotel room–and had to drive out in the less-than-stellar weather to do so–because our landlord insisted on us staying here. Please hope along with us that this is the only night we have to do this…blerg!
One of the last pieces of information my then-brand-spanking-new-mother-in-law relayed to me over the phone as I was scribbling down the directions to Baur B&B was “there will be a bottle of wine waiting for you two.” And when we arrived late that morning, that was an understatement.
We lugged our bags up to the room, and after some showers (I had to get out all of the gross hairspray and other products from my bridal hairdo, plus wash myself of plane), we ambled over to the kitchen where we had this waiting for us:
Focaccia, tomatoes and basil, figs, Genoan salami, goat cheese (I think), olives, carrots and proscuitto. And a bottle of Barbera d’Asti. In other words: heaven. (more…)
One of my favorite distractions during the wedding planning process was researching as much as I could on Acqui–unfortunately, there wasn’t much to be found. The city’s main website is written only in Italian, and even books written about the Piemonte region (two that I purchased) maybe devote a paragraph at most, and usually only to point out some of the best-known sights with nary a mention of some of the great places to eat and shop. It’s a damn shame, really.
That said, we did check out the tourist-y stuff, only because it was fairly difficult to ignore. And given that this was a small town and not, say, a giant tourist draw, we didn’t have to fight scores of people to get a good glimpse.
We’ll start with the obvious: the hot springs fountain in the Piazza del Bollente (the fountain is called Fotana della Bollente):
Another unexpected perk of staying at Baur B&B was the plentitude of herbs around the property. Diana has the most ENVIABLE herb bushes I’ve ever encountered, and it was more than tempting to go and pluck some sage leaves and a few sprigs of thyme (timo) from the gorgeous and lovingly tended herb gardens:
So many tales of sage brown butter sauce to come. That’s all I’m saying.
Expectation is a funny thing, especially when it concerns an upcoming vacation, and even moreso when it’s a honeymoon. Especially if it involves European travel in some capacity. The most common response I received from others when mentioning we were going to Italy for our honeymoon was “so, are you going to be traveling all over the country?” And when I would respond in the negative, they would give me a dubious look, almost a reflex, as if we would be wasting our time there if we didn’t try to pack in every last activity or place that we could.
I suppose this is part of the reason why going to an island somewhere is so common among newlyweds, as going to a beach precludes you from having to provide any rationalization as to why you chose it–it immediately conjures images of relaxation, privacy and sensuality. Mention anywhere in Europe, and the assumption, nay, expectation turns to behaving like a tourist, devouring everything humanly possible within a week or two. Everyone wants to tell you where to go–the guys down the street at the wine shop kept saying “go to Tuscany!”, colleagues suggest going to Florence or Venice or Rome, and family members may suggest meeting up with family members or friends that happen to live in the vicinity of where you’re staying.
So much for relaxation, privacy and sensuality.
Our vacation three years ago to Torremolinos proved to me that when it came to going European, taking it easy–our main activities were walking, eating, drinking along with a little shopping–was the way to go. So when I took the leap two years ago to make the reservation at Baur B&B for the honeymoon, I knew that we would be able to do the same. I wasn’t expecting something out of The Talented Mr. Ripley per se; rather, I wanted the mentality that the expat characters all embodied of living easy and living well. Most importantly, I wanted us both to be happily situated in Acqui Terme for the week, with the promise of a few day trips here and there if we really wanted to explore.
Fortunately, Acqui was large enough for us to explore over several days, yet small enough to not feel overwhelming. It’ll take a few posts to give you the full effect, but here is something of a beginning, and we’ll start with Wednesday afternoon when we ambled into town after spending a quiet morning at the inn chatting with some of Diana’s friends and enjoying our amazing view on the patio:
Fontana e Grand Hotel Themes
A fabulously stylish Italian woman (seriously, I want this whole outfit) and quelle sculture (these were all over the historic parts of town)
Obligatory closeup of the green farmacia cross.
Intersection of Corsa Roma and Via Garibaldi
UPDATE: It was noted that there were two shots missing from this post–notably, shots of the Mr. and I enjoying afternoon beverages in the piazza. I also had a slice of delicious thin pizza with my glass of vino rosso dalla casa:
One of the less-expected aspects of our trip was having a kitchen at our disposal to make dinner at night, which of course sounds completely counterintuitive to going on vacation. Growing up, going down the shore usually meant that we would eat out every night, something we never did while at home. But this vacation would be different. In fact, aside from Monday (already accounted for) and Thursday evening when we were able to take advantage of an amazing Piemonte tipica meal (more on that to come), we ended up in the B&B’s kitchen to sip wine and devise some pretty amazing, simple meals.
But it feels fitting that before I show you the meals we came up with that I first show you the gorgeous (heehee) space we had to work in:
1781–year the hearth was built. (more…)
Baur B&B is a unique place to spend a week, and for me, the little details of the property drew the camera out of my bag before I even took any pictures of the actual buildings. We had spent Tuesday morning in town buying food for dinner, and while there the sky was a cloudy–the only actual cloudy morning of the entire week. The sun eventually obliged us by mid-afternoon, and emboldened by the unexpected warmth, I grabbed my camera and started snapping away at all of the little sensual treasures that surrounded us:
Unripe persimmons. These will be ripe come December.