Padua, seat of learning

We left Ravenna this morning and got to Padova – to give it its Italian name – in two easy legs of train travel. In case you are interested, our first leg was in a second-class compartment to Bologna, but just see how nice second class is. We managed to take up a bunch of seats with our stuff, but we would of course have moved had anyone else wanted them. Naturally, I forgot to take a picture of our first-class trip to Padova, but we were trying very hard not to make noise in the quiet car, so I got distracted. But trust me – more space and real leather.

The University of Padova has rather good credentials, considering that Galileo lectured here, among other names we will drop later in this visit. Lots of bicycles and signs of student outrage – just what one would expect.

Our tour of this very ancient city starts tomorrow, but today we got settled in our very own apartment.

We are across from the Prato della Valle, an elliptical garden inside a square, lined by 78 statues portraying famous citizens, right next to the Dante Institute, and between two police stations, which makes us feel both safe and superior. Don is cleaning the strawberries we got from the market in front of our building. It was a huge one on the perimeter of the Prato – mostly filled with clothing, shoes and toiletry vendors, with very little variety. But we persevered till we found the fruit and veggie vans, so all is well.

Don’s Food Corner

Here’s an unexpected twist to our paranoia about restaurants being closed on the days when we show up:  After a long day of travel and settling into the apartment we’ll be in for the next few days, we were finally able to search for something to eat at about 3:30. Now we know this is a time of day when nearly all “quality” restaurants are closed.  So we settled down at a cafe that basically was a bar that also served food. All seemed to go well. We were given menus. The waitress allowed us time to look over the choices. Then, she very carefully wrote our order down on her pad.  She left and a few minutes later she returned to tell us that there was no food because they had closed the kitchen. I guess this place didn’t get the advance notice announcing we were coming in time to close down the entire restaurant before we sat down, so they closed up while we were there!

We left and stumbled down the street to another hole in the wall.  This time I had the presence of mind to ask in advance if they were serving food. They looked at me like I was crazy and basically said “Well, of course.” Jo ordered a pasta with four cheeses dish — which arrived almost within seconds. (I suspect that this sauce came out of a jar and that pasta sure wasn’t fresh or hand made.) I ordered a piadina — one of those sandwiches that uses a thin flat-bread to hold a variety of different fillings. While Jo sat there with her (gummy) pasta, I waited a good 10 minutes for the sandwich to arrive. Finally, I got up to ask about the problem.  An irritated waiter waved his hand toward a toaster oven to show that the flat-bread was still being toasted. Eventually the sandwich arrived, but well after Jo had finished. I shoved the sandwich down my throat and we left.  A new diet plan?

 

 

 

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