Italy - Poggioraso

Poggioraso to Bologna to Venice

Today is Monday and it is time to depart Poggioraso and drop the car off in Bologna and catch the train to Venice.

Well we woke early 6am, and cleaned up the house, and packed up the car and drove to Bologna. Just as we were leaving town the fog started to cover the mountains and the road.

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As we have driven a lot in Italy we have seen a lot of signs on the road with a photo of Deer. Well we actually saw a wild one today cross the road about 50 meters in front of us, just after leaving Poggioraso. Sorry no photos…

We arrive in plenty of time in Bologna and fill the car up with fuel ready to drop off at the Rental Car facility.

Some stats on driving:

Distance Travelled : 1,598 km
Total Driving Time : 36 hours and 15 minutes
Average Fuel Used : 7.7 Litres per 100 km
Average Speed : 44 kph
Total Fuel Used (approx) : 123 Litres @ 1 Euro + 5 cents
= 130 Euro 
= $325 NZD (approx)

We had completed dropping the car off at 9:20 and got them to phone a cab which they said would 5 minutes, but it only turned up about 25 minutes later. I assumed (wrongly) that the station was only about 1km from where we were but in fact it was a long way away. It cost 16.5 Euro to get to the train station.

We got there at about 2 minutes to 10 and we were planning to catch the 10am train.  We missed that and I was pissed off since I thought we would have had plenty of time.  We checked out the times for the next trains and there was one at 11:36am and another at 11:56. The 11:36am was a EuroStar fast train and the next a regional train.

We checked out the prices for the different trains:

Euro Star First Class 1 Hour + 40 minutes : 36.00 euro per person
  Second Class 1 Hour + 40 minutes : 25.00 euro per person
         
Regional Train First class 2 Hours : 13.35 euro per person
  Second Class 2 Hours : About 9 euro per person

We took the cheap option and waited 2 hours – We waited outside the train station and also in McDonalds which was clean and tidy but no Toilets that Pam could find.

I went across the street while Pam looked after the bags and had a espresso coffee 1 euro, and also a cappuccino 1.30 euro. The cappuccino was very nice but quite mild as far as the coffee portion went.

Remember: You must validate your train ticket or you can be fined! (we already validated it after we bought it). As soon as we got on the train and it departed the conductor came past to check out tickets. All OK

So we are in a regional train which is fine, it is comfortable and we could put our bags above our heads. I helped some American ladies who had very heavy bags to put them on the rack above the seats. I guess I will have to help them take them down when we get to Venice?

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In the regional train 1st class has a 2x1 configuration, whereas second class has a 2x2 configuration per row.

I am writing this as I am sitting on the train.. It is very cloudy outside so I guess Venice will be cool as well.

It is nice to not be driving……

Last day in Poggioraso

Today is Sunday and our last day in Poggiorao. I woke early as I do, and continued to read a book I started yesterday called “The Lake House” by “James Paterson”

It is quite cold today as it has started to drizzle rain and we plan on staying home all day and have a rest day. The rain basically stays all day….

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I finish that book at about 2pm, quite interesting about children with wings and a mad doctor – I have left in the apartment in case someone else wants to read it.

Just before Reberto and his family leave to go home to Bologna they invite us over to his house to have a coffee and say good bye.

We pay for our accommodation (50 Euro per day + 10 Euro for Towels & Sheets + 28 Euro for gas heating) – all up 186 Euro.

We start talking about New Zealand and other places in Italy. They invite us to biscuits that Louisa baked and gave us coffee. Some how we started talking about drinks and they opened the drinks cabinet and invited us to some drinks.

  • Blackberry Something (I never really got the full name, but the bottle had little blackberries at the bottom) – quite strong.
  • Brandy
  • Lemonchelo

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It was a nice way to say goodbye – they are a very nice family – thank you very much for your hospitality.

Once they all left we are here by our selves, we were told to lock up the doors as there are some bad people around who break in to the houses in the area.

We head back to our house and shut up the shutters and lock the front door. I make a simple dinner of salad leaves, prosciutto, beans and pasta with baked potatoes done in the fire. Pam hates it – oh well life goes on…

We have stoked the fire and are warm and well. We leave here early in the morning as we need to drop the car off in Bologna by 10am. We then need to get a train to Venice.

So we are planning to clean up, shut up the house, turn off the gas and power and leave about 7:30 for the trip to Bologna. There is a train at about 10am to Venice so if we get into town around 9am and get rid of the car and get to the train station we hopefully will get to the 10am train.

Poggioraso to the snow and back (well almost)

Today after Pam and I checked out Sestola I went for a drive to find snow – well I never found snow – I did however find a waterfall and that had to be it for me.

I drove for about 30-40 minutes on some very small roads which ended up being one lane and then gravel. The rental car is very low at the front and I was not too keen to drive on the gravel. Near the start of the gravel was a nice waterfall so I decided that was the end of the trip and took some snaps.

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After getting back from the snow I meet Luisa who is Roberto’s wife and their two daughters. We chatted for a long time about lots of things and had a coffee with them. They are very nice and friendly people and it was a real joy to talk to someone for a change as normally you are just the tourist who is buying something. Louisa's English was very good, far better than my Italian.

Sestola

Sestola is very close to where we are staying and is only 2.5 km from Pogioraso. It has quite a few shops and is skiing oriented and would be very busy in the winter season. It was also very popular with motor cycle riders yesterday with a lot of people probably doing day trips to the mountain villages. Most of these bikes are huge, 1200cc BMW, Triumph, Harley Davidson etc..

There is a castle at the top of the hill above town as can be seen in a lot of these photos. There is a lot of restaurants and bars in town as well.

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Poggioraso – waking up early

I woke early on Saturday morning in Poggioraso and checked out the fire – some small embers still red so I got the fire going again not that it was needed but just because I could.

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Modena to Poggioraso

We left the Modena area at about 10am and travelled into Modena itself (we had been staying in Manerello – 19km from Modena)

We got into Modena at approx 11am and found a car park on a street with no parking lines – we saw no signs about no parking so we assumed it was ok. Then when I left the car I saw a set of letters ZTL and wondered what they meant. I took a look at some cars and they all had signed with ZTL on them. We got back into our car and went to a car park building – lucky else we may have returned to a towed away vehicle!

UPDATE : August 7, 2009

Well I found out today what ZTL means - It means ZONE TRAFFIC LIMITED

What does that mean?

Well it means in my case:

  • 74 EURO Fine for the City Of Modena
  • 17 EURO Admin Fee from the Police
  • 48 EURO Admin Fee By EuropCar (the car rental agency)

==============

141 EURO or just over $300 NZD for driving down a street where I never saw anything that said you could not drive down there.

Welcome to the City Of Modena.

This bill turned up on the 7th of August 2009 over 3 months after the time Pam and I drove there and out of the blue.

We were directed by the TOMTOM to drive down this street so there is another limitation with TOMTOMs.

Well I guess I won’t be visiting this city again in a hurry – and even worse I have no idea how to pay the fine!

EUROPCAR knows how to hit me for 48 EURO (charged their fee directly to my credit card) but left me with no information on how to pay the fine to the City Of Modena.

We found a car park building not too far away – 1 EURO 50 cents for the first hour and 50 cents per 1/2 hour after that. We then found ourselves a coffee, which now seems to cost 1 EURO where in Milan it was 80 cents and generally everywhere else 90 cents. Also Gelato is more expensive here than even the Cinque Terre where it was 1 EUR0 50 cents and in Modena 2 EURO (maybe they are slightly bigger)

We walked down a nice cobbled street – I did not see any tourists with a camera around their neck (unlike me). We found a church with Pam thought was the Doumo but I did not. We took a couple of snaps and then wondered around and Pam found a sign talking about the Doumo so yes it was it.

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There was a large restoration process going on in the bell tower which means that you could not see the bell tower at all it was covered in a fabric probably to stop dust going over everything.

We went in side and took a couple of photos and then a Mass started which was unexpected. It was in Latin and we stayed for a couple of minutes and then left.

We wondered along some shops and Pam checked out some bags, but did not buy anything. It was no getting on for 12:40 and we had arranged to meet the owner of the house in Poggioraso at 3pm. The house is only 65 km from Modena but it takes 1.5 hours to get there.

We stop to buy some Focaccia in the same shop we had the coffee and left Modena. The drive was very easy and pleasant, the Focaccia was not as nice as we had had in Vernazza.

We stopped along the way at a village since it looked nice and I took some photos.

 

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We arrived at the Supermarket in Poggioraso at about 2:45 and waited for 20 minutes for the owner Roberto to show up. Even though we were at 900 meters you would not know as the area was quite lovely with rolling hills around you.

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We followed Roberto to his house, Pam was worried when we went down another small windey road but I was now use to the roads. When we got to the house Roberto’s parents were there cleaning it. They live next door and do not speak English – they are very nice and helpful.

The house was cold as the heating had only been just turned on – I saw a big fireplace and decided that we would have a lovely cosy fire (as well as the GAS heating).

Pam and I left to buy some food from the supermarket and drove through Sestola which is about 100 meters higher up the hills. We drove around to see if there was a supermarket there but did not find one – we then drove out of town – took a wrong turn and went down a very very steep road (width of the car) – the Alfa Romeo is very low to the ground and I thought I would scrape the bottom but we took it very slow and it was ok.

We went to the supermarket which looked closed since the doors were shut and the lights were turned off but it was open and we went in. The vegetables looked pretty sad so we bought some Pasta, Tomato Sauce, Anchovies, drinks (a couple of wines) and a tin of beans. Dinner was sorted.

We drove back to the house which was warming up and I went and got some wood for the fire. I have not had an open fire for years probably 15 years…..

Roberto showed me where the wood was and we got the fire going and I cooked dinner. We had 3 sausages so I skinned them and cooked the meat with Onion, Garlic and Anchovies, adding Tomato Sauce (Pasta Sauce) and a bit of olive oil. Near the end of the cooking I threw in 1/2 a tin of beans and we had a meal. A few gratings of Parmigiano Reggiano (24 month old) and we were sorted with a glass of wine.

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We had a pretty relaxed night in front of the fire…

Poggioraso in Sestola

We are leaving Marenello near Modena today and driving to a small town called Poggioraso.

The village of Poggioraso belongs to the municipality of Sestola, in the province of Modena, region Emilia-Romagna.

I guess we will no longer have internet access when we travel there and may not have internet access again until I get back to New Zealand in 10 days. I still have my phone so I can receive emails through that.

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