350 Kms from Bastia
(f) Rome, our last destination was in our head infamous because of the scammers and pick pocketers warnings that one reads about. However, Rome, pleasantly surprised us by proving all this wrong. We were told 'bus no. 62 to Vatican is an abode of pick pocketers. Keep your bags in front of you'. It was exactly in the same bus that we met an immigrant from Senegal who got us an early entry into Vatican through his tourist guide brother and didn't ask for a dime. All he said was 'Be safe, Sister'.
291 Kms from Bastia
My last destination within Italy was Venice, and I wanted do a brief pit stop somewhere before getting there. So bidding Florence goodbye, I headed for Bologna. Bologna is quite close to Florence and is well connected by train. It was Christmas eve and I didn't have elaborate plans, and Bologna seemed perfect.I lazily walked down the streets and walked into the cathedrals before reaching the foot of the Two Towers - Asinelli and Garisenda. It was quite surprising to learn that the Tower of Asinelli was the tallest leaning tower in Italy, much taller than the tower of Pisa (97 meters as compared to 56 meters).
234 Kms from Bastia
(b) When one talks of language barrier, Italy is the first point of reference and in Italy also, the Tuscany Region ranks number 1. Having said that, our maximum encounters with 'Humans of Europe' happened in Tuscany. One such was at a Farmer's market. My mother who is a local food enthusiast, on her own visited the Farmer's Market in Florence and returned with a bag full of local herbs, cheese and fruits. When we asked her how did you communicate with the Farmers (they only speak Italian and Spanish), she matter of fact replied 'With actions'. Also has learnt the recipe of local ravioli just through ACTIONS. The Italian farmers and my mother synced in so well that we had a dinner invite from a local farmer family and mother made made 'Dal Makhani' for them. The food at the dinner was what #foodgasm hashtag is for. The farmer's son who knew English, translated our conversation for them and their conversation for us. At the end, I felt as if I was sitting amongst my big, fat family from Punjab, giggling and laughing away to glory.
269 Kms from Bastia
Italy is just round the corner from French Riviera and therefore we decided to make the best use of our schengen visa. We took a train and headed to the Italian town of Ventimiglia. It's just a small train ride away. From eating oysters to digging in pasta- we did that in one day and we were pretty kicked about it. The moment you cross the border, you will notice a stark difference between the French and the Italian culture. Just within a few miles, you see a difference in food, textures, flavours, language, people. We entered a bustling market selling local fruits, vegetables and flowers. The prices are generally lower than what you will find across the French border. Do find time to devour some sinful local risotto, spaghetti and pasta and end your meal with a heavenly tiramisu.
272 Kms from Bastia
The Albinelli Market in the centre of Modena is a gathering place, bustling with great energy and even better products. From the best Italian cheeses to Manzini, gastronomy with condiments, anchovies and spices, as well as fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fi sh and cold cuts. It’s a cook’s paradise and a fantasy land of fl avours for people who love to eat. mercatoalbinelli.itPROVENCE | France