Our favorite cafe in Borgo recently changed ownership. Nikola has taken a new job and now it is the Gecko Cafe. 0.80 Euro for an espresso – the best coffee I’ve had. It’s a really cute coffee shop and the new owners are very friendly.
Winter is beautiful in Tuscany. The light is more gentle all day than in the summer and the warmth seems closer when the distant mountains are covered in snow and the nights are cold. We had a lovely time there, if only for two nights, warming the house with the wood furnace and taking long walks down to town and up to Rocca.
We ate at I Macelli in Borgo a Mazzano the first night – I had the Minestra Di Cereali, then the Ravioli di Castagne and finally the Filetto Di Manzo, all excellent as always. The food at I Macelli is excellent, always. The second night we had dinner at The Butterfly, just outside of Lucca. Butterfly is a Michelin rated restaurant and perhaps the best restaurant I’ve ever been to. Everything there is amazing.
Carolyn and I both had the “of the land” tasting menu. Of I think about 8 courses, only the pasta with sardines was not to my taste, but I don’t normally like them anyway and even so it was good.
It is a source of constant amazement how affordable first rate restaurants are in Italy. The food there is much better than anything one can get in the US, probably because the supply tend to be local and everything is made fresh and from local ingredients, and possibly for the same reason the prices are surprisingly low, even with the painful exchange rate one eats better in Italy than one could in the US at 4-5 times the price.
And then there’s the bulk wine dispensed into your own bottle at less than 2 euro a liter…
We only spent about 5 hours in Venice, between the arrival at dawn of the train from Zagreb until our departure by train to Firenza, but it was a perfect day. It was my first time there and it is by far the most photogenic city I’ve ever seen. It takes all the challenge out of photography that no matter where you look, no matter what time of day, there is some gorgeous and ancient structure or vista in front of you.
Zagreb seems to particularly honor Nikola Tesla. He’s got a very nice street named after him in downtown Zagreb and an attractive plaque. Visit Sunny Croatia!