8 December - Google Lens FTW

We both slept a little better overnight, perhaps because the room wasn’t as warm as in Salzburg and Hallstatt.  We decided to spend the morning at a nearby castle, which was pretty much the only touristic spot that looked of interest to us when we searched the evening before.  So around 09:30 we headed over the castle, just 5-10 minutes northeast of us.  At the castle, it was fairly crowded - apparently others had figured out this was the main point of interest as well.  The interior of the castle had been turned into a museum, with each room having a different theme or purpose.  Some of the descriptions were in English, but much of it was in Italian only.

We meandered through the castle, slowly making our way up the various levels.  At the top we had a good view of mountains to the west and northwest.  It was a nice sunny day, albeit very cold, especially since the interior of the castle was in the shade.  We had lunch reservations at 12:00, so around 11:00 we were a bit more cognizant of having to spend only so much time at the castle.  After reaching the top of the castle, we took a different route down, and on the downwards path most of the rooms were more art-related than history-related, with different art periods and styles over the centuries.  In a room with a bunch of sculptures, there was a weird bust with a smiling person - Crystal was a little creeped out by it.

We left the castle around 11:45, and it was only 5 minutes or so to get to the restaurant, Tipico.   Justin spent the time prior to 12:00 learning how to say that we had a reservation.  Since Crystal knew far more German, and exponentially more Hungarian, she tasked Justin with handling stuff in Italy.  This was fair, but he didn’t know any Italian, however.  Fortunately, Italian is vaguely similar to Spanish, so that helped speed up the learning process a bit.  The main phrases he learned how to say were please, thank you, I’m sorry, we have a reservation, and I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian, do you speak English?  We hoped that, like in France last year, if we at least made an effort to start in Italian and go from there, we would be less likely to annoy the locals.

Today, just as he started to say we had a reservation, the host finished the sentence - maybe we were the only ones with a reservation?  The menus were in Italian, and they had no English menus, so we were using Google Lens to translate, and it wasn’t going so great.  We were all sort of flustered, and kept asking questions of each other, only for everyone to say they were equally clueless.  Eventually Dewey and Justin just ordered one dish that seemed to have a lot of stuff, like a mixed platter, Crystal ordered a frankfurter plus potatoes, fondue, and cabbage, and Dewey ordered some dish for Clarita that - once it arrived - looked vaguely like poutine, with rib meat, potatoes, and gravy in a bowl.  The food was very good, and entirely too much, so we quickly forgot about the problems we had with the menu.  They brought out the wrong water (fizzy instead of still) so they gave us one for free, and did the same thing with Justin’s second beer.

After lunch, we separated from Crystal’s parents, and made plans to reconnect closer to dinner.  We went to the southern Christmas market again (at Piazza de Fiera), and once again it was packed, this time in the middle of a weekday.  We were flummoxed as to why it was so busy.  The only thing we could surmise is that Trento is the only city in the region with markets, and thus the entirety of South Tyrol must descend on Trento in December.  If that’s not the case, we have no clue.  [We found out later that it was a holiday, so no one had work.]  There were lots of dogs everywhere in addition to all the people, many of them barking incessantly - Avon would be one of the better behaved dogs here.

After leaving the market we walked around the commercial streets, doing some window shopping.  Crystal went back to the room briefly and Justin took some photos in the Piazza Duomo area, where there were more barking dogs.  We did some more window shopping, then got some water at the grocery store, then went back to the room.  There wasn’t much to do in the town, we still had close to 20 days to go on the trip, and we were tired of being cold, so we just spent the second half of the afternoon in the room.  If you’re wondering, we actually did have a reason to come to Trento.  In researching Christmas Market locations in 2021, Justin saw Trento show up on multiple lists of top Christmas Markets in Europe.  Additionally, Trento is about the only place that’s “between” the Salzburg area and Venice that we would have had much interest in.  So we decided to spend 2 nights and 1 day there and kept our expectations low.

Justin took a nap, and Crystal did some language lessons, read, played games, did crossword puzzles, basically the same stuff she’d do on an off-day at home.  We could hear the market outside, but never got the urge to go back downstairs.  For being on a list of top Christmas Markets, it was a bit puzzling, a bit like Trier - very nice, but nowhere close to one of the best we’ve been too.  Then again, this is all subjective, and not many people (including us) have been to anywhere close to all of the Christmas Markets across the continent.  We’ve been to markets in a dozen now (Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Salzburg, Vienna, Trier, Cologne, Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, Paris, Budapest, Bratislava, and now Trento), but there are dozens more out there, especially in Germany, Poland, the Baltic states, Denmark, the Balkans, etc.

We looked up how far away our dinner spot (Il Cappello) was, and it was just 2 minutes, so we decided we didn’t need our full get-up of cold weather clothes to walk such a short distance, as we’d have to take them all off inside the restaurant.  We found Il Cappello fairly easily, but the door wasn’t open yet.  This wasn’t surprising since they didn’t open until 19:30, so we just waited a minute or two before they opened the door for us.  Whilst waiting outside we could hear a speaker announcing “last call” or something similar at the Christmas Market.  We aren’t sure why they close so early, especially since both nights we were here they were absolutely packed.

Inside Il Cappello we got seated right by the kitchen - the two of us could see into the kitchen and Dewey and Clarita could see the rest of the restaurant.  The menu was in only Italian again, but it was fairly limited, and Google Lens hooked us up again.  We just read the menu to the table, one item at a time.  Before we ordered they brought out an amuse bouche consisting of barley with pumpkin and diced sausage.  Crystal got a poached egg on polenta with black truffle for her starter, Justin got a tagliatelle with guinea fowl ragout, Dewey got the same as Justin, and Clarita got a lentil soup/cream with octopus.  Following that, Crystal and Justin split some sort of steak, Dewey got a venison steak, and Clarita kept enjoying her soup.  We shared two bottles of some local heavy red that was excellent (and relatively inexpensive), Teroldego Rotaliano.  Everything was excellent, but the amuse bouche might have been the best of everything, as it was like the world’s best risotto.  

We stayed two hours, then headed back to the hotel.  We exchanged with Dewey and Clarita humorous videos of speaking in Chinese, French, and Baltimorean.  The two of us discussed the subjunctive tense and its application in Hungarian and Spanish - neither of us ever learned this in school, perhaps because conjugations don’t really change in English.  Shortly before we were going to go to sleep we got a call from Hawai’i.  Apparently we have almost $4000 in an escrow refund from a mortgage transfer a few years ago that was about to go unclaimed, but since they got a hold of us they’re now going to send paperwork for us to claim it, so that was an unexpected nice end to the day.

Previous Entry
Next Entry