I neglected to finish the story in my last post about Venice, but my parents finished the last leg of their two-week vacation in Padova with me. I was happy about their choice to do this because Padova really is an authentic, Italian city, and by that I mean there aren’t any tourists, no one speaks English, and people aren’t out to scam you.
I met them for lunch on a Thursday afternoon, and they planned to spend Thursday and Friday nights in Padova. Unfortunately, I had classes on both of those days, but I directed my parents to key points to see in town, as well as some shops to keep them occupied. If I remember correctly, they saw the Basilica Sant’Antonio, the Basilia Santa Giustina, and the Prato della Valle. Then, after truly introducing them to the aperitivo tradition in the Piazza dei Signori, we had dinner at the restaurant where Boston University took us on our first day — Donna Irene. It’s a really beautiful restaurant tucked away in a quiet part of town with an artsy inside and a beautiful outdoor oasis for dining outside. Unfortunately, it was a bit chilly to have dinner outside, so we ate in. I remember enjoying my meal the first time I went, but I was so glad that I took them back! It truly is one of my favorite restaurants in Padova, and my parents really enjoyed their meals — at quite a reasonable price, I might add. I then spent the night with them in their hotel (relatively far from the center of town), since they had upgraded to a suite with a pull-out sofa.
The next day we took a trip to see the Botanical Garden which I hadn’t even seen yet. It was really beautiful, but maybe not as lush as some other gardens I’ve seen in the past. I think my mom really enjoyed it, especially the indoors-portion with the more exotic plants.
After having lunch, I had to leave them for classes. That night, I took my parents to Brek, which is a local place that is sort of like an Italian chipotle, where you can pick you pasta, sauce, extras, etc., and also it was like Wegmans, where you could purchase other things ala carte. It was fine, but instead of ordering our own, unique dishes, the chef decided to cook three plates worth of what my Dad ordered. Part of it was as a result of translation error, but part of it was the chef’s fault — he probably didn’t want cook for three people.
Later that night, we went back to the area near my parents’ hotel, because there was an Oktoberfest celebration at what was most likely the Padova Convention Center (La Fiera) that my Dad wanted to see. At first, it didn’t look like there was many people, but when we went into the convention center, we saw that it was packed with
college kids . . . and us. To my Dad’s satisfaction, he was able to get bratwurst, sauerkraut, and other german delicacies (and of course german beer!). It was actually kind of fun. It was interesting because the band was basically a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band, and of a town in which no one speaks any english, all of the kids knew the english lyrics. Strange . . .
Anyway, on their last day, I took my parents to the markets that are always held in the Prato della Valle. She didn’t buy much, but I think my Mom enjoyed going through the markets. There are a lot of things there that you might not find at your average Florentine market 🙂 To finish the day off, we had lunch at Donna Irene again (since we loved it for dinner), and I got to watch my parents try out the traditional caffe corretto (a shot of espresso with a shot of grappa) before heading back to the train station.
It truly was very nice to see my parents for as much as I did in Italy. Such as it is here in Padova, I enjoyed seeing familiar faces (and speaking a familiar language). I hoped they enjoyed the trip as much as I enjoyed watching them enjoy Italy.