I love traveling. It is one of my favorite and yet dreadful things to do. I look favorably upon traveling, because you get to see something new, taste different things, and meet so many interesting people. However, traveling can be physically draining. This past weekend we had the privilege of traveling to Lignano, Italy. On the way back, however, it was a challenge trying to stay awake. The last couple hours weren't bad, because I think I hit my third wind... Anyways, I am digressing.
Like I said I love traveling, and something else I love is being able to share my different adventures with friends like you all. The destination was Lignano, Italy.
History of Lignano 101 - Lignano is a port city located about an hour away from the Austrian/Italian border. The city is situated on sandy dunes that are surrounded by pine forests. The city is fairly new - its foundation was in the 60's I believe - with hardly any buildings resembling the ancient edifices found in many other Italian cities.
But I think that the "newness" gave Lignano a little spunk. I felt like I was in a mini Miami with condominiums being so close to the beach. The beach itself was quite nice, with its shallow water that stretched out a good 300 meters from the sand. The sand was a pale yellow color, and the water was a little cold, but perfect after the sun came out. I give the beach in Lignano an A- (the water was a little greyish).
We left for Lignano at around 11:30am. I had a little bit of a cold and so I tried to sleep it off, but that was not going to stop Cay and I from our Italian holiday. We arrived in Lignano at around 5.45pm. The drive from Vienna to Lignano was gorgeous as we traversed through the mountains in Kärten.We arrived at the Hotel Bellvue to find that the hotel is actually a part of a whole section of hotels. There must have been a dozen hotels within the city block. It wasn't cluttered though; it was a chill atmosphere with a healthy mix of Italians, Austrians, and Germans. After an easy check-in service, we went straight to the beach where we met up with the Kalpakgians (our American friends). After a nice exhilirating (the water was cold since it was getting dark) swim, we headed back to the hotel for dinner.
Dinner was quite good. Nothing spectacular (my standards for Italy are high), but still very good. Our first course was composed of a salad bar, where I must have had two plates of these white beans. If you know the name, please let me know, they rock. The second course for me was a cream of mushroom soup that was almost perfect (it was a tad cold when they brought it to the table). Cay had the pasta in a simple tomato sauce. It was good, except that the penne was a smidgen too soft (Italians make the perfect al dente pasta). The main course was a white fish with vegetables cook with herbs. My fish was perfect, however Cay's was a little too salty. Cay says the cook must be in love. Dessert was a berry mousse. Simple, yet delicious. We ended dinner with a night out in Lignano.
We took bikes that Hotel Bellevue rented to us for a Euro an hour. Pretty good deal. We rode them to the city center where we did some window shopping. I bought this really cool bracelet at this antique store where they sell vintage nautical goods.
I must say, when you are in Italy, you must have gelato once a day. It is a must. My favorite is cafe and tiramisu. To die for.
We hit the sack a little late. This is due to our recent addiction: Heroes. We love this show. It is the stuff.
Day two involved us waking up late :-) and missing the sunrise. But it's ok, because having lunch at La Botte more than made up for it. La Botte may be one of the best Italian places I have been to yet. Fantastic food and generous portions! Not to mention, the price was more than reasonable.
After Mass at the town parish we did some more window shopping, as well as real shopping (Cay picked up some stuff for her mom and dad.) From there we headed to La Botte.
We heard about this place from Cay's mom and dad. Thank you Tita Nel and Tito Rene (I am coming back just to eat at this restaurant).
We sat down at around 12:30pm and it was like a ghost town. Nobody was there, and that usually worries me about a restaurant. A good rule of thumb is that you don't eat when nobody is there. This was definitely an exception to that rule. I don't want to get into all the details, because I think you all need to check this place out at some point in your life. It is a couple blocks away from the city center, and any person in Lignano can tell you where it is (it is that good).
We started out with melone con prosciutto. Delicious! Fresh cantaloupe melon with thinly sliced prosciutto. Lord thank you.
Our second course actually came out the same time as the third. I wanted to be adventurous and try one of their "spezial" pizzas. We ordered the "prinscipessa", which was composed of a normal pizza baked with brie, zucchini, and prosciutto. Wow! By far my favorite pizza and the best I have ever had. I can still taste the brie melting in my mouth.
The pasta dish we had to try was the Frutti di Mare. Whenever you are by the ocean, try the seafood! We were more than pleased. Mussels, scampi, and clams were plentiful in this classic Italian seafood staple. The cool thing was that as the restaurant got more and more packed, we saw that pretty much everyone in the restaurant was having the Frutti di Mare. Great minds think alike.
Perhaps on par with the awesomeness of the food was the price. Check out the receipt. Nuff said.
Oh Italia. You are beautiful. We spent a couple hours digesting and swimming at the beach, before we packed ourselves back into Cay's Audi. Lignano, you are not the most beautiful place we have been to in Italy, but you have charmed us with your amazing restaurant and we shall return someday.