Third Adventure: Asiago Cheese Festival

28 Aug

You decide to go to the cheese festival in nearby Asiago with a group of friends.  You, Nicole, and the boys pile into the car and follow the caravan of American cars to the festival.  First you go the wrong way on the Autostrada (like the interstate), but it’s the one that goes through the cool tunnel under the hillside, so it’s worth the extra €.80.  Then you get properly righted and go on a nice drive along the highway and up through the winding switchbacks of mountain roads.  Asiago is nestled in the foothills (still pretty high up – 3000 feet) of the Alps.  You all admire the lovely architecture, similar to the Bavarian style, and the rolling hills of endless grass.  As you enter the area, a massive rolled hay couple greets your family, and not too much farther so does a giant cheese wheel.  Italians are really proud of their cheese.  And for good reason: the cheese is great!

You follow the stream of cars for a while, and then pull off to find a place to park for free.  The walk to the festival isn’t too bad, and you especially appreciate passing by a pizzeria where Kirby can use the restroom that he’s been dying for.  For the first time in weeks there’s a breeze, and this is the one day in many that Nicole chose to wear a dress.  She spends a great deal of time keeping her dress down while you push the stroller along.  You pass by a loud and happy wedding, a beautiful carousel, and many small tourist shops.  In the center of the town is a lovely old fountain, and nearby is an out-of-use well surrounded by about a dozen tents – the entire cheese festival.  You can’t be disappointed, but it could go without saying that you were definitely expecting something much larger.  The tents are housing honey, cheese, salami, sauces, and wine; all for sale and some for sampling too.  Over the course of an hour you purchase a kilo jar of honey, three different cheeses, a wedge of salami that you expected the seller to slice but he didn’t, and a bottle of wine.  Rather than eat a formal lunch, your family shares the meat and cheese, using the spoon from a sample of honey to pull chunks of meat out of the wedge.  Sure it’s unconventional, but it also works, right?  You enjoy a cheap glass of another kind of wine before heading to admire the most amusing part of the festival – a manmade river with a waterfall, a variety of cheese wheels atop log pedestals, and a fake deer plus a real stuffed…other animal.  It’s bizarre and fantastic, and the children adore it.

Once you’ve spent all your money on delicious food and the shopkeepers begin closing their businesses for the lunchtime break, you head back to the car.  You left the car right next to a little park, and the boys go crazy for the teeter-totter there.  Kirby bounces Frankie in the air every time he hits the ground, and Frankie shrieks with delight.  You play at the park for a half hour before heading back home.  The view of the valley below the mountains is incredible, but you are all tired from the good walking and all the tasty food, so the boys and Nicole fall asleep before reaching home (you don’t, thankfully, since you’re driving).  You are grateful for the opportunity to visit this fascinating little town in Italy – just an hour away from home and for only €5 (about $7) in tolls.   Next Sunday, on September 4th, is your 6th anniversary so you’ll get to go to Venice for their annual historic regatta, also just an hour away.  There is no parking within the interesting part of Venice, though, so you can either take the free airport shuttle and catch a city bus into town, or take a city bus to the train station and catch a train into town.  Continue reading if you choose to take the train, or go to Fourth Adventure: Anniversary in Venice if you decide to go with the cheaper option of taking the shuttle.

You are traveling with a group from the Army base’s Outdoor Recreation department, but even though they are taking the train both ways, you decide to leave earlier so you can see more of the city.  You still take the train – you just take it home only.  Now go to Fourth Adventure: Anniversary in Venice to read about your wonderful 6th anniversary!

One Response to “Third Adventure: Asiago Cheese Festival”

  1. Alexis Macdonald August 28, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    wow, how wonderful to be able to take advantage of all the special festivals and sights as well as great food, love Grandma Lexy

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