Dr. Hoffer's Travel WebSite This site was last updated 02/15/15
POLAND13 #5 Monteriggione to Udine to Wien
September 7-8, 2013
Saturday, September 7, 2013
I woke at 4:20, 5:30, 7:50, 9:00 AM and then by Marcia at 11:00 AM. I wanted to take a swim in their pool before we left. I stopped first in the breakfast area and made myself another ham and cheese sandwich for the road. Then I wended my way through the woods (below right) to find it. On the left is looking back at the Borgo.
I arrived at the pool area (below; GoPro left, Canon right) and there were several people out there using it and basking in the sun. I put my stuff down on one of the tables and jumped in for a swim. It was certainly refreshing and woke me up.
I dried off and relaxed a little and then went back to the Borgo, showered and packed. I went down to the lower lot and brought the car up to our room's back door and loaded the car.
At dinner last night, I had told Ale about our cash problem and he wanted to lend me some cash which I could pay back when I see him in Amsterdam in September. So at 1:00 PM his manager, Alessandro Izzo, gave me €500 in cash. I had a long chat with him about how he runs this place and his past history - a very interesting fellow. I got back to the room and gave Marcia €800 in cash so we could divide it up a little. Then Debra made me another cappuccino at 1:20 PM and when I left I gave her a nice tip for taking such good care of me these last two days.
At 2:40 PM, I finished loading Marcia's stuff and then I drove out and wended our way through the woods back to the Autostrada and drove the 139 miles (224 Km) to Rovigo which took 2 hours and 35 minutes. At 4:35 PM we made a pitstop at the Rovigo Autogrill (below left) and Marcia had her lunch of a panini and a Coka-lite.
We took off at 5:00 PM with Marcia driving the remaining 124 miles (199 Km.) I then ate the ham and cheese sandwich (above right) I had made earlier at the Borgo. As you may recall, I "never eat lunch" but these darn beautiful sandwich's I make at the free breakfasts are just too tempting. This one was with prosciutto and provolone. It was very good.
We are driving to the northeastern city of Udine which took another 2 hours and 50 minutes. We had stopped in Udine in 1997 (on our way to Budapest) but only for an hour, so I thought it would be nice to actually stop and take a look at it this time. It made a good half-way point on the way to Vienna. That is again why this Poland trip has another big piece about Italy. At 6:40 PM we paid the Autostrada toll of a whopping €27.50 ($37) and then arrived in downtown Udine at 6:50 PM (total drive 5½ hours.) We have now gone from Toscana through Emilia Romagna to the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region (below left.) You can see how close we are to Slovenia (center.)
The Alps look like they are near but they are as far away as the Aegean Sea is from here. Below left shows the layout of the center of Udine and above right and below right shows our hotel (red square) that we had to get to by GPS.
At 7:00 PM, we checked into the Ambassador Palace Hotel [Via Giosuè Carducci 46, +39-043-250-3777] which I got from Booking.com for €89/night. Isabel was very nice checking us in and gave us room #301. The hotel is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by both TripAdvisor and Booking.com. As you can see (above right,) we are right across the street from a pretty triangular park. It's a very nice looking hotel and the park is nicely kept up.
We parked right in front on the street and left the car there until we left.
When you come in the door you have to climb these stairs to get to the reception desk.
As you can see, the room was large and very nice.
Since it was getting late, I quickly unloaded, changed into my running gear and at 7:25 PM I started my run heading to the nearby Duomo to see what times the Masses were for tomorrow. As I ran, I came across this Irish Pub called the The Black Stuff (below left) [Via Gorghi 3, +39-3-471-156-7600.] It is named for the dark beer, Guinness ("the black stuff") (right.) It is only open from 6PM-2AM. I ran down this street (below right) and discovered a restaurant on the corner (on the left side) with an outside patio that might be worth eating at later.
As the sun was setting, I had barely enough light to get some shots of the main historic buildings. Below is the main Piazza della Libertà, the 16th Century Loggia di San Giovanni (below left) and the Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower) above it. The fountain here is by Giovanni Carrara, an architect from Bergamo (1542.) Below right is a stock photo of the statue of Hercules. You can see the Venetian lion atop the column on the right (below left.)
Directly across from it is the Loggia del Lionello or City Hall (1448–1457, Venetian-Gothic style) (PhotoStitch of GoPro shots.)
Here (below left) is my Canon shot and a stock photo of it at night (below right.) It's quite pretty.
As can be seen, it is starting to get too dark for photos.
I found two possible ristoranti that might be good for dinner. I then wended my way back to the room arriving at 8:20 PM. I never found the two restaurants the guy at the hotel recommended. I changed and then Marcia and I walked to one of the places I had found to eat. At 8:45 PM we walked the couple of blocks and went into the Odeon Pizzeria Ristorante [Via Gorghi 1, +39-04-322-6258.] It's across from the corner of Via Vittorio Veneto and Via Piave.
Here is Marcia posing in front before we went in.
We were warmly welcomed and seated in the outside patio in this beautiful evening air and we ordered a local Friuli bottle of Venica Pinot Grigio and a half bottle of Pellegrino. And, because this is a pizzeria, we decided to start off by sharing a pizza Margherita, which was pretty good.
For dinner, Marcia had penne Bolognese (below left,) and I had Bucatini all'Amatriciana. We are in Italy; let's stick with good pasta while we are here.
After dinner, Marcia had a limone sorbetto while I enjoyed my favorite Italian dessert, sliced annanas.
Our waiter was named Àriol (Albabia) (below left) and he was very good to us. We rated the meal as Good and it only cost €48. We left there at 10:30 PM and ambled back to the hotel and decided to stop in their bar for an after dinner drink.
At 10:45 PM Marcia had a glass of local wine and I had a Heineken. Our bartender Filipo (above right) was good spirited. While we were there, five German ladies came in and they were having a heck of time laughing and joking around with us. We think they had been partying. Filipo got us a limoncello and then at 11:30 PM we went upstairs to bed. Tomorrow I have to explore this city I have never really seen.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
I woke from a dream at 3:25 AM, then again at 5:55 AM. At 9:30 AM, Marcia woke me so I could go to Mass and check out on time. I got dressed in my rain running gear as I usually do on Sundays so I am covered for attending Mass. I went down to the breakfast area to see what it looked like and check on Marcia (below right.)
She was doing quite well with her egg, ham, tomatoes and prunes.
I, on the other hand, was at the setups with the huge layout of food, preparing my ham and cheese croissant for later and enjoying a cappuccino to wake up.
I took my croissant to the room and then wended my way to the Duomo Santa Maria Maggiore (below) for 10:30 Mass. It is the main cathedral of Udine (stock photo right.)
The Duomo of Udine is an imposing building whose construction started in 1236, on a Latin cross-shaped plan with three naves and chapels along the sides. Below is a Bing Maps aerial view of the church.
Below right is the altar and ceiling with the priest saying Mass.
Here is the GoPro view toward the altar (below left) and right in front of it showing the organs on each side (below right.)
The church was consecrated in 1335 as Santa Maria Maggiore. At the beginning of the 18th Century they began a radical transformation project which involved the exterior and interior that was paid for by the Manin family.
Here is the view back to the entrance and a close-up of one of the beautiful side organs.
The Baroque interior contains many works of art by Giacomo Battista Tiepolo (1696–1770) (Video of Tiepolo,) Pomponio Amalteo, and the French painter, Ludovico Dorigny (1654–1742.) Below left is an ornate tomb. The ceiling is particularly beautiful (below right.)
Here are two tombs (below left, center) and the beautifully ornate marble pulpit.
On the ground floor of the bell tower (built from 1441 over the ancient baptistry) is a chapel which is completely adorned with frescoes by Vitale da Bologna (1309-1369) in 1349. He died here in Udine. These are views to the left side aisle; Canon (below left,) GoPro (below right.)
After Mass, at 11:40 I took my rain gear off and wrapped it around my waist because it was too hot to run with them on. I started my run down the streets away from the Duomo. Many Italian cities have these very nice bronzed plaque maps of the central city (if you can read a little Italian.) They have their own local Italian dialect here called Friulan (e.g. Comun di Udin.)
While I'm running, a little more about the city of Udine (flag right.) Udine (Official Site) has a population of 100,000 people and sits 25 miles (40 Km) from the border of Slovenia. The city is 22 mi2 (56 km2) in area. In 983 AD Udine was mentioned for the first time, with the donation of the Utinum castle by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto II (967–983) (left) to the Patriarchs of Aquileia, then the main feudal lords of the region. In 1223, with the foundation of their market, the city finally became the most important one in the area for economy and trade, and also became the Patriarch's seat. In 1420, it was conquered by the Republic of Venice (see extent of the Republic in the map below right.) In 1511, it was the center of a short civil war, which was followed by an earthquake and a plague. Not a great time. Udine remained under Venetian control until 1797, being the second largest city in the state. After the short French domination which occurred in 1815, it was part of the Austrian puppet-state, the Lombardy-Venetia Kingdom (flag right, map below) and was later included in the newly formed Kingdom of Italy in 1866 which Giuseppe Garibaldi had put together, later becoming modern day Italy.
Below left is a map of the breakdown of the parts of Italy in the year 1000 AD. On the right is a German map of the maximum extent of the vast holdings of the Republic of Venice (Venedig.)
As I ran from the Duomo (26, red numbers on map below,) I wound down to Piazza XX Septembre (22) on to this rather quiet street called Via Grazzano all the way to the end to Piazzale Cella and ...
... then turned around and came back the same street and headed toward the church at the end (near 41) called San Giorgio Maggiore (St. George the Great.)
Below left is a Bing aerial of the church.
As I was running on Via Grazzano, I caught this shot of a model ship in a window (below left,) a manhole cover [Fognatura = Drainage] and a metal city sign.
Then I came in front of the Palazzo Giacomelli housing the Friuli Ethnographic Museum.
Remember the First Floor is our Second Floor, their Ground Floor is Floor Zero.
Then I made it to Piazza Garibaldi (statue in front) and ran by this large building which is the CISM, the International Center for Mechanical Sciences.
In front of it, like every other Italian city, is the monument to Italy's father, Giuseppe Garibaldi (right) (1807-82,) with the heroic soldier fighting for the unification of Italy (Il Risorgimento.) Click on his name to read the very interesting story of his life and the wars he fought, not only to unify Italy, but in Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico.
The inscription reads "To Giuseppe Garibaldi who joined the great value of ancient times with the new humanity in 1886, the people of Friuli erected this monument."
Then I ran by Palazzo del Torso, the property of D.A. Antonini in 1577.
Here are examples of a stores: Amaro di Udine [Via Mazzini 25] a wine shop selling the Amaro di Udine wine (center) and a Japanese (Giapponese) restaurant called Osaka [Piazza XX Settembre, +39-043-250-8888.]
Some of the architecture was very nice.
Here (below) is the Palazzo D'Aronco (GoPro left, Canon right) built by the great architect Raimondo Tommaso D'Aronco (1857-1932.)
Below was an interesting building with the little balustrade on the "second" floor. I made it up Via Cavour (38) back to Piazza Libertà and down this little street, Via Savorgnana.
Some of the streets I passed through.
At 12:15 PM I was finished running and went around this corner (below) and ...
... here I was in this large Piazza Giacomo Matteotti so I decided to stop and have a cappuccino at Voila' [Piazza Matteotti 18, +39-043-250-0880.] Matteotti (1885-1924) was a socialist who politically railed against Mussolini and the Fascists and was killed. The Voila' is just to the right of Ristorante il Matteotti (below left.) It was relaxing watching all the people going by. Was this the place I remembered from 1997?; I can't be sure. I filled in the route of my run on the map the hotel had given me. Also, I needed some mustard (Italian: senepe, German: senf) for the sandwich I made earlier and they were nice to give me some at the restaurant next door.
Photo of Matteotti below left. I had entered Piazza Matteotti at position #1 (below, white numbers on Bing aerial) and then took panorama shots from each corner using the Canon shots PhotoStitched. I then worked my way around; 2, 3, 4.
Here is corner #1.
Here is corner #2.
Here is corner #3.
And here is corner #4.
Using the GoPro, here are the north corners #2 (below left) and #3 (below right.)
And here are the south corners #1 (below left) and #4 (below right.)
Here are two stock photos of the piazza.
I then went to take a look inside the church in the piazza (below left) which is called Chiesa di San Giacomo (James,) built in the 16th Century. There is a large stone column monument in front of it (below right.) To hear the church bells and see the piazza, click above right.
It was Sunday so there was a Mass going on. So I got a quick shot with the GoPro (left) and the Canon (right.)
There was a side chapel where Mass was going on also.
In the center of the piazza is the fountain (below left) and there is also one in the little alcove next to the church (below right) on Via Paolo Canciani, named after an 18th Century historian.
I left the piazza on the way back to the hotel but I wanted to see more of the city and try to see the castle.
So I went from Piazza Libertà (Bing aerial below left) and the Loggia (above) down Via Mercatovecchio (Old Market) which comes out of the piazza (stock photo, below right.) Above you can see the statue of Hercules on the left and Cacus on the right.
Mercatovecchio is their busy market street but, since today is Sunday, there are not many people walking around. It was very busy here when I came by last night. There are many stores along the street but they are all closed.
Here is the Bing aerial of Via Mercatovecchio ending at Piazza Marconi at the top.
At the end of the street (see above) I made a right turn in Piazza Marconi. The street dead-ended at this beautiful building which is the Biblioteca Communale, the Public Library (below left.) I then went down this tiny little street (below right) called Via Porta Nuova. This is the street where the guy at the hotel had told me I would find the Ristorante Concordia but I never found it. He had recommended it as a very good place to eat. I had given up and turned around.
Not finding it, I wound my way around the castle hill and then all of a sudden I find this big building labeled "ConcordiA." [Piazza I Maggio 21, +39-04-325-0581.]
I took a peek inside and here was the restaurant we were supposed to go to. This is a PhotoStitch of the patio from Canon shots. It sure looked nice. Oh, well.
The history of the Restaurant Pizzeria Concordia began in the 16th Century when it was a local tavern with an adjoining barn. Here traders and farmers came to drink wine and have something to eat. Today, the four air-conditioned rooms are directed by the brothers Acampora, who decided to keep the old tradition of hospitality typical of the hostelries of the past. The selection of food is based on local Friulian cuisine enhanced by a hint of Naples, where they originated; a meeting of Friuli and Campania. Below are some of the photos from their website.
They spelled out the name using old lire coins.
I continued past the restaurant to this big street and then continued going around the hill. [Acquedotto = Aqueduct.] At this point (below) I have gone all the way around the castle but have never really seen it, so here is a Bing aerial of the hill. Looks like they use it for concerts.
Here is a stock photo panorama from the building above looking out over the city.
The Google maps aerial (below) is not quite as nice but shows where I was standing (blue bus stop) when I took the photos below.
I continued on this big street to Piazza Vaggio with a huge park across the way.
This is a stock photo of Udine Castle with ramparts (below left) and my shot looking up the hill.
Then a little farther down I come to this big gate portal to the city called La Porta Manin named after the family that paid for the refurbishing of the Duomo. The photo left is an untouched Canon vertical shot. The one on the right are horizontal shots PhotoStitched. Which is better?
Everywhere in the city they have these very nice descriptive signs that have a section in English which I have blown up. It is too bad they don't stay on top of the graffiti. This one describes the Porta I just went through.
This one describes the Palazzi De Via Manin or the palaces on Via Manin street which leads out from the Porta.
It describes the Palazzo Mantica (below) built in the 16th Century.
Then across the street is the ornately gilded Foundation Savings Bank of Udine and Pordenone (local town.)
Then again on the right side was this nice 1907 building filled with stores like the Sweet Lounge of Udine selling gelato. The cornice at the top was quite detailed.
I turned back and took a shot of the Porta Manin (below left) and then the street ahead (below right.) At the end of this street I had come full circle and was ...
... back at Piazza Libertà where I started.
In the Sunday daylight, I finally got a good shot of the large fountain in front of the Loggia by Giovanni Carrara, an architect from Bergamo (1542.)
I also got better shots of the City Hall (below left,) the Cacus statue (center) and the Venetian lion.
Here are the signs describing the Piazza and ...
... the City Hall building. It's a shame they don't ask a native English speaker to clean up the grammar before printing up these expensive metal signs.
The building next to the Loggia (below left) looks pretty official. The yellow sign in front says: "Loggia di Lionello (sec XV,) Porticato di S. Giovanni (sec XVI,) Torre dell'Orologio (1527), Fontana di Giovanni Carrara (1542,) Colonna 1490 con leone di San Marco 1883, Colonna 1612 con statua Della Giustizia di G. Partiari (1614,) Statue di Ercole e Caco (Florian e Venturin) (sec XVII,) Statua della Pace di Campoformido di G.B. Camotti e V. Presani (1815,) Arco Belloni di A. Palladio (1556.)"
This translates to: Loggia of Lionello (15th Century,) Porch of St. John (16th Century,) Clock Tower (1527,) Fountain by Giovanni Carrara (1542,) 1490 Column with lion of St. Mark (1883,) 1612 Column with the statue of Justice by G. Partiari (1614,) Statue of Hercules and Cacus (Florian and Venturin) (17th Century,) Statue of the Peace of Campoformido by G.B. Camotti and V. Presani (1815,) Arch of Belloni by A. Palladio (1556.)" The sculpture on the building was worth blowing up (below center.)
I am at the corner of Piazza Libertà and Piazza Belloni (above right) and now have to head back to the hotel. I went down this street (below left) and passed by a church (below right) on the way.
I then went down Via Dei Calzolai looking for the other restaurant the hotel recommended. I found it and it's called Hostaria Alla Tavernetta [Via Artico di Prampero 2, +39-043-250-1066] and is Michelin listed since 2009. It was closed but looked like it might have been very good. It is run by Roberto Romano and his wife Giuliana Petris (below right,) with their chef Antonio Mereu.
Here are some photos from their website.
This is how small this street was heading back to the hotel. I also passed the Odeon patio where we ate last night.
Just before going in to the hotel (below, left,) I took some photos (below) of the next door park called Giardino Giovanni Pascoli (above,) named after a famous Italian poet and classical scholar (1855-1912.)
The park is nicely kept up. The caricature bust of Pascoli (below right) is not that complimentary in my opinion.
I have now seen all of Udine that I can. I went upstairs to the room, packed up and at 1:45 PM we checked out of the hotel. We headed out at 2:15 PM and I drove the first 152 miles (244 Km) heading to the capitol, Wien (Vienna) which took two hours. At 3:05 PM we paid the Autostrada toll (below center) of €6.90 and crossed the Austrian border into the Alps on the way to Villach and Klagenfurt (below.)
We then left Austrian Styria and entered Carinthia. At 4:15 PM we made a pitstop for gas at an AGIP station near Preitenegg, Austria (below left.) This time it came to $7.77/gal to fill the tank.
Directly across the parking lot was this cute little motor hotel and shop called the Oldtimer [Oldtimerweg 1, A-9451, Preitenegg.] They have three others spread out in Austria. We went in the AGIP and to use the toilet we had to pay €0.50 each (below right.) But, they give you credit back if you buy something and show the receipt slip.
So I bought two cans of my favorite beer, Zipfer. At 4:30 PM, Marcia got her lunch of another panini and Coka-lite at the AGIP (below.)
I ran over to the Oldtimer to see what it was. It is a neat place with a shop (below) and they have lots of kitsch for sale.
At 4:45 PM Marcia drove the remaining 153 miles (245 Km) to Vienna which took 2 hours and 20 minutes. At 4:50 PM I ate the ham and cheese croissant from the Udine hotel with the mustard I had gotten. It was really good.
They spend a lot building these high walls along the Autobahn to keep the noise down for the neighboring homes. I finally got a shot of my favorite German road sign: "Gute Fahrt!" = "Good Trip!"
At 7:10 PM we arrived in downtown Wien and found the hotel we stayed at last time we were here. There was no space open where we parked for free last time, so at 7:15 PM we paid the parking meter €1 for one hour.
At 7:20 PM, we checked into the Mercure Wien Zentrum [Fleischmarkt 1a, +43-1-534-600.] [Fleisch = meat, markt = market.] I asked about Michael, who took such good care of us last time and found out he is no longer there. Katherina checked us in and gave us room #107 and put me down as an Accor Favorite Guest (which I no longer am.) This place has 4/5 stars by both TripAdvisor and Booking.com. As you can see on the maps we are not far from the Danube or the Domkirche St. Stephen.
Here is the front of the hotel by Canon (left) and GoPro (right.) Note the difference in colors.
Below left is their main lobby and on the right is their breakfast cafe area.
We got up to our room and unpacked. After all that driving, I could finally have one of the Zipfer's I had bought. It was Zipfer Märzen and was very refreshing.
Our room was not large but was very nicely appointed as is usual in a nice Mercure hotel.
At 8:50 PM we went walking from our hotel (red in map below left) and went around looking for a place that served Zipfer beer but couldn't find one. I did find the place where I had one last time and found that Bane's Bar [Köllnerhofgaße 3, +43-664-134-1123] (stock photo center) was closed on Sundays. See the Zipfer on the gaslamps?
So we settled for this very lively little place not far from the hotel called Weinorgel [Bäckerstraße 2, +43-1-513-1227] (below left.) There were a lot of people squeezed in here and loud music playing. Everyone seemed to be having fun. After a while, we lucked out (as usual) and got a seat at the bar (Marcia below.)
We ordered from the chalk board lists.
Our pretty barmaid was a little shy. Her shirt says, "Good wine and young men are the great race for women." The peanuts were pretty good and went well with the beer.
I had to settle for a Gold Fassl beer and Marcia had her favorite wine, Grüner Veltliner. Here is a photo of the place I took during the day.
We left there and came across this sign (below left.) It is funny how the German word for jewelry (Schmuck) became the Yiddish word which you know. We continued down Fleischmarkt (map below) ...
... to find the place we had dinner on our last visit here in 2011. We found the Griechenbeisl [Griechengasse 9, Am Fleischmarkt 11, +43-1-533-1977] and at 9:20 PM we were taken to a table out in the front patio for dinner. This place is massive inside and we could have sat in any of the nine inside rooms they have (photos from their website below.) On the right they show what it looked like over the years. Compare the snippet in the upper right with my photo above right.
They also have a very nice wine cellar room. The most interesting, however is their Mark Twain Room (below right) where the walls are covered with the signatures of famous people from history who have eaten here. Of course one of them is Mark Twain.
We looked over their really extensive menu. It is neatly done with the translations immediately below each item in English, French, Italian and Spanish.
I had a half liter of Stiegl beer and later, a König Ludwig Weißbier while Marcia had a Grüner Veltliner Weinviertel.
It was very relaxing after all that driving today. We are sitting in the patio (above left.) I started with Alt Wiener Erdäpfelsuppe (Old Viennese cream of potato soup) (below left,) followed by an entree of Griechenbeisl's Rindsgulasch mit serviettenknödel (beef goulash with dumpling slices) (below right.) I forgot to tell them that I don't like knödels.
Marcia had Kürbiscremesuppe mit Pastinaken chips (cream of pumpkin with parsnip chips) (below left,) and then Rosa Kalbsfilet mit Mais-Erbsen-Beluga Linsen mit Portwein Schalotten und Schmorr Kürbis (Pink-roasted filet of veal with corn, green peas and beluga lentils with port wine shallots and braised pumpkin.)
For dessert, Marcia had Hausegemachte (house made) crème caramel (below left) and I had Hausegemachter Apfelstrudel (below right.)
Our waiter was Christian (below) who remembered us and our names from our dinner here in 2011; amazing. He brought Marcia a glass of Port and a grappa for me (below right.) We rated our dinner here as Excellent and the goulash was really fantastic.
After this wonderful dinner, we walked several blocks around our neighborhood and at 11:45 PM I just had to have a soft vanilla ice cream at the McDonald's nearby [Rotenturmstraße 29] (below left.) It only cost €0.89 ($1.17.)
We got back to the room at 12:15 AM and I got on the computer and booked a room for our friends Brian and Alex for their arrival to meet us in Kaunas, Lithuania next week. I also changed some Diario text and wrote to Legal Seafood in Boston on behalf of the IIIC for their 2014 meeting next April. I had agreed to help them set up their dinner in Boston. I finally went to bed at 1:50 AM.
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #6
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
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