We woke up early with Sindy and Mattia so they could take us to the bus stop before they went to work. It was nice seeing the bus ride back to Verona in the daylight.
Once back in the city center, we bought tickets for our bus trip to the nearby wine town of Soave! We made sure of the correct bus stop, then searched for a small cafe and bought a chocolate croissant while waiting for the bus.
The bus arrived in Soave and luckily dropped us off near the entrance to the medieval walled city. Immediately, the view of the castle on the hill in front of the surrounding vineyards was impressive. We stopped by the ufficio turistico for a map, then made our way up the steep hill to the Castello di Soave.
The castle sits atop the hill in the medieval city and has acted as a defense against invaders since the 12th century. After paying for entrance, we wandered around the courtyards, trying to avoid the large groups of schoolchildren. We even were able to climb to the very highest tower for a panoramic view, and stayed there for a good 20 minutes without anyone else coming up. The view from the castle was fantastic -- you could see the Soave vineyards on one side and the walled city and beyond on the other.
The castle closed at noon for lunch, so we went to find something to eat. We can never seem to find a restaurant when we're actually looking for one, but we finally stumbled upon a little place just outside the walls. With our lunch (we both had different kinds of pasta) we split a bottle of Soave Classico, since they didn't sell wine by the glass. Our food was fantastic, and we enjoyed trying to understand the interactions and dialogues of the Italians around us. Matt paid with his credit card and showed off his last name to the waitress.
After lunch, we stumbled back into the walled city and tried a few more different types of Soave wine at a couple of wine bars. Being uneducated in the ways of wine, we found that they all basically taste like white wine. :) We again told the bartenders about Matt's last name, and one looked up English words in her little dictionary and then gave us some Soave magazines as mementos.
We walked farther and saw a little church before turning back towards the entrance and bus stop. We stopped in a little piazza, where we have been blissfully sitting in the perfect weather and writing the beginning of this blog post.
Before we left Soave, we went out and found a Soave road sign under which to take some photos. Then we got on the bus and headed back to the Verona city center, then continued on to St. Giovanni Lupatoto, where Sindy and Mattia live.
They picked us up at the nearby bus stop and took us back to their home. While we settled in, Mattia cooked a great risotto with pork for dinner, which we ate with another friend of theirs. Afterward, we took their dog Ginger on a walk to nearby Piazzo Umberto and got some fancy gelato desserts at a restaurant.