This past weekend (11 to 13 December 2009) JK and I drove to Italy, reason being Axel’s 40th birthday. JK picked me up at work and we drove straight to Turin. We stayed at the amazing Le Méridien Lingotto which is located in a converted Fiat factory. The hotel itself is what you would hope for in a renovated warehouse: high ceilings and good use of old materials (furniture, photos, windows, etc.). At 21:30, we threw our bags in the room (#325) and headed to La Pista restaurant. La Pista is located on the top floor (4th) of the same building as the Lingotto, the same floor as the Fiat test track. We indulged ourselves by going for two different degustation menus. What a steal for four courses with wine! Unfortunately, I only made it through the first two courses (antipasti and primi piatti) because of some lingering stomach bug from Indonesia. So, JK ate most of my main course and I took the dessert in a doggy bag!
....Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention “la piece de resistance” for car lovers: the roof has a race track where Fiat tested their cars.
On Saturday morning, JK and I walked around the entire track (photos will be posted on Flickr later). We then headed to Eataly for our gourmet fix. Eataly is perhaps the best Italian marketplace ever!
After loading up, we then drove to Florence. We stayed at the Hotel Kraft. It had old world charm. We celebrated Axel’s birthday with Carlos and 30 of his other friends at Acqua al 2. The staff kept bringing bottle after bottle of red wine and plate after plate of pasta (I stopped counting at 5) followed by a huge plate of grilled beef, rocket, tomatoes, and parmesan. It was almost buffet-style! Unfortunately my stomach bugs were restless and wouldn’t let me enjoy the smorgasbord.
The following day (Sunday 13 December) stored were open as a “special” exception for Christmas. So, we explored the tourist sites (Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio, Il Duomo - Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Ponte Vecchio, etc.) while popping into stores.
After enjoying a coffee and cookies at Axel and Silvia’s apartment, we then drove the 6+ hours back to Geneva.