We went on a day trip to an Italian brewery, winery, and grappa museum.
The bus departed from base at 8:30 in the morning, and we headed straight to the Pedavena Brewery. It was about a two hour drive along winding mountain roads that a large bus probably did not belong on. We finally arrived at the foot of the Avena Mountain at the Padavena Brewery a little before 11.
We went on what was supposably a tour of the brewery, but Jacob and I weren't quite impressed.
I suppose after checking out breweries in the Pacific Northwest, an Italian brewery doesn't quite measure up. At the end of the tour we were told that we would get to do a tasting, but apparently at Padavena that means only trying one kind of beer. Everyone on the tour was a bit baffled, but they explained that we would have many more options that we could order with our lunch. Hmmmmm....
Neither my husband nor I are big Prosecco drinkers, but after tasting four different types, we did find one what was just delicious. Of course it was what the vineyard called their "superior" Prosecco, and they only make a limited amount each year. We left the vineyard with two bottles and figured we would save them for a special occasion. Perhaps when my parents visit in March? More about that another time :)
The next stop on our trip was to a neat town called Bassano del Grappa. This area is known for it's grappa, a drink that I have to admit I am not a huge fan of. Grappa is extremely popular in Italy (actually I haven't really heard of it anywhere outside of Italy), but it's just not for me. It's made by the leftovers from the when wine is made, and it is far too strong for me.
We visited the Poli Grappa museum, which is one of the oldest grappa distilleries.
We were able to taste a few different types of grappa, but nothing struck my fancy.
After the museum we were able to explore a bit, and found ourselves on the Ponte Vecchio, or "old bridge", which is a major landmark of the city.
I will admit, by this point in the day I was tired and ready to be home. But the tour wasn't over yet, we still had dinner.
We headed back towards Aviano, and dined at the wonderful Castel Brando. Yes, we ate dinner in a castle. Unfortunately it was dark and we were tired, so I don't have any pictures. It was definitely a neat experience. Castel Brando has a restaurant, spa, and hotel. It's only about an hour from Aviano, so we are definitely looking into going back again, but this time for the spa!
It was about midnight by the time the bus finally arrived back on base, and I was sooooo ready to be in my comfy bed.
This was our first ITT experience, and I doubt we will go on any other trips with them. I'm not a fan of the whole group situation, or riding on big buses. But that's just my personal preference, I'm sure for others it's a great way to see a lot in a small amount of time.
It was a nice getaway for the day, and we got to see some places that we probably wouldn't have gone to by ourselves.