Friday, September 30, 2016 | Italy – Piemonte, Sacro Monte di Crea | Petra
ON OUR WAY TO PICTURESQUE PIEMONTE
Our current everage cruising speed is at a crawl. Since we’ve left the Dolomites behind we’ve just made it to the region of Piemonte. Wherever we arrive we get caught. We very much enjoy not being in a hurry but (still) feel a kind of uneasiness. Just relaxing and going with the flow, being present in the here-and-now seems to be easier than in fact it is.
To avoid a breakdown it’s helpful to read a good book, feel the warm sunbeams on our skin, visit a bar for having an espresso or take the bicycles for a ride. And within seconds our balance is back.
Our days are filled with a healthy mixture of sportful activities and sweet idleness. We often wonder how a day can simply pass off without getting anything done.
Maybe this is what they call la dolce vita.
A quiet and outlying place – Lago di Bàrcis near by the nature reservoir Forra del Cellina
It is the Friaul where we spend some peaceful days at Valcellina valley and Lago di Bàrcis, which our friend Tina recommended with warmest regards. Later on we celebrate birthday in the romantic heart of Venice and come across my former school friend Monika with her mother and daughter. We also meet Win’s colleague Markus, his wife Martina and his son Sebastian for a nice dinner before they finish their summer holidays and go back home.
Two days later we settle down at Lago d’Iseo in the Lombardy region. Lago d’Iseo is smaller and less famous than nearby Lago di Garda. This summer it boomed due to Christo’s Floating Piers, a temporary work of art he installed on the lake. More than 1.2 million visitors were attracted by this event and overran the little villages along the lake. Two weeks state of emergency but meanwhile everything went back to the daily routine.
Cozy Lago d’Iseo
After weeks of tranquility we long for the liveliness of Milano, which I had visited once before in autumn and Win never had. We park our truck at the big camp site Città di Milano, which is north west of the center. Within in thirty minutes we easy peasy can reach Duomo by bus and metro.
The terrace of the cathedral, the gigantic cathedral inside, the famous cemetery Monumentale with it’s impressing family graves and the museum and former home of the wealthy brothers Bagatti Valsecchi are some of the sights we are visiting during our stay. In Brera and at Naviglio Grande we enjoy Milan cuisine, music on the streets and the nightlife of the city.
On Sunday we meet our friend Christine from Germany. She is working in Monza and living in Milan. We spend the day together and visit Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, one of the eldest churches of Milan. In the evening we go to a wonderful, tiny fish restaurant, one of Christine’s favorite restaurants in Milan.
Milan, what a terrific city!
We head on to great Lago Maggiore with it’s clear water and the splendorous mansions. It is warm and sunny but even here autumn starts to color the leaves. End of summer can’t be missed any more. In Feriolo we meet Krzys (Chris) from Poland who is having a sabbatical and is on a longer journey with his wife and his two little daughters. Family time!
He enthuses about Lago d’Orta which is only 20 kilometers far away. The small city of Orta San Giulio is pretty and worth a visit, he lets us know. Krzys is right and we love the place very much. Thank you for the tip.
Inviting marketplace of Orta San Giulio
What a difference Casale Monferrato makes, a city described in our guidebook. We are very sorry that we can’t discover the charm of this location. But we are lucky when searching for a place for the night. At the vineyard Cascina Faletta the friendly owner Elena offers us to stay at the parking place of the vineyard. We get a taste of the wonderful wines – Spumante Rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir – and tasty snacks, salads, salami and cheese.
Elena’s son Lorenzo, the young wine grower-to-be, turns out to be a marketing expert, graphic designer and cordial host. He likes the idea of our journey, for he experienced traveling as long-term backpacker. He invites us to his „office“, the wine cellar, and tells us a lot about the work on the vineyard and the wines they produce. We are also allowed to have a look at the treasury down in the historical cellar of this carefully renovated cascina. Some bottles of the produced wines are stored there. References that help to learn how each wine developes over the years and what to do in future productions. It’s a matter of course that the labels of the bottles and the signet of the cascina are designed by Lorenzo.
The next day when we take leave we are happy about the delicious tomatoes which Elena gives to us.
Now we’re sitting in front of our truck in the sun, viewing the wine hills of Basso Monferrato and enjoying the wonderful atmosphere of the holy mountain Sacro Monte di Crea, a place of pilgrimage.
Every now and then a car drives past, the driver waving „Hello!“. Or a group of bicyclists shouting „Buon giorno!“ while dashing past.
We are alone with one or two other caravans. At night we listen to an owl, during the day we can hear the fizzling of insects and the screaming of a donkey from the vineyard next door.
Of course we already tasted truffles, yesterday at nearby Moncalvo (14 kilometers by bike, uphill and downhill – exhausting!). Every year on the last Sundays of October an important fair for truffles takes place at Moncalvo. Win still enthuses about his pasta with egg yolk and white truffle – yummie.
Stunning view over the wine hills of Basso Monferrato
An empty marketplace means lunch-break. The tiny town Moncalvo counts just a few more than 3000 inhabitants.