Italy! Part I

In June, Sean and I left the kids at home (thanks, Rich and Beth!) and took a bike trip to Italy.  Same company and same idea as our trip to France a few years ago.  And like that trip, it was so great!  We hadn’t taken a vacation in 2 years.  We could feel the lack of a break and we can feel the difference in how life feels after getting a break.

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We went to Piedmont, which, if you’re unfamiliar, is in the Northwestern part of the country.  The draw for us was the wine.  This region produces Barolo and Barbaresco wines, and we were hoping to learn more about both.  We didn’t really.  This trip was structured differently than the last and teaching about wine wasn’t the focus.  But we tasted plenty!  I still felt we walked away with a good enough wine experience, even if we aren’t quite as knowledgeable as we were leaving Burgundy.  Plus, the trip itself was still so great.

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Before meeting up with our biking group we had a night to ourselves.  We stayed in a castle!  Sean’s dream.  Give that man any castle feature – a turret, a moat, a tall tower – and he’s happy.  It was a very fun hotel.  We wished we had two nights there, especially since we did not really sleep on the plane ride over and took a giant nap shortly after arriving.

The next day we got to biking!

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Although these pictures are really from our second day.  We biked through the Langhe Hills for this trip.  These vines here are for making Dolcetto.  I had never heard of Dolcetto wine before this trip, and I’m a big fan!  It’s a very easy drinking wine.  In the places in this region where you can’t plant the grapes that will become Barolo and Barbaresco wines, they plant these grapes for Dolcetto.  (One of the things I’m not clear about after leaving Italy are what the grape names are.  The grapes are not called Barolo and Dolcetto and Barbaresco, they have different names like Nebbiolo and Barbera.  I’m not always clear on which grapes are making which wines.)

The first day is always an easy biking day.  After Day 2 we quickly realized that we were in for some really serious climbs this trip.

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Serious climbs that did make for some pretty serious views, though!

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The food on this trip was so, so good!  So many delicious salads and breads and vegetables.  Not pictured here because I didn’t think I’d like it, is the Bergera salad.  I ended up trying some of Sean’s at this lunch and I never skipped it again!  So delicious.

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We had a truffle demonstration before dinner.  This region is also known for truffles.  The truffles we found were planted by the truffle hunter in advance, but it was still fun to hear him talk about the process and see how his dog found them (because she didn’t exactly know where they were…only the truffle hunter did).  Even more fun though, we got to have these ones from the demonstration on our dinner that night!

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And watching the sunset over those hills as we ate was just beautiful!  A perfect way to end this second day.  More to come from Itay!

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