Day 10, Casale Monferrato to Alessandria


We slept in until about 8:00am enjoying the AC. Breakfasts are always a wonderful  affair and exciting to see what our hosts have laid out for our browsing . . . always lots of cakes, fruit, juices, cheeses, yogurt, cereals  . . .


. . . and usually eggs made to order with ham, bacon or sausages. Great way to start the day . . . oh and of course with at least 2-3 cappuccinos!!!


After packing up our gear for the last time, we were down the road, riding an easy 32 miles to Alessandria.


There is a lot of soybeans and corn grown in the flat, lower areas in this part of Italy and many times as you looked to the side of the road, as you biked along, it looked a lot like Wisconsin. However, one thing you don’t see on the sides of fields in Wisconsin are the elaborate little religious shrines like this one.


As we rolled into our first village a local market was beginning to set up . . .


emJay and Marci surveyed the fresh produce and emJay, in typical biker fashion, bought one banana!!!


Lawrence Welk lives . . . through his Italian reincarnation, Enrico Cremon!!!


We rode along the Po river during the morning and were surprised to see all the irrigation used to grow even vegetables like these zucchinis . . .


. . .flooding the areas between the mounded growing areas.


. . .  there were many stands of timber too, planted 20-30 years ago . . .


. . . that enjoyed a nice little drink, too. The soil along the Po must be very light to demand this type of attention.


. . . luckily the trails we road through the area on were high and dry!!


Gun ownership may not be as prevalent in Europe but those in the country who own guns still like to use local metal signs for ‘sighting-in’ there rifles. Just like their American cousins!!! This chap must have been using a 45 caliber or large bullet, the resulting hole being about an inch in diameter!!!


Riding out of the River Po sand plain, we entered the village of Bozzle and found ourselves to be hungry!!! Of course being Sunday, the two restaurants were closed . . . .


. . . but we soon met Mahaila, an Italian woman who owed the local B&B with her Swiss husband. Their New York overnight guests were just leaving and she agreed to make us a nice little ‘al fresco’ lunchy . . .


. . . we took our seats at the outside eating area and spent time looking for the thirty turtles that roaming their yard. These two were in the turtle ‘nursery’, a wooden ring around the base of a tree. Grandma Turtle was about 15 inches long and 50 years old!!!


. . . we enjoyed a wonderful filling lunch of sliced ham, sausage, fresh mozzarella with tomatoes, bread and fresh melon. Too soon it was time to say our goodbye’s and we would be down the road to Alessandria.


. . . oh, and we were right on course!!


. . . another interesting ‘raised’ cemetery. Not sure why this type of ‘elevated’ graveyards are so popular with the Italians.


. . . although most Italian’s, who live in cities, live in apartment type buildings, OLD buildings,  these free standing apartment buildings don’t seem to be too popular. Here is one that looks sort of out of place, like it never really caught on, standing out in the middle of an open field.


. . . after the last climb of the trip, it was time for a little gelato and  beverage break. Soon we were riding DOWN HILL on our last leg into Alessandria . . .YES!!! Smiles all around!!!


We ventured out to a local restaurant where the chef came out of the kitchen and offered to make us a ‘Chef’s Special’. It sounded great and soon we were treated with a DELICOOUS little green salad . . .


. . . followed by a platter of garlic risotto . . .


. . .  and three meat ravioli. The wine and water (with gas) flowed too . . .


. . . but there was still room for a nice little apricot panna cota, with a dark rich chocolate sauce, and topped with nuts.


. . . it was a great way to celebrate our last dinner group dinner in Italy.

Back at the hotel there was a new group of riders being fitted to their bikes, several of the same one we used. I saw my 55cm bike being fitted to a chap from London and we had a nice chat.

Tomorrow, Marci and BillyB would train off to Cinque Terra for three days of hiking. emJay, Barb,Tom and I would train to Turino for a ‘three day’ wind down from our biking holiday!!!

Our  Route:

ride review to come . . . more to come!!