What a mammoth journey. It started with a three hour drive down to Newcastle Airport then the stressful business of getting the bike box checked in and then the relief of seeing it disappear down the chute of the outsize baggage counter, somebody else's turn to worry about it now. Another three hours later was the relief of being reunited with it in Nice and discovering it to be undamaged in transit.
|Rebuilding the bike, Nice Airport|
Despite the hour being late we were very well looked after by Margaret and Bernard and were soon in their flat devouring copious quantities of cheese, pate, bread, and Margaret's excellent home made rabbit pie before turning in for a well earned kip. Only problem being the outrageously hot temperatures (well for us folk from the frozen north it was bloody hot anyway)
Sunday 18th Aug 2013 Nice - Cuneo
|let the journey commence|
Now, we new we were going to have to blag our way onto the next train as we knew that tandems were not particularly welcome on Italian trains. I was also fully aware that my knowledge of the Italian language consisted pretty much of two words, bellisimo and pizza. I knew this would severely impact on any meaningful blagging so restricted myself to a less subtle approach and kinda barged my way slowly but forcefully onto this equally packed train and concealed the tandem from any nosy officialdom by surrounding it with hot, tetchy Italian fellow travellers.
Remarkably, and with little trouble all things considered and against all the odds we have now reached Cuneo, the train ride having offered us loads of mountain views just interrupted now and again by tunnels. Of course being now in Italy we felt compelled to eat pizza, anti pasta and all that Italian good stuff before heading back to the hotel room for a well needed rest.
Monday 19 Aug 2013 Cuneo - Asti
Had a fairly lazy start to the day fannying around on FB and a leisurely breakfast. One of the reasons we delayed was we really weren't sure where we were making for that day. I sort of had 50 -60 mile in my head but it really depended on the weather ie how hot it was and what the terrain was like. I thought it looked fairly flat but it remained to be seen.
We inevitably hit the flat again though as we swiftly moved on towards Alba. Sadly it proved to be a bit of a dump and we were neither of us too keen on staying there, particularly as we'd got there in good time and didn't feel any need to stop. So we headed off again aiming in the general direction of Asti. On route though the weather was changing and starting to get pretty wet. We first tried a nice little village hotel but it was shut so moved on to the strangely, randomly named, Fairy Queen hotel. This was a weird place, it was actually closed, the hotel and restaurant shut for a holiday? In August?.....er, ok then. We were offered a room though and the hotelier assured us there was a place to eat only 20 metres away down the road. The thing was though we felt like we were reenacting The Shining in the deserted hotel. cries of "Here's Johny" could definitely be imagined.
What with that, no Internet access and as we subsequently found out no nearby food we decided to leave. This excited the hotelier no end and we were subject to a barrage of anti-English abuse and threatened with the police unless we handed over 20% of the room rate which would have meant handing over €18 which we didn't and just to annoy him we smiled and told him we were Scottish not English, a wee lie but seemed to score a point for us. We pushed on another five miles or so and got ourselves into a hotel in Asti (Genoa Hotel) that turned out to be a gem. Thoroughly quirky and with excellent food in a lovely, if oddly and randomly decorated restaurant we were fed with what, to us seemed to be a really authentic Italian meal of ratatouille followed by beef in wine sauce served with salad. It was really delicious and capped off an eventful day.