A day of relative ease compared to the first two days. Whilst the route guide suggested 35 km and about 300m ascent, it was still in parts, hard slog. But whilst it may take the best part of an hour to cycle slowly up at inclines of 6 to 10%, the 10 to 15 minutes of a delicious wind swept descent is worth the effort – once you get there!
On this day we also cycled mostly on small local roads or gravel roads which felt extremely safe. The shorter distance meant we could slow down and spend time visiting the villages and their castles and churches.
Asti is not attractive as Alba, but we stay here for 2 nights. We decided to have an evening meal at an upmarket restaurant recommended by the staff at our hotel. It was not a success. A less than memorable meal
Perhaps it was simply that we struck a bad evening? We arrived at 7:30 pm the precise time that the restaurant opens. The Maître de seemed flustered by this and the fact that we had not made a reservation and possibly our casual attire? The restaurant gives the appearance of silver service, the menu read well, so we persisted despite our misgivings.
I would never be presumptive or critical of the lack of English in a foreign establishment, our waiter had a degree of English – I suspect more than he presented! Our attempts to ask for some advice on the menu, induced a sweaty irritation and after a minute or tie he abruptly left explaining that he had other diners to attend to! The restaurant had about 2 other couples! We seriously considerd walking out! But the promise of outstanding local food was enough to make us stay seated. Bad decision!
The food was not up to expectations for the establishment as it presented itself. We asked advice to try some local and regional cooking. This seemed to further exasperate the waiter! Basically the beef and veal ragu style was nothing out of the ordinary but the accompanying vegetables: green beans and potato “chips” were sad and sorry, luke warm on cold plates, the chips appearing to have been deep fried, then I suspect reheated. Others on our group had the prawns- declared a success.
We could have understood if the poor waiter was run off his feet, by it was not the case. When we sat down there were only one other couple. The overall sense was that it was all too hard for the staff. If the food had been outstanding, we could have forgiven the waiter his demeanor, sadly not the case.