.After 2 days of fairly tough riding, a lay day in Asti. My opinion is that the medieval town of Alba the day before was more attractive. The more fascinating aspects of Asti, however were the black truffles and the regional wine. White truffles are mentioned but I did not see any – they are I believe, much more expensive than the black variety. For 2 days we had cycled up and down across rolling hills and valleys, along the saddles with vineyards, orchards of ripening autumnal fruit and in season stone fruit, and vast forests of hazel nut trees. The peaches and nectarines were so good.
This all sounds positively Elysian, and it was. Provided you arrived at a village either before noon or after about 4 pm, one could buy fresh fruit, breads, cheeses and cold meat cuts. Between these times absolutely every town and village had the appearance of a ghost town, a deserted movie set! As I rode along in the summer heat I had visions of being found dead around 3:55 on the side of a country road, just on the outskirts of a village, the autopsy revealing that I had died of dehydration and starvation.
In Asti we had a stunning meal, the antithesis of the dining experience the night before. We had a very friendly, not to mention, sexy Italian young waiter who was attentive and helpful. He was delighted to offer suggestions for our food and wine. An “anti pasta misto” for 5 people, then various local dishes. One of these was pasta – a very thin spaghetti, simply tossed in a hot butter and truffle infused olive oil dressed with truffle slivers. Another was the local variation of Spaghetti Bolognese. To my surprise none of the diners who chose outside tables, smoked and I specifically noted that ashtrays were not provided! I used Goggle translate to compliment the handsome Italian waiter on this.
Once I had explored the town, I set off on a day trip to the natural reserves – a round trip , on the flat of about 34 km. it was through at times dense forest and on gravel paths, more suited to mountain bikes, but great fun and took me less than 3 hours.
The village of Cinaglio after 18 km had a tranquil square with its municipal building and ornate church. I sat in the square and had iced tea and a fresh peach. I an refreshed for the ride to Casale Monferrato tomorrow.