Asti to Casale Monferrato to Alessandra

The cycle notes state that the distance will be 55km with total ascent of 700m. The climbs thankfully were indeed more gentle and therefore enjoyable. We struck the usual irritation at cycling through ghost towns just when we all needed a coffee. We pushed on to be rewarded by a road side cafe that created reasonable coffee and some adventurous tarts! We had lunch in a village square with bread, fruit cheese and cold meats. A fountain provided potable drinking water.

The hotel Candiani at Casale Monferrato was a great place for our penultimate night. Again we discovered a good restaurant, after much searching. Many of the recommended establishments on Trip Advisor or Google Maps being either shut for summer holidays or seemingly permanently closed down. The cafe opened at 18:30 and we were on the door step at 18:31. Again we asked for typical local food and wine. I noticed that as well, there was kangaroo on the menu!

The last day was, I am sure, designed to send us away happy as it was basically a flat ride on relatively quiet back roads returning to Alessandra. Once we had left the rolling hills and followed the River Po, the main crops changed to vast fields of maize and poplar plantations! The poplar wood I am told is to make match sticks. Given my perception that the only Italians who don’t smoke, were born with phocomelia, I can understand that the demand for Redheads, must be astronomical. Indeed forget about investing in Australian macadamia nuts, shift your hard earned investments into Italian hazelnut forests or poplar plantations, where indeed one may literally and figuratively see your cash go up in smoke.

We again had a picnic lunch in a delightful piazza in the village of Castelletto Monferrato. Then a slightly more hazardous cycle back into our start point a week ago at Alessandra. I shall practice the Recorder again. I have attempted to be religious in my adherence to setting aside practice time. I have to confess that on a few days I have lapsed.

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The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption – exterior at Asti

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The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption – interior at Asti