Ah readers of the blog…

Thanks for your little notes and encouragement. These past few weeks have been tough. However. I am reminded that diamonds are made under pressure. I did grow up in a football house, after all.

I have had a fairly hairy week(s) of acclimatization and work, so these two very precious days off are going by very fast. I prepare tomorrow for a trip and will be thick into work for a couple of weeks until I head to France to wrap up the season. So another brief intermission is on its way.

These past week was challenging for many reasons: I don't speak excellent Italian. None of the contractors speak any English. From Barbesco to Italian words to climate to regional animals, the guests stumped me continually with questions on the region, DESPITE my endless wikipieding (is that a verb?) pre-trip reading and prep, I am reminded the only way to gain insight into a region is to be there. The Hills. I am in great shape. I still had to work like a dog to ride. No wonder our people were scorched at the end of the week.

Although the week had its jaw-clenching, unfortunate, my-patience-is-wearing-thin moments, overall is was good. I had a great co-leader, Molly (see below) who helped me along tremendously, I had several positive interactions (even if they were a few sentances long), got to see some serious wine harvest, had amazing wine tastings, sampled some VERY expensive VERY delicious wine, and experienced the trip a little like a guest myself with the awe of the region.

The afternoon here is lovely at it is my last chance to enjoy some alone time before the mayhem begins. Thanks for the love... and following along... I needed it.


PS: FYI, I will be spending my 25th Birthday on an 80km bike day through a town called Bra, famous for the Slow Food Movement. I will be dining at a restaurant where a truffle dog smells out our truffles for dinner then his wife makes all the food. I will have a double cappuccino for breakfast and an egg and cheese. Just in case you were curious.

PPS: My Italian cell phone died. Its a long story. I no longer have a phone. I have a unit cell... so you will have to email me to contact me; sigh; mi dispiaci, I am disheartened in another part of Italian life.

PPPS: the title means "with wine, please"


Where I live (pictured below) has a resident goose. Agriturismo is a way that Italians can get a tax break from the government, but running a farm and renting out rooms. So 'Agriturismo' combined with hotels is quite common. At APP they have this THING (which I know my sister would LOVE)- it hates me. It squaks at me, it chases me, one time I hit it with my bag with my laptop in it. So we're not on the greatest terms.

Antico Podere Propano, where I live in-between trips.
These next few pictures are all shots from riding through Piedmont on the trips I take- mostly vineyards, sometimes Alp views if it isn't too foggy.
We quite literally ride from hilltop town to hilltop town- which means hills, hills, hills.
The wines of the regions are Moscato d'Asti, Barolo, Barbesco d' Asti.
The cheese platter of night one. When I asked the Manager (in Italian) to explain the cart he told me it would be too long and too difficult and that I should just enjoy.
My first co-leader of the fall, Molly. Holly and Molly. Hol and Mol. Ho and Mo.
One night we have a pasta making demonstration with Mamarea.
Harvest time! These are all Moscato grapes.
Holly's survival mechanism.
One of the last wineries we visit is in Motella. They take us into a castle were three countess sisters still live, this is there basement with the oak barrells, and their logo below.
Nice toliets are for pretty tourist places. This is Piedmont. No dice.
My day off in Torino...
The second biggest Piazza in Europe- second to the Red Square in Moscow.