Visit to Cinque Terre

The week before we were to head to Cinque Terre from Nice, the weather forecast said it would be raining the whole time we’d be there. And the day before we left it did, indeed, rain. But then the skies opened up, the weather Gods looked fondly upon us, and we ended up with clear blue skies during our whole trip, until we returned and the clouds started rolling back in. Lucky again.

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Visit to Lake Garda, Italy

Our 20th anniversary was coming up so I decided to surprise my wife with a getaway trip to Lake Garda in Italy. I didn’t tell her about my plans, just let her know a couple of hours before we had to catch our plane. This would be our second trip to Italy’s northern lake district, as we visited Lake Como last fall. Everything went quite smoothly… until we arrived at the car rental agency in Venice.

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Exploring Lake Como & Portofino

Every now and then we like to do a trip on the spur of the moment, especially in the fall when the weather can be iffy. We choose a few places in different parts of Europe, and then as we get close to the time to leave, we go with the one where the weather looks best. This year the Lakes District of Northern Italy won out. So we loaded up the car with paddle boards and put our bikes on the bike rack, and hit the road.

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Back to the Cote d’Azur…

After an amazing winter season in Mexico, (one of the best weather seasons we can remember), we are back in the south of France and quickly acquainting ourselves with the venues and activities we most enjoy here. For me it means getting back into biking, with trips to places like La Turbie, Roquebrune (which I’ve previously written about so won’t mention anymore about them), the Monte Carlo golf club up and above Monaco, and a new trip to La Revere.

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Weekend in Alba, Piemonte

Someone once described Piemonte to me as being “Tuscany without the Tourists“. And, to a degree, that is true, they are similar in many ways and there are less tourists. But what people really enjoy about Tuscany – the rolling landscape, the meandering country roads, the wine, the food and the medieval villages – can be also be found in Piemonte, especially the region around Alba, and for a lot less money.

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Lunch at Dolceacqua, Italy

A few kilometers inland from the coastal Italian town of Ventimiglia, (which is just minutes from the French border and Monaco), along the river banks of the Nervia river, lies the small town of Dolceacqua. The town has become a popular tourist site because of its ancient medieval town, its lovely stone bridge and for the Doria castle which sits on the hillside behind the town. But it’s also famous for its “michetta” sweet rolls  which are connected to a local legend of romance and revenge. It’s a favorite place for us to have lunch after when we visit the markets in Ventimiglia.

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Roundabout Drive from Nice to Paris

This was a rather roundabout way to get to Paris, as it took us through Italy, Switzerland and Luxembourg, but it made for a great trip. We took the coastal freeway to Savon and from there, turned up to Turin, until we reached our first night’s stay just north and outside of Turin in the the Canavese Valley. There are numerous small towns in the area, situated in the foothills of the Alps. We stayed at a small B&B just outside of the town of Strambinello, called the Castello (Castle) di Strambinello. It would be just outside, west of Ivrea, off the freeway that travels from Turin to Aosta.

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