Edit Blog Post
Published: June 15th 2018
We left Tirano June 13 and drove to the Franciacorta region via Aprica (ski resort) and Edolo. Franciacorta is a wine-producing area near Lake Iseo, famous for sparkling wine since 1961. We had an hour walk through vineyards to the Berlucchi winery, where we had a private tour through the cellars and heard the whole process of putting the fizz I sparkling wine. Basically, after the usual fermentation, a mix of yeast and sugar are added to each bottle, and it is sealed up, to let the gas and pressure build in the bottle. Eventually the yeast dies and the bottle is turned regularly to let the yeast settle out. Finally, the bottle is left upside down, so all the yeast is collected in the neck. Then the neck is flash frozen to get the yeast in one solid clump. Then the bottle is opened and the yeast plug pops out. Then the bottle gets the final cork seal. We had lunch at the winery: bread sticks, focaccia, meat slices, small pizza squares, and of course more cheese.
Our hotel for these two nights is in Sarnico, on the shore of Lake Iseo. A near neighbor to us here is
the Riva speedboat company, making the sleek wooden motor boats used in a lot of James Bond movies. At the Cocca Hotel Royal Thai Spa, each of our rooms had a balcony overlooking the lake. Like all of our hotel rooms in Italy, the bathrooms contain bidets. One can actually find YouTube videos on how to use a bidet, and it seems like a good thing to use, but our group is so inexperienced that mostly it was put to unintended uses. For example, one woman washed her clothes in it - ew!
Several of us were excited to see that the hotel's restaurant was Thai also, so perhaps we would have a break from cheesy pasta tonight. However, when the first dish was brought out, we saw it was a big plate of risotto, and our hearts sank. A beef course with potatoes followed, and dessert was some creamy pie. No veggies in sight! Not sure where they got the term Mediterranean diet, but it wasn't here. The beef was excellent, I must say.
Earlier that afternoon, Wayne and I rented bikes from the hotel and used our free time to ride into town. There was a
lovely bike path along the lake, and Sarnico was a typical Italian village with central church, plazas, and little alleyways that you would think are just walking paths until a motorcycle or car sneaks up behind you! We stopped at the information center and got a map of supposed bike routes, but when we set off to follow one short loop, we couldn't seem to find the start and rode up some big hills in our search. Well, we saw some pretty houses on the way, and everyone here takes such pride in their little gardens and window boxes. The rose bushes are especially spectacular now. We cooled off with a swim back at the hotel, choosing the outdoor pool with a view to the rocky cliffs behind us.
June 14 was a stellar day. The weather was perfect, and the group drove to the other side of the lake and boarded a small boat for a tour around Monte Isla (island). I hope the photos will give some idea of the beautiful hills and villages around us. After about an hour we landed on the island at Peschiera Maraglio and set out on a 90-minute hike up the
Paulo, our trip leader is in the green t-shirt on left.
mountain of the same name as the island. About 1700 people live on the island, which is only about five miles around the perimeter. The hike was quite steep, especially at first, but the views were worth it! The lake was a kind of teal blue and the surrounding hills dark green with occasional pink villages climbing up the side. Our walk started in the town alleyways, then entered a forest and ended in olive groves. We all ate together, a nice light lunch of local fish and salad (finally).
Later in the afternoon, we went to the town of Rovato for a cooking lesson with Roberta at Trattoria del Gallo. Gnocchi, involtini ripening (turkey cutlets rolled around bread crumb stuffing), and sbrisolona cake, more like a crunchy bar make of flower, corn meal, almonds, sugar, and a ton of butter. All very good and a fun activity. Tomorrow we depart for Verona.
Tot: 0.908s; Tpl: 0.026s; cc: 10; qc: 54; dbt: 0.031s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb