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October 27th 2013
Published: October 27th 2013
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We left Venice on the early morning train. Janet and David met us and we rode the trains together. Unfortunately, there was a train strike and so one of our connecting trains did not arrive, but all ended well since the next train arrived on time and we arrived with plenty of daylight in Asti. Asti was our launch point for Canale. We all rented cars and had to find our way to Canale with various GPS and maps. Although all of us had some glitches, we arrived in this hilled country side with rows of grape vine capturing the evening light. It is stunningly beautiful,here. The villa (farmhouse) has been renovated with style and comfort. It is at the top of a hill and the courtyard looks out over multiple valleys. There is an outdoor kitchen and upper decks with glass doors opening out of the rooms. It makes you feel wow..... The hill top across the next valley is crowned with a castle. It is lit at night and makes you feel like you are in a fairy tale. Looking out from our villa or walking in the vineyards make you constantly feel like you've walked into a book.

There are nine of us sharing this incredible place so there is much laughter and friendship shared with lots of room for solo time when needed. We have visited many small and larger towns near us starting with many open markets and ending with wandering walks through narrow streets to visit museums and churches. Each day, someone talks responsibility for the evening meal and the meals have been spectacular with risotto, pizza in the wood oven outside, fresh pastas with wild mushrooms and large tasty chickens. All paired with the excellent wines of Piedmont.

We are all slowly learning some Italian and have had our share of halting conversations with generous amounts of hand waving. And we have had to meet some of the locals when Franco and Claudia (the hosts) take us to a wine tasting or horse back riding expedition. We have stood in the cellars of a wine producer surrounded by the large casks of this and last years wines. Some of us have gone on horse back rides. My favourite was the early morning drive to the alps. We were joining Franco for mushroom picking while Janet and Richard went for a ride on horse back. Here you must have a permit to pick mushrooms and you carry a woven wicker basket and walking cane to show your authenticity. We drove up incredibly steep switch back roads one car wide until we reached the village of Cro. There we walked for 3 hours crossing back and forth on the steeply sloped forested side of the mountain looking for the cherished mushroom, Porcini. Any other mushroom would not do and were left behind. We did not find one, but walking the steep mountainside of the alps was more than enough for me, awe inspiring. Then we had a pre booked meal at the local restaurant where we were treated like family and there was dish after dish of fantastic regional rustic dishes. It was a marvellous day. Good Night and Sweet Dreams.

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28th October 2013

30th October 2013

Whoo hoo - you got some great pictures! where did you find all that sun? Arrived home safely. Hope life is good at Cinque Terra. J

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