I’m getting to this post a bit late due to having to travel, pack, travel, unpack, jet lag… Oh the joys of moving back to the states! Anyway, our final leg of the European tour ended in Verbania, Italy on lake Maggiore. I had found this charming little apartment with a fantastic view of the lake and surrounding alps, and as a bonus, very reasonably priced…. So of course we grabbed it up!! It definitely didn’t disappoint when we got there!!!
We were greeted by the cutest little Italian woman that apparently didn’t mind talking to people in Italian who didn’t speak Italian. It was hilarious. For a solid 30 minutes she went on and on and on, talking with her hands, pointing to this and that and talking some more. Seriously. At one point we got her to tell us where a restaurant was so that we could we walk there. It, of course, wasn’t there. We tried another that the internet told us about…. it wasn’t there either. Italy is Italy 🙂
The whole plan on this leg of the trip was to just roll with it. Cycle when we want, sleep in when we want, run when we want – just roll with it. The first day was breakfast in Stressa, then cycling around the lake and into Switzerland. This was decided after taking a detour to another lake, but not making it because, well, 10 miles in the Alps kinda takes a long time. What’s great about vacation and Italy is that it’s all ok.
The next day we weren’t as lucky with the weather, but we still eventually headed out. It was only a little misty out so off we headed to the largest national park in Italy. I had this genius idea of taking the “main” and really only road to the village of Cicogna. We can file this under “dumb American decision”. This “main” road was more like an Italian after thought. It was steep, narrow, sometimes there were railings, sometimes not, 5 point turns were required on some tight switchbacks. It was a white knuckle experience. At one point I mentioned to Dwight that I might want to just walk the rest of the way…. Umm, yeah, “you are not leaving me alone in this car” was the response I got. We survived so it has now become a fun adventure 😉
It actually was a lot of fun though. We got to see some kayakers drop into the the class IV-V river gorge and maybe we entered a not so safe area to go hike, but had a lot of fun while doing it. We wondered around a small, rock village along the trail that consisted of maybe 10 houses that I thought was abandoned. While admiring their rock building skills we heard rumblings around in some of the houses. Yep, there were still a few people actually living there. It was definitely a fun day!
Later that night I ended up cooking us dinner because we really wanted to take advantage of the apartment! I tried to make the same asparagus appetizer that we had in Alba that was so darn good. It was an almost there recipe because I didn’t have the right mustard and since I didn’t have an oven, I had to poach it instead of slow roast the asparagus. It was still damn good though. I then finished the meal up with a 3 cheese gnocchi. I used 3 local cheese of castelmagno, fontina and bra duro stravecchio. It was truly amazing!
The last day was finished up with some more cycling and some more misty weather. It was a shame we couldn’t really get a great view of the mountains, but it was still gorgeous and we still managed a picnic! We also visited a fantastic little store where we were able to buy cheese, wine, olive oil, etc on our way back to the apt. The place was a great. We even swung in there on the way back to Germany to get a few sandwiches for the road.
All in all, it was an amazing trip and Italy did not disappoint.