To Saluzzo - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

October 25, 2018

To Saluzzo

The last several days of cycling spoiled us a bit.  Much of today was a more normal experience, biking on the primary route southwest from Asti to Saluzzo.  The road was safe enough - not much traffic, tolerant drivers - but too busy to be able to relax, and not along a particularly scenic corridor.  There are alternatives, but in this wrinkled country a quiet route would be much longer and much hillier - more than we really had room for today.  Knowing what we know now, we probably wouldn’t pick this itinerary.  We’d take two days, and maybe head east toward Turin or south to Alba, and then bend toward Saluzzo.

But then, as you’ll have guessed, if we do this again we wouldn’t be in Asti at all.

We did get off the main road for part of the day though.  In one glorious stretch, we climbed up into the hills to a ridge road that more or less paralleled the highway, was ultra quiet, and staggeringly beautiful.  Then, closer to Saluzzo, we escaped onto the network of farming roads that crisscross the upper Po Valley.  All of the photos for the day are from these side excursions, and demonstrate the rule that if you want to see anything really interesting on a bike, you need to get onto the roads less traveled.

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Rising quickly above the valley, we look back to the southwest.
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Monte Viso, the prominent peak that stands west of Saluzzo. The headwaters of the Po River spring from its base. We’ve been watching this peak grow steadily larger for the last two days.
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Bruce LellmanIf you are seeing that peak grow I'd get out of there!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanI noted this myself at the time, and wondered if anyone else would pick up on it. I knew I could count on you, Bruce!
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1 month ago
This ranks up with my all time favorite road shots.
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Cisterna d’Asti
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It’s startling how prominent Monte Viso is compared to all of its neighbors.
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Jackpot! A cow bonanza! This should keep Steve off my case for the next month.
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Arriving in Saluzzo, we pushed our bikes up through the steep cobblestone streets to our hotel.  At the desk we were greeted with surprise, and the unwelcome statement that we were not expected and no rooms were available.  We pulled out our reservation, which was for the correct day - but in November, not October.  So close!  We only missed it by one month.  An unprecedented lapse by the planning team - the second booking error in the same month.

Fortunately, the very helpful hotel manager quickly located alternate lodging for us quite nearby, and further up the hill a few more blocks.  And so, tonight we find ourselves in a place we would never have chosen on our own, but are happy to experience as long as we’ve been forced into it: the four star San Giovanni Resort Hotel, a conversion of a former convent.  It’s an elegant place, immediately beneath a large, ancient church tower.  It will be interesting to hear in the morning if churchbells from just outside our window deafen us awake.

This hotel only has a vacancy for tonight, so tomorrow we’ll relocate to a B&B we found down in the village.  A bit inconvenient, but we’ll be more comfortable there.

So, that’s the lodging situation.  The town itself is amazing though -Saluzzo is for us everything that Asti was not.  We fall in love with it immediately - great atmosphere, beautiful, walkable, bikeable.  I’ll have more to say abou Saluzzo, tomorrow.

Overlooking Saluzzo from our convent window
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The hallway in our hotel
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It’s a short four block walk from our hotel down to the heart of town, if you take the direct, steep walking route.
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In the Osteria Nuovi Mondagli, alone except for the wall art
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Pear and chocolate crostata, the best dessert we can remember. We split one, and looked glumly at the empty plate when we were done. Fortunately, they still had one more.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesI ha to zoom in to appreciate that there is chocolate sauce and chocolate little squares. Zowie!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesZowie is right. The texture was terrific too - sort of a soft, melt in your mouth crumble.
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1 month ago
I’ve been hoping to find a half bottle of dolcetto. I think I’ve found a new favorite wine.
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Looking up from the deck outside our room, the last one directly below the tower.
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Ride stats today: 48 miles, 2,100’

Today's ride: 48 miles (77 km)
Total: 1,938 miles (3,119 km)

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Steve Miller/GrampiesYou short changed yourself 10 miles, according to RWGPS!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesThanks for noting that, Steve. Rachael saw that also, and I thought she had corrected it.
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1 month ago