Wine & Travel

Snooth User: dvogler

Tuscany and Piedmont

Posted by dvogler, Sep 29.

Hi everybody.  I returned last Sunday from two weeks in Italy.  We flew Vancouver to Paris and spent the first day walking everywhere, basically "Paris in six hours".  Saw Palace of Versailles the next day and more walking around Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur.  Flew to Bologna that evening.  Next day we took a train to Florence and spend three days there.  Finally had a decent wine in Florence, an Antinori (baby Guado al Taso) called Il Bruciato.  Big Tuscan wines were not worth the money.  Tignanello was 105 euro and I can buy it in Victoria for less!  The food was fantastic though.  Took a train to Pisa one of the days.  It was a deep blue sky and sunny (about 88 degrees) and the tower was gleaming.  Rented a car and drove from Florence to Arezzo and several hilltop walled towns, spend a night in Siena, (magical).  Next day went to San Gimigniano and Volterra, probably more, but I lost track of all the hilltop towns!  Spent a night in Lucca and had another great meal and wine.  Drove up to Asti and stayed a week in a villa and were joined by other couples (bike and wine guys).  Went to a wine tasting event in Asti, which was weird because you bought tickets and got a glass of wine, not "tastings".  I gave up after two!  We did go to lots of great wine shops and every evening there'd be a big dinner at the villa and we'd have tons of wine.  My favourite was a Barbera d'Asti made specially for a restaurant we had lunch at one day (15 eu/bottle).  Had some great bike rides, nice pool at the villa and great evenings playing "name the band/song" and trying to stop consuming wine before that "one glass too much" line.  Came back to rain and cool temperatures in British Columbia. 

Replies

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Reply by RandyFisher, Sep 30.

I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. I too am a fan of Barbera. Question: You mentioned Notre Dame, what was it's condition.

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Reply by dvogler, Sep 30.

We couldn't get close to Notre Dame.  It was gated all the way around, so across the street was as close as you could get.  The towers are intact, but the roof over the nave was gone.

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 30.

Looks like a great trip, DV. Thanks for posting. This is just a driveby for now, will comment or rather ask questions later...

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Reply by zufrieden, Sep 30.

A fully-packed fortnight, I should say.  I am really glad you took the time to go; travel is good, and a few of us are passionate, natural Wandervoegeln, but the modern obsession with travel seems more driven by moneyed interests than a healthy curiosity about the world.

However, in our talks, you really deserved a good trip outside the country.  If nothing else, it puts perspective on views of your own home and place.

Nice pictures - and of Piedmontese wines you can have difficulty obtaining here (small village wines, e.g.).

 

Z.

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Reply by dvogler, Oct 1.

I've told several people since I've returned that I have no interest in traveling again for some time.  I had a great time and there may be a few places I'd like to experience before I cannot travel comfortably, but in my heart I feel that travel is worse for the world than cherishing the place we belong.  I'm not disparaging those who love travel in a respectful manner.

I do have a profound sense of reverence and respect for history and the struggles of the church and state through the years.  I didn't say anything to the people I was traveling with, but there were times when the magnitude of place had me on the verge of tears.  Times now are different, but you cannot help but feel overwhelmed at times in the presence of such splendor. 

Sadly, the wine wasn't the highlight of my experiences!  I'd much rather spend a weekend with you people and drink good wine and talk of our experiences than go travel someplace else! 

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Reply by zufrieden, Oct 1.

Your attitude seems most practical.  Travel, like any other activity, should serve a purpose... your purpose, and no one else’s.  Ignore all third-party bucket lists and you’ll be much more content.  Modern travel is big business and it is not having a neutral impact on the world, to put things rather mildly; on many dimensions it is having a resoundingly contrary effect.  On the other hand some travel is useful, and some interest in wanderlust is just a product of the destiny of particular persons.

So for most of us, some travel is good... but not too much, and certainly never to simply fill time and other people’s pockets.

Z.

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Reply by GregT, Oct 1.

"I do have a profound sense of reverence and respect for history and the struggles of the church and state through the years.  I didn't say anything to the people I was traveling with, but there were times when the magnitude of place had me on the verge of tears.  Times now are different, but you cannot help but feel overwhelmed at times in the presence of such splendor."

And horror. The thing is, especially in places like Europe where we have some history, pretty much anywhere you stand you can imagine at some point in the past there were wars, mayhem, tragedies, and who knows what else. In places like Italy where you went, it's humbling to think back and realize that some of those streets and paths were walked or marched on by people from the stone ages, the Roman times, the later medieval times, wars of unification, several world wars, and now today. It's just awe - inspiring.

For me the problem with travel isn't that people get to see and feel the places that they visit, it's that you almost get the impression that people only go anywhere to take selfies of themselves in front of various landmarks or views.

Good trip DV!

Too bad you're not closer! Only way to see you is to travel!

 

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Reply by dvogler, Oct 1.

Yes Greg, I did think of that too.  I guess just knowing how much had happened in those places and how old some of them are.  To know you're in a building that's verging on a thousand years old and is still beautiful.  Now, for you I'd definitely make an exception for travel!  We'll figure something out.

Zuf is moving over to Victoria soon, so he'll be busy.  I have some points I need to use up on a flight.

 

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Reply by duncan 906, Oct 2.

Looks like you had a good time I was in Italy back in June for my nephew's wedding to an Italian girl but I was only there for a weekend and did not see as much as you. She lives,or rather her family lives in the town of Massa on the Tuscan coast north of Pisa

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Reply by dvogler, Oct 2.

We drove through Massa on our way up to Asti.  We also saw several weddings (one in Sienna, one in Asti) and my wife was taking more photos than the bride's hired photographer!  I must admit, a wedding in Italy would be tough to beat on the romance scale!  I think if I return to Europe, England would be my next choice.  The World Cycling Championship (one day race) was in Harrogate, Yorkshire last weekend and the weather was abhorrent.

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Reply by zufrieden, Oct 2.

And believe it or not, there is wine in south England - the Kentish Downs in particular, but elsewhere as well, with vineyards popping up in unlikely places in the same way as experienced in New England, the US Midwest, Ontario and British Columbia.  Try some bubbly if you ever get there... French Champagne houses are pouring money into certain operations in preparation for the (yes, it is happening!) climate change.

As for bicycling, when I lived there, I did not take up the velocipede, but with relatively flat rides and rolling hills coupled with a human-scale countryside you have great options... and there is always a pub just down the road with the usual hearty (but simple) British fare.

As for Italy, well, I'd like to go back and probably will, but there is not a lot of time and many places remain on my list - a list, I hasten to add (in protection against self-contradiction), I only vaguely hold in the back of the mind - something which owes little or nothing in terms of its contents to any commercially determined "bucket list"...

 

Z.

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Reply by dvogler, Oct 2.

Zuf it's okay to have a wish list.  I think that's different from a bucket-list that people put too much emphasis on achieving lest they die unhappy and unfulfilled!  Personally, I'm pretty content with my life and if I get to see England it'll be a bonus.  I'd like to spend a couple weeks in France too, but heck, I'd really like to have a get-together with Snooth guys next year more!

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Reply by zufrieden, Oct 2.

Hopefully that get-together can be arranged.  Getting to that list thing, any list of objectives is, of course, OK - the qualitative distinction being only based here on who made that list and why.  BTW, we are probably postponing our check on the property until a week from today (the 9th).  We move for good on the 23rd. 

I'll be in touch again regarding the details.

Z.

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Reply by JonDerry, Oct 27.

Looks like a good time. Looks like a few good wines along the way with that Ghemme, Gattinara, and Cannubi.

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Reply by dvogler, Oct 28.

Yeah JD, I thought of you and Fox every time I raised a glass!

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Reply by zufrieden, Oct 29.

How about helping resurrect some discussion, JD?  You made a head start with the story of the meeting between you, DM and GT.  I know that the is now a spam wasteland, but I it has precisely zero effect on my communications with the valuable few.  Until the site dies on the vine, I'll continue to use it to link up with old friends and interesting interlocutors.

Cheers,

 

Z.


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