The towns of Gabiano and Vercelli, Italy -- Motorbike trip ~ Romancing Italy

Oct 24, 2008

The towns of Gabiano and Vercelli, Italy -- Motorbike trip

Photo courtesy fuzzy_logik
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It's mid October and in the foothills of the Alps every passing day can be our last day of sunshine and warmth. With that thought and the threat of menacing grey clouds hovering overhead, I take every opportunity to go for a motorbike ride to feel the thrill before it's time to put it to rest for the winter.

This past Sunday we met up with another couple and after a rather slow start to the day, we pointed our noses in the direction of Alba and let the miles fall behind us.

We were following our friend who had the map, so it came as something of a surprise that after a few hours, we were nowhere near Alba. Hmmm.

Thank goodness just about all the roads in Italy take you to somewhere interesting. This time Gabiano was on the menu, by default.

We passed through flat, agricultural lands at first, with an already narrow road reducing it's girth into a one lane road. One would think it was a good thing to be on a bike, but cars, coming from the other direction, tended to still take the entire road as if we didn't even exist. Fortunately, they were few and far between.

The road eventually wound itself up the side of a little hill. I looked up and saw a castle (Castello di Gabiano, above) perched on the top and a wall running its measure midway down the side. I like the feeling of going back in time whenever I see these beautiful buildings and I imagine soldiers and ladies in waiting, dressed in fine garments. We didn't stop to see the castle as I'd hoped (if I were alone, it would have been a sure thing) but instead, a little further up the road, we stopped for lunch at the Locanda del Rubino.

Once seated, another surprise awaited us. No menu was offered: when the waiter came around, we either accepted or rejected the course. I lost count as to how many plates of food were brought before us. It started with cut meats and continued with a specialty meat dish that I could not stomach (ground raw meat). My friends LOVE this dish; I was thinking I'd have to down half the bottle of wine in order to swallow one bite.

More food came... potato salad, risotto, polenta, meat, grilled vegetables ...and like idiots, we accepted just about everything they brought. Near the end, and almost bursting, I realized that we could have accepted just one of each category, it's just...well, we didn't know just what was coming next or not. Had we known, we could have made our choices in advance, but I must admit, there was an adventure and suspense waiting to see what was going to appear next from under the covered plate.

Photo courtesy fuzzy_logik
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It was at this little rest spot that we discovered that we were nowhere near Alba and its surrounding hills but we decided that the map would at least come in handy for the ride back home. Sometimes it is nice to drift to nowhere in particular. Our ride back home took us through Vercelli where we stopped to take part in the evening passeggiata past some very expensive stores.

Detail of a store front; a mix of the ancient and modern

View in Vercelli

Back at home and writing this, I realize that there is more to this day than first thought. Life is very perplex and many times confusing. It would be nice to know what choices to make in advance. However, the pleasure I had waiting to see what food was coming next can also be my experience in everyday living. What will I choose this time? What does the day have in store for me? What adventure, in food, in love, at work will I experience? It's just a little twist in perspective that makes the whole view different.

Along with that idea is that since life, like the weather here, is very uncertain and I don't know when I will really be seeing my last sunshine; I should make the most of this day and every day.

What do you think?


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