La Spezia to Piava

After breakfast Dave went to the market to get rolls for lunch and we packed up and left by 9:30. We made use of the cars built in satnav and headed for Cinque Terre. 


There are olive groves and grape vines clinging to the slopes of the mountains. We passed a little open car train that takes you up into the park, and moving carriages that take the harvest baskets down the mountain. The road at Vernazza is closed due to needing repairs after the flood!  We drove on a very narrow mountain pass for a 20 minute detour and joined the ‘main’ road which was just as narrow but with no barriers. We eventually got onto a double road about 10km before Levanto. We stopped in Levanto for coffee and fuel. From the top of the mountain it looks like there is a nice beach in Levanto. We passed a man filling up water bottles from the fresh mountain water that’s freely and easily available through most of Italy. The scenery here is unreal. We drove into Sestre Levante, past via Baden Powell and headed toward Pavia. It was very built up most of the way with plenty of speed traps. We stopped in Calvari for espresso and had lunch on the side of the road. We drove through Tortona, across the 45′ parallel and the River Po. In Pavia there was a market blocking the one road we were meant to go down. We drove to look at an agritourisma place but it didn’t look good and was way out of town. We chose an hotel in the old city but the car’s satnav also doesn’t know the one way streets. After close to an hour of driving around we discovered the hotel doesn’t exist. We chose one close to the station, found parking and the Hotel Aurora had a room for the night. After relaxing for a bit we walked to the old city and got gelato. Pistacchio for Dave and cioccalato for me. We went to the Duomo which was commissioned by the Sforza family in 1488 and finished in 1930. We had prosecco and snacks behind the Duomo at Loft10 Lounge Caffe and walked back to the hotel. 

We decided to walk to Riatorante Peo for dinner which is right next to the hotel. I had ravioli di brasato Gatto di Peo alla Piemontese and Dave had the baccalà con vongole veraci, gamberetti e julienne di zuchine. I had storica torta al cioccalato di Peo for dessert and Dave had an espresso. We enjoyed a bottle of Pino Grigio from a local estate and had artisanal grappa after our meal. The man who makes it makes six or seven bottles a year. It was a straw colour, smooth after dinner drink. The bill came to €61 without gratuity.

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