We woke to the sound of rain but it’s a travel day, so it was fine. We made coffee and had the leftover bread for toast, then packed up. While packing we heard the hound dogs barking, again. We thought last night that they were hunting dogs, as we saw some men with the dogs and carrying guns. Watching them in the fields today, it seems that their job is to just chase birds and other pests aware from the grape plants. Here is a video of them running on the road, but for some reason we lost the sound track.
Leaving the Cuneo province, we agreed that we would come back. It was quiet and charming, and all those vineyards! We drove for 45 minutes to Asti to go to an Aldi grocery store – we use them in the US and wanted to see the difference here. It wasn’t much bigger than ours but in addition to groceries, they carried some clothes and even tools. We bought a couple things then went on to a large Co-op grocery to get coffee pods for our machine at home (so much cheaper), green olives (we’re really going to miss them), pastas that we can’t get at home, chocolate, and snacks for the kid in all of us!
We stopped at a Caffeteria Pilone (just a small coffee shop) for cappuccinos and jam-filled croissants – ate them in the car and made a terrible mess. Realizing we had too much time (couldn’t check in till 1500 in Milan), we drove to see what downtown Asti was like and found an outdoor market that went on for blocks. We scoped it out – bought kitchen towels and cute little umbrellas for our two grandbabies.
Back at the car, we drove using the Autostrada (tollway) to Milano in the rain. The line to wait to pay at the toll plaza was a crazy 30 minutes – the Italian drivers did a bit of line hopping – they are the Worst at taking their turn (we learned that on a cruise in a food line).
Our plan was to drop Linda and the luggage at the Airbnb before check-in and allow Dave to return the rental car at the train station. That worked out pretty well – Linda sat in the living room while Dave took the car back and the housecleaner finished the bathroom. The apartment, second floor AND an elevator, is very nice and is about a fifteen-minute walk to the Duomo di Milano (the cathedral, Milan’s most famous landmark).
Once Dave returned, we walked to the Duomo, passing shops, gelaterias and throngs of people, mostly tourists and tour groups. We hadn’t eaten much today but one of Milan’s claims to fame are their ‘aperitivo happy hours’ – some of the bars even have buffets of food and try to outdo each other! We settled for a well-known place called Camparino – all the drinks were Campari-based (bitter orange) and included a selection of five appetizer bites: crunchy green olives, pesto pastry, fish mousse in a small pastry boat, chili-spiced roasted almonds, and a tiny yeast bun with rosemary salt. Dave had a Boulevardier and Linda had a Garibaldi. This bar had a view of the Duomo and the crowd heading into the Galleria, the famous designer mall (Prada, Armani, Dior, Yves St. Laurent etc.).
When we finished, we walked through the mall and out the side, watching people enjoy the Piazza there and taking photos/selfies. We walked through a few shops, looking for nothing. We rarely shop in stores anymore, so it was kind of fun. As we headed back to the apartment, Dave suggested we stop for gelato – had to get the dairy group in since it felt like all we’d had today was carbs. Dave had cheesecake raspberry and a very strong lemon; Linda had salted caramel and almond-hazelnut chocolate.
Back at the apartment, we worked on the blog and talked a bit about the next two days – we are winding down and looking forward to heading home.
If you would like to see more detail on the pictures or a couple we didn’t include, you can click here: 2022-10-09 Mango to Milan.