You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
We were visiting the Veneto region north of Venice earlier this spring, and we've just been back to see some more of what we missed farther south. Now we're going home.
The sightseeing excursion is nearly over, and we're checking out of the Locanda Ca' Vejo, technically in Megliadino San Vitale, province of Padua, but actually 3.5 kilometres out to the south in the flat canal countryside.
The restaurant, specializing in fish, is fine, and we ate there every night except for their off night, when we accompanied our hosts to a pizzeria half an hour to the south.
Ca' Vejo back in the day
The overflow room, in the base of the tower
A friendly peacock . . .
. . . whose name is Giorgio, like our host.
Free range peacock
The autostrada near Vicenza -- bumper-to-bumper on the eastbound side, poor sods.
Still no movement on the eastbound side. Poor sods.
Erm, lots of brake lights on the westbound . . .
. . . but only temporarily.
Hurtling past the Verona exit
The southern route around Milan, and a rest stop near Piacenza. The Via Francigena refers to the medieval pilgrim route to Rome and Apulia from France and northern Europe -- since its tourist value took off about 20 years or so, it's beginning to look like every place was on the Via Francigena.
We're off the autostrada and going north from Alessandria into the outback. There's our turnoff for Lu.
Right-of-way courtesies for the local residents
Lu in the distance
Lu is one of the many hilltop towns of the Piedmont east of Torino -- in this case, 14km northwest of Alessandria and 15km due south of Casale Monferrato.
We're here to visit the Cantina Sociale, as usual -- going to get us some of that vini tipici locali.
Entering downtown Lu. For more views of Lu, we included quite a few at the time of our first visit here.
The lovely Cantina Sociale, a local wine cooperative from the early 20th century
There's plenty here for everyone.
The proprieter is boxing up a carload for us, and now . . .
. . . we just have to wedge it all into our cute little Volvo.
Northward through the villages to join the autostrada A26 (E25) at Casale Monferrato Sud
Downtown Settimo Vittone just north of Ivrea, our regular stopping place at the foot of the Aosta Valley. Our accommodation is in the Castello up on the hillside.
The old castello, most of it out of use, is on the left (our B+B L'Ospitalità del Castello is just behind that) and the 9th century baptistery is on the right.
Up the hill to the Castello
-- Bring up the luggage, will you, hon?
The view from our favorite room, one of three in the B+B
The 9th century pieve of San Lorenzo
This is Melvin the Doge's first trip with the present team, and his second visit to the Ospitalità del Castello, following on from a week ago.
Melvin challenging that strange cat in the mirror.
Melvin is fascinated by computers. Mostly how to change their configurations, when you're not looking, by prancing on the keyboards, so vigilance is required.
Still obsessing about that strange cat
Melvin turned out to be a trouble-free automobile traveler, and is now looking forward to a two-hour trajet over the Gd St-Bernard to home.