I should have put a final word on this earlier but I had a hard time managing free time for a while and my travels took me from Atlantic crossings to cross-country flights and more. I just wanted to tell a little bit about our last day in Italy.
Saturday July 12th was actually my 41st birthday but no one really knew in our small group, which is fine as I don't always like "public" display of attention. :-)
On Saturday, Paolo and the company had rented bikes for us and planned a cool bike trip through Italy. Although I was really keen on the Yamaha at first, due to my bad knee I ended up riding the very comfortable Kawasaki Versys. A nice 650 twin with a bit of dual-bike design influence.
Paolo rode his BMW and Mark took the Yam. In order to reach the Mediterranean Sea, we jumped on the highway from Alessandria to Genova. A pretty fast bit of road where I saw myself often locked at 150 kph. The max comfortable speed before the bike went into too much vibration. Of course I wished that I was on a Desmosedici at that point.
From Genova - which is not a really pretty city but rather industrious with a busy harbor - we headed West along the coast. Passed the beautiful Riviera towns of Varazze, Savona, then jumped on the coast road taking us through the amazing little town of Noli and stopped for lunch at Loano. Parked the bikes, found a beach restaurant and chilled out...
It is funny how the olfactive memory works and how smells bring back things. When we got on the coastal road, in the town of Savona, I was suddenly taken by an old smell I hadn't experienced for a long time. A smell that brought me back to the beaches of the French Riviera where I spent many vacations, growing up. This mix of sea, tanning oil, beach restaurant, see food, dried seaweed.
After lunch we mounted our many horses and rode back to Alessandria, but this time going through small country roads that took us through the beautiful region of Cairo Montenotte, Ponzone, Acqui Terme. I wish I had a video camera inserted in my eyes and would have the ability to film at will. Memories.
We had dinner in another great restaurant, in Alessandria. Good wine for a 41st. The city was invaded by bikers from all over Europe and further who took over the old town for the yearly Madonna of the Centaurus rally. Very wild I have to say.
That night we drove to Milano for a quick hotel night before our flight back to Chicago.
For more photos, check this Picasa album: