Poppies were in bloom, birds were chirping, and the river was moving fast. And Don graciously kept us to a slow pace.
But I didn't know until I arrived that Alba is in the middle of wine country!! Hearty, intense, dry, velvety red wine!!!
Asti and Alba are the two commercial towns in the area, and had a 1000 year feud over control of the vast vineyards (and feudal rent that they paid).
Alba was founded 1000 years ago and has a cathedral that dates back to 1200 and dozens of 14th century structures. The town has a long enclosed pedestrian mall which is filled with strolling people every night. The film festival was on while I was there, to be followed by the Alba music festival. Fabulous food.
I think Don got tired of my saying "Pat should be here!" Between the wine, the truffles, the organic vegetables, Italian cuisine, and Monaco just a drive away, this is a chef's dream come true.
Our wine tour started with Neive. I'm still wondering how a Macedonian Orthodox church ended up in ancient Neive, but we stopped and admired the 800 year old building. Barbaresco just reeks with charm. There is a 14th century chapel in Barbaresco that was converted (with lots of care) to a wine cellar. I tried some of the 2004 Barbaresco there. Would have loved to spend the afternoon eating and drinking.