Wine Road Trip - Day 2 & 3
round 5:30 pm I set off from Barolo, thinking that driving on the motorway would not be that bad in the dark, no approaching car lights blinding me. However, I was regretting not being able to see the dramatic landscapes of the Italian Riviera while catching glimpses of the Mediterranean Sea in the sunset while driving along the A 10 towards France. The name Ventimiglia had sounded interesting so I had booked a hotel there within 50 metres of the beach. It was smooth driving until I got closer to the coast. Half way down to Savona I was hit by some rain, lots of rain actually. Now, if you think that there are a lot of tunnels in Switzerland, think again. I was glad to be driving through about 49 of them (I lost count after 37) on the 110 km stretch from Savona to Ventimiglia. I thus found out that, in heavy rain and darkness, tunnels are wonderful: light and dry. However, you do need to brace yourself for the assault of rain crashing down on your windscreen as soon as you shoot out of the tunnel. It scared the shit out of me the first time, also, because for a split second you seem to be plunged in total darkness until your vision and the windscreen wipers adapt.
I was completely soaked by the time I had lugged my suitcase out of the car and rolled it to the near hotel entrance; forget the umbrella in this storm. The hotel had just been modernised and the room still smelled a little like the inside of a new IKEA piece of furniture. But again, the bed was absolutely divine! The hotel’s dining room was in a different building right on the beach. To get to it you had to go through an underpass under the railroad along the seafront. Thank God I took the car, I would have needed knee high wellies make it through said underpass with dry feet.
All night the storm raged and kept the curtains billowing into the room. In spite of all the wine and rain it was an unusually warm night an I had kept the terrace door open in hope to hear the waves over the downpour.
arly the next day I was greeted by a beautiful pink sunrise. After one last typical Italian breakfast, capuccio & pasta (pasta as in dough for pastries not noodles) I set off on the famous road “Aurelia” taking me into France right next to the waterfront passing through Menton and other seaside towns where waves were nearly bathing the streets.
Near Monaco I went back to the motorway and continued towards my goal the winery of Eric Mari: in Minervois. Another one of my favorite wines at Rindchen’s Weinkontor where I used to work for 6 six years.
Over the next 450 km rain and more rain. But it seemed that I was driving away from it towards drier areas. When I left the motorway „La Langedocienne“ just past Montpellier it was merely overcast. Later I learned that I actually had been quite lucky with my travel date, avoiding more torrential rains on the French Riviera. The next day weather reports said that 85 mm of rain had fallen in Menton and as much as 120 mm in Nice within 24 hours.