Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Girl Can't Help But Celebrate!

We have been enjoying exploring the area of Friuli Venezia Guila.  Most of our time has been spent in the Colio wine region in and around Cividale.  It is in the foothills of the mountains and about 60 km from the sea.

The roads in this region beckon to be ridden.  They twist and turn, ascend and descend with a surprise over every knoll.  The hillsides are besieged with vineyards producing multiple types of wines, chianti, chardonnay, prossecco, the list goes on. 

There are villas, castles, and buildings that have seen borders change, families migrating to stay with their homelands, or becoming absorbed in new cultures and language as they stay with their land. 
The Slovenian border is a hop, skip, and a jump from Cividale and the last time I crossed the border it was in to communist Yugoslavia and a much different experience.  Now the border crossings are marked with signs beckoning cyclists to cross over, the guard houses are all boarded up and starting to get swallowed up by nature, no longer being manned by uniformed agents loaded down with machine guns.
The terrain changes too with roads heading straight in to the mountains, forest replacing vineyards and farm houses replacing villages.  This was the reason I wanted to scope out a cycling trip in this region, the diversity of the terrain.  Within 100 km there are flat roads heading to sea, hilly roads through wineries, false flats in the foothills of the mountains, twisty roads up cat 4 ascents, and of course the snow capped mountains for an epic journey.  There is terrain here for cyclists of all abilities, with 360 degree views of beauty with every blink of the eye.

On our return in to Italy we came across brand new pavement and were reminded of the Rally Car races that were happening the next day.  We had to check that out!

I’ve had lots of opportunities to practice my Italian on this trip and I’ve discovered that my understanding of food and directions is pretty good, anything more in-depth than that and I struggle for words and sentence composition; looks like I'll be enrolling in an Italian class before coming back next year.  We asked some official looking people where a good place to watch the Rally would be and headed out to stake out a spectator spot.  These cars are crazy!  You hear them coming way before you see them and they go up on 3 wheels as they squeal around the corners, it was pretty exciting to watch.  There were 2 categories, modern and historical, both exciting to watch!

With all the excitement over the past week a girl can’t help but celebrate!

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