ASIAGO, ITALY — There’s more than cheese in Asiago–but to be fair, it’s still probably the best part.
The views were amazing, especially as we turned off the main highway and started weaving our way up into the foothills.
To be honest, I thought the steepest grades of the Alps and Dolomites were behind us, but apparently we were just getting started.
Soon the road slimmed to just enough room to get by the sweating bikers. The switchbacks can with more regularity and harder angles. When the grade hit 30 degrees and the single lane tunnels drilled into the limestone became the expectation, not the rule, it was already too late.
But somehow we made it up–both the little car’s gearbox and my dad somehow in one piece–and caught our breath overlooking the vast valley below.
After that heart dropping drive, the drop down into the foothills was easy. We rolled into Asiago — larger, busier and more prosperous than I imagined — during what must have been the lunch rush. People were everywhere.
We walked about town and took it all in. Despite the orderly nature of things, it was apparent that we had finally gone far enough — this was definitely Italy.
Any questions in German received odd stares. No longer could you peruse Die Zeit in the newspaper stands.
We found a little cafe and set about enjoying the Italianness with a large, sweating carafe of cold white wine and a series of pizzas that took up most of the table.
The ingredients were fresh and odd (fried polenta on a pizza?), but no surprise at how delicious the meal was.
Overall, Asiago was the perfect stopover in a long drive.
A definitive breaking away of Germany that we missed on the other side of the granite cliffs. And despite the fact we didn’t run into any long lost cousins, it was a special opportunity to stand in the place where years ago our family decided to leave everything they knew and try for something better. To give me the hope for something better.
…and the cheese was great to boot.