The Hotel Valsesia ( valley of the river Sesia ) was in a 1950’s time warp. Dark and a little musty with its wiring of variable quality and certainly all on show. In its favour it was relatively warm with Garibaldi era radiators, clean and quiet we being the only guests. The owner and his wife were enthusiastic in their welcome and we were brought up sharp by our almost total absence of Italian. A few words of French, Spanish and English escape our lips, but Italian would have been more use. We are working on it.
We wandered around the attractive well kept city. As is usual in a new country the mind gets going on comparisons. Differences between here and home or Spain. There is definitely a Latin style shared with Spain. We settled on an early evening drink in one of the thousands of cafes. Chocolate shop and cafe, cheese shop and cafe, ice cream shop and cafe, bar and cafe. You are never far from a cafe. This one was a bar. Along with the drinks a large tray of Spanish style tapas also appear. Ellen was enthusiastic about this development, especially as they were gratis. Cafes don’t serve meals so we went to an excellent pizzeria just down the road. Prosecco was served by the carafe, again Ellen approved. All looking good so far.
Just a little quiz. In the spirit of radio four the unbelievable truth, which of the following statements is untrue..
- There are a lot of cafes.
- There are even more handbag shops.
- Not many training shoes to be seen.
- Everything is very expensive.
- We spent the night in a Police station.
- Lorry drivers are very polite to pilgrims.
- There are no fast food chains at all.
All will be revealed in a later post.