We'd travelled from the hill town of Orvieto north to Bobbio which isn't exactly a tourist destination. It was actually a visit to a historical site about which my daughter had written an article. Once we saw the St Columbanus Abbey, we headed on to the Parc Olimpia which was only a dozen or so miles by GPS. We hadn't factored in the change in altitude which was significant. We crawled higher and higher up the mountain, white-knuckling to the inside of the switch back road and praying for no oncoming traffic. Dusk was quickly descending just to add to the state of panic. Trusty GPS got us almost there, but with a catch: we could see the hotel across the road; a road which was completely blocked due to several dozen yards of one lane having crumbled down the mountain. Thankfully we were able to call and in broken Italian explain our predicament to the lady at the desk. All I understood was "wait." A few minutes later, our intrepid inn keeper arrived around a circuitous back road to escort us to the hotel.
What we found exceeded our expectations. This is a ski spa hotel, first and foremost. The mountain setting is breathtaking. The lobby is simple but elegant. We were shown our rooms, which were far more luxurious than we expected. A big comfy king bed with down comforter and a huge bath with impossibly thick towel were just two of the many things that bowled us over.
We were tired and needed a meal. An attentive and enthusiastic waitstaff were at our beck and call. There were only a few locals at the restaurant and they were friendly since I guess we were a bit amusing to everyone since travellers don't usually come here mid week and off season. The waiter suggested that the chef put together a family meal for the three of us. Again, expectations were exceeded by a mile. Fluffy home made gnocchi, flank steak grilled on a clay tile and a salad of field greens cromprised a completely memorable and satisfying meal, accompanied by a house red and prosecco to complement tira misu.
After sleeping the sleep of the just, we enjoyed a simple and typical light Italian breakfast. If we had the time, we would have planned to stay a few hours to enjoy a spa treatment or two. Milan was just a couple scenic hours away and we were on the road. We'll always remeber it as the night we knew we would die driving off the edge of a mountain but arrived at a delighful hotel instead!
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