Our friend Pamella gave us this fantastic little guide book for bike rides in Umbria, and yesterday we followed a 52km route that started in the ancient town of Gubbio, then went straight up and through the very dramatic Bottaccione Gorge where the large iridium deposits are of interest to geologists who theorize that a meteor may have hit the area contributing to the extinction of dinosaurs.
By the time we got to the peak of the Bottaccione Pass, before lunch, I was wondering if it would contribute to our extinction! Not to worry, we found a scruffy but very satisfying trattoria in Scheggia, with the unlikely name of El Paso Ristorante. What makes a trattoria scruffy? A very stained placemat, lasagne that is falling off the plate and canned green beans. But, when you are very hungry and it’s the only gig in town, these little things can be ignored. Besides, Jeff truly has a thing for canned green beans, and the lasagne may have been just thrown onto the plate, but the pasta was homemade and it was delicious.
Following our trusty guidebook we rode up and around some extraordinary roads with absolutely awe-inspiring views. We rode across a simple stone bridge that had been bombed by the Germans in 1944 and rebuilt 3 years later. You have to wonder, why bother blowing up a bridge where hardly anyone every goes? But, when you look down, far down below, there is a gorge so narrow your shoulders wouldn’t pass through, and you start to understand the strategic importance of that little bridge.
After huffing back up and over the Bottaccione Pass, in a thunderstorm, it was time for a glass of wine and a spot of sun in Gubbio. Those little bits of fresh pizza goodness totally hit the spot as we tried to dry our very wet shoes and cold feet. Then we stuck around and wandered the oldest section of Gubbio and remembered that this is the city that made us fall in love with Umbria.
Then it was onto a completely satisfying dinner at a trattoria that looks exactly your idea of a fantasy Italian trattoria. Nothing earthshaking coming out of the kitchen, just good, solid cooking. What more could you ask for at the end of such a wonderful day?? Well, maybe a hot shower!
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