Mongolia Rally Diary – day 3. Passing the Alps and visiting a rice farm.

We had a morning walk in Annecy before we continued the journey. It is truly a charming city! Omelets and cappuccino at La Belle Epoque made the perfect start of the day, followed by a walk in the park by the lake Annecy – the second largest lake in France. The lake was formed around 18 000 years ago when the large alpine glaciers melted, and the lake is fed by rivers from several large mountains in the area. It is also known as “Europe’s cleanest lakes” due to strict environmental restrictions introduced already in the 1960´s.  The shore of the lake in the city is a really nice area to have a stroll, to sit down on a bench to relax – or you can have a trip by a boat, which there is a wide selection of.

We continued the travel crossing over from Chamonix in France over to Aosta Valley in Italy by the Mont Blanc tunnel. This is one of the major transport routes crossing the Alps under the great Mont Blanc. It is pretty impressive: 11 611 meters of tunnel was built from 1957 to 1965 – using 711 tons of explosives to remove 550 000 cubic meters of rock!

We got the first glimpse of the mountain villages in Italy in between several tunnels, and we continued directly to the Vercelli area of Italy outside Torino to see how Superbra risotto is produced. We are sponsored by Superbra, and one of our tasks on the trip is to take photos of the risotto and the muesli in all the countries on our route. We got a warm welcome by the rice farm owner Gianluca, and he showed us around on the fields and in the production facilities, and explained us how he do the production. The farm was established by his grandfather in the late 40´s, and they grow around 500 hectare of rice fields. They produce ten different types of rice – and they also make risotto blends for their own brand and for Superbra.

After some hours on the country side and sunburnt shoulders we continued to Bianzè, a small town with less than one thousand housing units in the north west of Italy. We had a light and late lunch on a local café – the waitress was kind and made us some sandwiches since none of the restaurants in town served food during the siesta. The locals was surprised to see tourists in town, and we had a nice chat with the one person who spoke English there, and we tried to have a chat with the ones who didn´t.

We stayed one night in Torino, but we didn´t take the time to see much of the city. We went out for dinner in the neighborhood of where we lived – the neon signs outside was not very inviting, but the big stone oven inside convinced us. We did the right thing by sitting down, I had a delicious pizza with spinach and ricotta – a lovely ending of a long day!

About the Author Elin

I´m an Oslo based web publisher with passion for communication, travel and a green lifestyle. When I travel, I prefer to go slow, sustainable, and “live like a local”. Why slow? It is about challenging the cult of speed, and to enjoy the small things in life and to live in the present.

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