We hadn't ridden far when a couple on the side of the road beckoned us to pull over. The wind was strong and the sun was hot, so when they suggested we head to their house for a drink we were happy for the delay. Primo and Michela were leaving in days for a short cycling holiday in Denmark and wanted to chat to us about our experiences.
We chatted over glasses of ice cold water, and soon Primo's mother was putting bread and cheese and meat in front of us, then the spaghetti was on the table... followed by salad, fruit and lemon sorbet. All the while we talked happily about bike riding in the mountains, Michela's 800km pilgrimage in Spain a few years earlier and their two dogs. We spent a few happy hours in their home before reluctantly hitting the road again. We wanted to make it to Ivrea that day and still had over 70km to go.
Battling the usual headwinds, although not as strong as we've often experienced, we made it late in the day. The mosquitoes were still a problem so we stopped at a run-down looking hotel, hoping for a reasonable price.
The elderly man running the place said we could stay for 55 euro with breakfast, plus he would cook us a meal that night and we could use the internet - even though technically the cafe area was closed (it seemed we were the only guests).
His son and his family were kind to us - helping us find somewhere for the bikes and making sure we had enough to eat and drink. It seemed that just as we were 100km from the Swiss border, we were beginning to really enjoy Italy.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia