To get to Alba, instead of three train changes and a six hour journey, we decided to try out a car service known as Daytrip. We were able to relax in a comfortable vehicle, avoided hauling our suitcases through the train stations and up and down stairs and we were dropped off right in front of our airbnb in Alba.
Our driver, Andrea, met us at the Milano Centrale train station. The plan was to drive to Alba with two brief stops along the way – one in Pavia and one in Asti. More on that later. The entire journey would take about 4 hours, including the stops. Andrea told us about the towns and sites all along the way, making the time zip by.
Our first stop was in Pavia at the Ponte Coperto (“Covered Bridge”). It is a stone and brick arch bridge over the Ticino River in Pavia, Italy. It also happened to be in Andrea’s home town. He said it was the first time he had ever driven someone who wanted to stop in his town. He was able to tell us all about Pavia before we reached the bridge.
Sue and I walk around the area a little bit and walked across to the other side for some pictures. You could really see how low the water level was and could actually see remnants of the original Roman bridge that had stood there. The bridge has been rebuilt over the years, the last time being in 1951 after being bombed during WWII.
And then there is the legend…
On Christmas Eve in 999, a few pilgrims wanted to attend the midnight mass in town but, because of the thick fog, their boats could not cross the river. Suddenly, a man in red clothes arrived, and he promised that he would immediately build a bridge in exchange for the first soul crossing the bridge. That man was the devil, and he was recognized only by the Archangel Michael, who had arrived from the church nearby. Michael pretended to accept the deal; however, once the bridge was built, a goat crossed it first foiling the Devil’s plan to take a pilgrim’s soul. The bridge therefore also became known as Ponte del Diavolo (“Devil’s Bridge”).
Our second stop was in the town of Asti. For you wine drinkers, Asti is the neighbor to Alba and both are known for their Barbera wines. However, on this day we were stopping to visit the Asti Cathedral, not to taste wines.
The cathedral is beautiful, large and was closed during siesta hours. It would be a forty minute wait until it re-opened, so we made the executive decision to just take some outside photos and then continue on.
The final portion of the ride took about a half hour and Andrea dropped us off right at the door. Since were staying in an Airbnb, I had to get the key and Andrea insisted on staying there with Sue until I returned – a Real Gentleman!
So in summary, Sue and I thought Daytrip was terrific. Great service, comfortable vehicle – there are choices, we went with the luxury class, and our driver was wonderful. We’ll be using them again when we travel from Alba to the Cinque Terre.