Barolo view town castle path

Map in the mud

I drafted a blog a few weeks ago about an amazing map I’d just bought which shows all the vineyard walking paths in the Langhe. I quite like maps you see, and this is a really good map, so I thought it deserved to be written about. But then I reread the blog and realised that it was ridiculously dull. I tried to jazz it up a bit, I even gave it the headline “Walking in a vintner wonderland’, which I was overly proud of, but there was nothing I could do to save it. It was dreadful.

Having decided the map was no good for writing about, (or perhaps I was no good for writing about the map) I decided to use it as a map instead, and found a nice circular walk to the east of Barolo for Otto and I to try out.

Vines Langhe path walk map
Pretty much the perfect vineyard track. Why wasn’t it all like this!?

Things started out well, the path heading steeply up into the woods before eventually opening out into a long vineyard track promising great views out across the vines to Barolo. Except that just before reaching the vineyard it got a bit muddy. This wasn’t your normal, sticky mud though, this was slippery, icy, Bambi-flail-inducing mud. And I flailed. My feet were flying everywhere, searching in vain for the tiniest hint of any grip. But there was none. I was going down. I reached out, grabbing at weeds, at grass, at branches that weren’t attached to anything, but nothing could separate me from my rather muddy, undignified destiny.

Getting back up was no mean feat either; I fell at least another three times as I tried to clamber to my feet, though I’m officially counting it all as one fall, in case anyone asks.

Five minutes later, on the relative safety of the dry vineyard track, I started scraping the mud off my legs and arms. I had to walk back through the town, past bars crammed with tourists enjoying their Sunday evening aperitivi and I didn’t want to scare anyone.

Barolo view town castle path
Looking west towards Barolo from the safe, dry path

It was then that it hit me. The map was gone. My new favourite map. My only ever favourite map! It must have slipped out of my pocket when I fell.

I retraced my steps back down into the woods to look for it; I couldn’t just abandon it. And sure enough, there it was, lying in a muddy heap next to a mess of footprints, handprints, knee prints and what looked suspiciously like an imprint of my face. But I couldn’t get anywhere near it. I tried hooking it with a stick and in a moment of desperation I even tried getting Otto to retrieve it, but he just looked at me like I was mad and trotted back up to dry land.

So that’s it, the map’s gone, and so is the map blog. Although I guess this has now been a blog about a map. Has it been dull? Maybe a little, but you should have read my earlier effort.

walk path langhe castle vineyard
New meets old: Cascina Adelaide in front of the castle

36 thoughts on “Map in the mud

    1. I’m glad you didn’t… it wasn’t graceful! I was pretty confident I could find a way around it, but everywhere I put my feet down was even more slippery. One day, when you guys come to visit we’ll head up there after some rain. We’ll make Richard go first though…

  1. This map was obviously meant to be lost particularly as it put you in a near death situation. If your vineyards are anything like ours they will be slimy clay in wet weather and definately a no go area! I hope you weren’t hurt, but I have to say, I bet you looked hillarious trying to get up…..

    1. Haha… good point. I was going to buy another one, but maybe I won’t now! Yep, it’s the slimy, wet clay. Everywhere had dried out though, or I so I thought… I’m only glad there was nobody around to see me!

  2. I’m sorry you fell over, but I had a good laugh at your expense 🙂 That was a very good map post, and the photos are beautiful.
    You didn’t tell us that the Telly-tubbies live nearby – sneaky! It must be noisy with all those showerhead loudspeakers shouting “time to say goodbye”. Do you have giant Monty Python rabbits and a huge baby faced giggling sun every morning?

    1. Shhhh… We don’t want everyone knowing about our neighbours or people will only visit us to see our creepy giggling sun! I love that the Cantina boasts about its groundbreaking design yet strangely doesn’t mention they ripped off a childrens tv programme!

  3. What a great post! I have to say, I would of loved to hear about the various walks we could take around your beautiful area in Italy. But this was written in such a way that I felt as if I was there seeing it all happen. Thank you for taking us with you on your walk. I hope you didn’t get hurt. I ALMOST feel guilty about how much you made me laugh!!!

    1. Thanks, fortunately only my pride was hurt, though I was able to find it pretty funny at the time too, so no need to feel almost guilty. There was just no way of not falling over! There’s plenty more time for me to tell you about the walks, and they might atually be more interesting now I no longer have a map!

  4. I thought being British, you would have one of those plastic envelope/container thingies, with a rope round your neck, which hold maps, that any good rambler should have. Sorry had to laugh about your fall in tha mud…. what is that underground house in the last picture, all covered in grass?

    1. Ha ha… I have a friend who has one of those things! Maybe if I had those walking stick things, like ski poles, I would have been ok! That building is a winery, it’s pretty incredible, must try to get inside some time, to take photos as well as try the wine!

      1. aaaahahhahah yes those walking stick things in PN “summer skiing post”… 😉 . Yes I think we all want to know more about that winery building, go get drunk and take some pictures. Or rather take pictures first, then get drunk…

  5. ……….but what WAS the map ? We are going on a walking holiday based from Alba next month, and that sounds exactly the map I’m after. I would be very very grateful if you could remember what it was called or even where we could buy it. If we do get one, I’ll do my very best to make it muddy.
    Thanks in anticipation

    1. Hi Harry,
      You can buy the map in the tourist office in Alba. It’s called something like Walking (or Vineyard) Trails in Langhe and Roero. Sorry I can’t remember the exact name, but if you go in there and ask for a map of vineyard walks, they will have it. It covers the whole of the Langhe and has information on there about all the trails (difficulty/altitude/stuff about the villages). It costs 6 Euros I think. Other than that, there’s one you can have that’s in a muddy puddle somewhere to the west of Barolo 😉

      Glad to hear you’re heading to Alba… let me know if you need any information or advice and I’ll do my best to help!

  6. I look at the pictures you post and it makes me want to come back to the Langhe region. I bet the summer is getting into full swing now.

    1. So true… I think being clumsy is the key though. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, there always seems to be a way to either fall over or break something, or sometimes both!

  7. Hi, thanks for the informative blog! My wife and I are going to be staying in Barolo in August and want to do as much vineyard hiking as possible, but I have been searching high and low for a decent map of the trails. Do you have a recommendation on where to get such a map? Will we have to wait to get to Barolo?

    1. Hi, thanks for your message. There is a map by the Italian Geographic Society that you can get on Amazon, if you can’t find it just let me know and I’ll send you link. The best map, however, I’ve only ever seen in this area, they sell it in all the tourist information offices and a few bookshops. Have a great trip!

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