It’s that time again as Members took part in the double triangular reunion of Rotarians, so called because it brings together Members from six different Rotary Clubs. Ten Members of our club including wives represented us at this year’s reunion in Alba, Italy – Pat and Carol Rothon, Les and Val Sheppard, Malcolm and Sue Acors, and Michael Dunne, Steve King, Brian Wellman and Peter Greene. President Roger Kettle had to withdraw due to unforeseen circumstances at the last moment. They were hosted by the Rotary Club of Alba and were joined by Members of the Rotary Club of Basildon, the Rotary Club of Beausoleil (France), the Rotary Club of Ovada (Italy) and for the first time, the Rotary Club of Sant Cugat in Spain.
Thursday September 7 : Arrival at Turin airport, transportation to our hotel, and evening reunion meal in Alba.
Friday September 8 : Visit two historic Castles followed by evening reception at a local vineyard, aperitifs, evening meal singing and dancing
Saturday September 9 : Market day in Alba, Business meeting and Truffle Hunt. Gala Dinner at Barolo vineyard
Sunday September 10 : Morning free followed by final lunch and transport to the airport.
The detail of what we did during our reunion with our “Double Triangular” Rotarians in Alba is in our newsletter and its pull-out supplement, available elsewhere on tis website. But what impressions did it really make? We asked Steve King, who was participating for the very first time, to comment as a “First Timer”
I have only been a member of Billericay Rotary Club for a few months so I was delighted to be invited to join the group on its double triangular visit to Alba.
The trip was very sociable from the start with Michael, Peter, Brian, Val, Les and I sharing a taxi to Stansted Airport. There we bumped into Mike and Carol Barrett, Kevin Howard, and Esther and Peter McCafferty from Basildon, before finding Malcolm, Sue, Carol and Patrick in the boarding queue for the flight to Turin. A great chance to bond with fellow Billericay and Basildon Rotarians before we had even really started. On the plane, I sat across the aisle from Michael and chatted with him during the flight, one of many interesting conversations I had with him over the trip.
The Italians were extremely well organized, welcoming us after Immigration in Arrivals, and driving us to Alba in a luxurious red coach - our transport for the whole trip. They had prebooked us in at our hotel and after dropping off our luggage, we were driven into the centre of Alba and walked through the historic streets for our first taste of delicious Italian food at the Vigin Mudest restaurant.
I particularly liked the opportunity to meet up with our fellow guests from France, Spain and some of our hosts from Alba. The multicultural environment made the evening.
The next two days were very much the same, so impressive to be met and guided by Paulo, the Alba President, with the red coach always on hand to pick us up and take us to the next event they had planned for us. His constant attention and welcoming smile kept us all in good spirits.
The hotel didn’t have any restaurant, but we were “bussed” in our coach to the town centre where we had breakfast every morning “al fresco” in a café in Alba’s Cathedral Square. What a delight! What an experience!
Friday lunch was spectacular – also ‘al fresco’ on long tables under trees next to the local church in a quiet village street. The tables were set with rolls, grisinnis, ham. Cheese, salami and wine glasses for the plentiful local wine. It was a scene that could have graced a Jamie Oliver Italian travelogue.
The scenery around Alba with its surrounding valleys and hillsides crammed full of row upon row of grape vines is spectacular. I hadn’t realized how historic and beautiful this area was - the castle we visited on Friday morning dated from the fourteenth century, and the castle after lunch is a centre of grape research bringing back ancient grape varieties.
Early Friday evening we visited a winery owned by an Alba Rotarian, had a conducted tour of the wine cellars followed by local wine, an outdoor buffet and champagne, all on the lawn overlooking the picturesque valley and hillsides. So enjoyable, despite a robot lawnmower moving around our feet.
Then into the wine cellar lined with enormous barrels where long tables had been set out for our evening meal. Towards the end of the meal, we heard strains of ‘Yellow Submarine’ coming from our Italian hosts as they sang the English words to the Beatles song. For the rest of the evening our hosts, guided by song lyrics displayed on a laptop, entertained us to a series of songs and many of us, me included, danced with some of our hosts to the sounds of the singing. What an experience - we fully appreciated the enthusiasm of this impromptu karaoke.
Every meal was delicious, from breakfasts in the square to dinners each night, and especially the buffet at the winery prepared by Alba members on the Friday evening. Not to forget some unusual food – partridge, rabbit, and raw steak.
I particularly enjoyed the pheasant on Thursday and Friday night’s rabbit dish which I had not eaten since the 1960s when I used to farm rabbits.
Saturday was less demanding, and it was Market Day. After breakfast I really appreciated the leisure time as we wandered through the busy main shopping street filled with market stalls of all types, and discovered fresh produce at a farmers market. We ended up in the main square where we enjoyed a leisurely drink and antipasti in the shade at a delightful restaurant, before returning to the hotel for a rest.
Alba is a truffle centre and our hosts had laid on something really special for the afternoon - a truffle hunt. A local landowner showed us how this was done, as his two dogs sniffed them out and began to dig with their paws. English, French and Spanish members were given the opportunity to dig and retrieve the truffles. Unfortunately, the explanation about truffle hunting was in Italian and there was not a good interpreter. But the process was self-explanatory and a unique insight into a typically Italian activity.
That evening was a brilliant contrast as we toured a Barolo winery, and then - the Gala dinner in a large hall of the winery where a dozen tables were beautifully laid out for the guests. I liked the way our hosts mixed up the tables with groups from different countries. On my table of nine were two Italian Rotary members one of whom spoke excellent English. On another table Malcolm was with members from France and Italy. I also liked the way our host introduced everyone by name, a welcoming touch.
In an impressive ceremony at the end of the dinner, Paolo formally presented a gift to each visiting president and each of them made a short reply. President-Elect Patrick read President Roger’s message and mentioned that he, Patrick, had first visited Alba forty-eight years ago – it was so rewarding to hear his speech receive a special response from the audience.
Sunday was our departure, but the trip was not “done”, we had an special treat at our usual breakfast café. It was adjacent to a spectacular event - the start and finish area for the town fun run. There was a carnival atmosphere as we were entertained by a dance group waving pom-poms, gymnasts on a high triangle, and a drum band, and dancers before, during and after the runners completed their run.
A great experience.
By Steve King
more Time to meet up with Rotarians from Karlshamn (Sweden), Beausoleul (France), Basildon (UK) and Ovada at Alba for our seven club annual reunion.
more Highspot of the Rotary Year, the annual twinning visit to one of our linked clubs in Mainland Europe brings together Members from up to six different Rotary Clubs in four countries.
more We have received an invitation from the Rotary Club of Karlshamn for the Double Triangular visit to take place September 8-11, 2022.
more Highspot of the Rotary Year, the annual twinning visit to one of our linked clubs in Mainland Europe is delayed but international web meetings planned.
more President Peter and Member Patrick Rothon completed a ZOOM presentation on the Rotary Club of Billericay Soapbox Derby to Belmont Rotary Club near Melbourne, Australia.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here France reports on life under lockdown in France.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here Italy reports on life under lockdown in Italy.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here Sweden reports on life under lockdown in Sweden.
more We all appreciated the opportunity to “meet” with members from our sister clubs over Zoom after such a long break.
more It’s time again for the forthcoming double triangular reunion of Rotarians, so called because it brings together Members from six different Rotary Clubs in four countries.
more Rotary principles in action- International Fellowship and co-operation on charitable projects with the Rotary Club of Basildon and four Rotary Clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), Ovada (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden).
more Rotary principles at work - International Fellowship with the Rotary Club of Basildon and four Rotary Clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), Ovada (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden).
more Double Triangular Reunion of British, French, Italian and Swedish Rotary clubs
more Our annual international Rotary reunion of six clubs from the UK, Italy, France and Sweden took place in Alba, Northern Italy in September 2016
more As part of the international fellowship with other Rotary Clubs, we send our newsletter to all our "twinned" clubs. In return, they send their latest news bulletins to us.
more International Rotary Fellowship at a "Double Triangular" Rotary Meeting - six clubs (Basildon, Billericay - UK; Alba, Ovada - Italy; Beausoleil - France) met in Sweden hosted by Karlshamn Rotary Club
more It's 2015 and time for our Fellowship trip to Karlshamn, Sweden.
more A major feature of the twinning visits between our clubs is the hosting of visiting club members and their wives by individual Beausoleil Club members at their homes.
more Following our hosting of the twinning visit in 2013, Billericay Rotary Club enjoyed a wonderful programme in France this year, hosted by the Rotary Club of Beausoleil, along with Basildon, Alba and Ovada (Italy), Karlshamn (Sweden), from September 18-21.
more Everybody enjoyed a wonderful programme of social and historical events when Billericay Rotary Club hosted a reciprocal visit from its twinning clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden), from September 12-15.
more 2012 sees the turn of the Rotary club of Alba to host its twinned clubs of Billericay, Basildon and Beausoleil (France) for a programm of events and fellowship.
more A great day visiting the Houses of Parliament with fellow Rotarians from Italy, Sweden and France, organised by Basildon Rotary Club.
back We have had international links with other Rotary Clubs in Europe since the mid 1960s. Starting with Beausoleil in 1965 these links have grown to encompass Italy (Alba), Sweden (Karlshamn) and Italy (Ovada Del Centenario) in more recent years.