The coastal Liguria

On that Sunday we met Gabriele and his wife Luigia. They made the plan for us to go and see Boccadasse.  It is a little fishing village in the outskirt of Genova. We did not stay very long  but it gave us an idea of the area and what was happening there on a Sunday morning. People at the beach and people in the church.

dsc01655

Boccadasse is nestled between pastel houses and boat by the small pebble beach.

dsc01661

We drove to Santa Margherita  where we  had lunch. We could see some big hotels like the one in the next photo.  dsc01691

Then, we decided to go on a boat . It was our chance to see the coast from the water. The Italian Riviera !!

dsc01912

dsc01915

dsc01783

We reached Portofino where more people got on our boat  but we did not get down yet. Then , we arrived in  San Fruttuoso di Camogli. It is tucked away in a tiny, pristine bay between Camogli and Portofino surrounded by lush vegetation . To add to its exclusiveness, you can only reach it by sea or on foot, hiking the near nature trails of the National park of Portofino. The Abbey of San Fruttuoso is a Catholic abbey named after St. Fructuosus, a  Catalan  bishop and saint whose ashes are kept at the abbey. It was  built in the 10th century.  I was surprised to see so many people at the beach. It was end of September and the weather was still summery.

dsc01815

And then we had a quick visit to Portofino.  We  took some pics and also enjoyed a gelato ( too expensive).

dsc01762

Portofino is a fishing village on the Italian Riviera coastline. Pastel-colored houses, high-end boutiques and seafood restaurants fringe its Piazzetta, a small cobbled square overlooking the harbor, which is lined with super-yachts.  A path leads from the Piazzetta to Castello Brown, a 16th-century fortress and museum with art exhibitions and panoramic views of the town and the Ligurian Sea.

What a nice day  we had with our friends.  Great memories that will last forever. On my next post -next week- we are going to visit Cinque Terre.

Ciao e grazie per la lettura. I am still trying to learn more Italian but it is not easy.

On my next post, we will be in Cinque Terre. Have a great week . Thanks for reading and your comments.

 

 

Genova

We have now been traveling for almost 3 weeks.  Our  days of walk  in Piedmont were  really great ( if you missed my posts on it , check it out). We took the train from Turin to Genova where we were going to spend 2 full days. As soon as we arrived , we had a few hours to explore  before   dinner.  Genova is one of Europe’s largest cities  on  the Mediterranean Sea and the largest seaport in Italy. it is the capital of Liguria and the 6th largest city of the country. Part of the old town was inscribed on the World Heritage List  (UNESCO). Genova is  the birthplace  of  Christopher Colombus. I bet you  thought he was Spaniard. Genova  is twinned with Baltimore (USA).

We walked  by many religious buildings.  They seem to be so many  in each cities we visited.  In Genova  are listed : Church (17) , Basilica (4) , Oratorio (2), Sanctuario (1), Cathedral (1). We went in many of them. I really  enjoyed the facade of the San Lorenzo Cathedral. The building is a mix of Gothic and Romanesque architecture. It was built between the 12th and the 14th century with some later additions. The interior of the Cathedral was spectacular but taking good photos was difficult.

dsc01305

As we walked a lot , we could appreciate the architecture of the buildings  and the caruggi ( typical Genoese alleys).dsc01404

dsc01460

dsc01556

Palazzo Rosso. (Art gallery)dsc01432

Piazza de Ferrari.dsc01473

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa. It  originated around the 16th century and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil and pine nuts blended with Parmesan cheese and olive oil. I love pesto. Do  you ?

dsc01348

We walked all day long. The weather was perfect. At  night,  we were able to have our dinner outside.

On my next post, I will talk about the  day we spent with  our Italian friends. They were wonderful guides. We enjoyed very much everything we saw that day.  It was another great day in Italy.

Ciao !!

 

 

 

 

Walking in Italy (part 4)

dsc01134

It is now our last day of walking in Alba/Le Langhe.  On that day, we were going to reach Alba where we started 6 days earlier.

We left Neive and walked by vineyards and the town of Barbaresco that is famous for its wine production of the same name.  Many find this wine easier on the palate than Barolo and more consistent in type and quality. It has even been called Italy’s finest classified wine. The slopes around the village of Barbaresco are the most intensely cultivated of the Langhe.

dsc01174

A solar clock in the village of Barbaresco.

dsc01146

“Da laborem, dabo fructus.” Give your labor, give fruit.

Not much sun all day long but still a pleasant walk with nice landscapes. How not to like to be right there in the middle of all this nature that will produce  great wine.  Our day was not so long as we arrived early enough in Alba to have lunch outside.  We had done more than 13 km that morning and we wanted to celebrate a little. A good lunch in a piazza followed  by  gelato. I love Italy. The food is good and the wine excellent.

dsc01238

We already visited Alba. We knew very well where to go for our apero time. It came again with some food to nibble.  The next morning , we would be going back to Turin and from there we took the train to go to Genova. This will be my story in the next post.

Only a few days before the New Year so it is my chance to wish you the best in 2017. More on my European travel in 2017. The next story should be posted on  January 8,2017.

Happy New Year. Bonne Année. Felice Anno Nuovo. Feliz Año Nuevo.

 

Walking in Italy (part 3)

This week, I  decided to post my story earlier than Sunday. As Sunday is Christmas  and you might all be very busy celebrating. Happy Holidays to you.

Our self-guided walk continue in ITALY.

Day 5. Walked from Benevello to Neive. 19.5 km. The trail passes through forests and orchards. We had to put our raincoat for a bit . Only a few drops of rain  but the sky was rather cloudy and the path was muddy.

dsc00948

We were in the rolling hills of the wine country with vineyards dedicated to Barbaresco, a light version of Barolo.

During our morning walk, we saw a man and his dog. It was a  truffle hunter. The season had just started.

dsc00854

We were rather happy to find a good restaurant  in Treiso to have lunch. It seems that eating has been the center of our time during those walking days !  The village of Treiso is presented here in  a watercolor  image ( a special setting I can do with my camera).

dsc00981

What should we eat ? I think the ravioli would be a good choice with insalatona  mista.

dsc00990

Every time, we passed some fig trees, our friend David wanted to pick some and a few time we taste them. Delicious !  The leaves were changing color. We tasted the grapes also from time to time. There were so sweet.

dsc01015

dsc00960

dsc01034

After 19.5 km, we arrived in  Neive, a quaint little village. We had time to wander before dinner.  An old church, a bell  tower, some interesting architecture, people having a drink outside. It was September 21  but we had been quite lucky with good weather. And we only had one more day to walk in this area.

A little more about this walk in my next post. I think I will  post it  next Friday.

Thanks so much for reading.

 

 

 

Walking in Italy (part 2)

Hello ! I am back to tell you a  more about our walking days in Italy.  This post is a longer than usual as I want to share on all the days we walked in Le Langhe.

Too soon we had to leave the castle in Verduno . The breakfast was wonderful with lots of choice of food.  By 9 AM, we were ready to go.  We  enjoyed so much the landscapes and the good weather.  We arrived in the village of La Morra where we wanted to take a break for  coffee and a short look around. The view from Piazza Castello was stunning.

dsc00330

We followed Sentieri di Barolo. Walking through the finest vineyards in Italy was awesome. I took time to look back at the little town of La Morra.

dsc00355

By midday we arrived in Barolo, a medieval village surrounded by hills covered in nebbliolo vines. It was market day where people can buy truffles, pasta and more local products.  But  for us, it was lunch time.   We were happy to sit and enjoy a good meal. The guys enjoyed a glass of Barolo! I was content with a risotto cooked in wine !

dsc00396

dsc00403

We walked some more and took more photos of the grapes before we reached our next village: Monforte d’Alba.

dsc00420

This  is one of the most interesting town in the Langhe area. We stayed in an amazing hotel called : Le Case della Saracca. Located in the historical center of the little village, its highest and most picturesque part.  The building has been carefully restored to preserve this medieval atmosphere. Only 6 rooms at this B & B. We had time to go explore before our ritual apero time and dinner with our friends.

dsc00501

The next morning, another great breakfast. We did not have to pack our bags that morning as we were going to come back for one more night in Monforte. We  had beautiful scenery to enjoy all day long with the vista of Monte Viso  (3841 m) , the highest mountain of the Cottian Alps.

dsc00555

It was still quite early but I noticed some people working in the vineyards. They were not cutting the grapes yet but removing some leaves. Maybe to help the sun shine better on the grapes.  I  stopped to take a photo of the two women. They looked at me.

dsc00564

We tried not go get lost. We were not always so sure if  we were on the right trail but at the end we did well and our walk was more than 18 km that day.  Steeper hills, hazelnuts and fruit orchards.

dsc00647

We  stopped in Roddino for a break and had a little chat with the owner of the cafe. Life is small villages seems just great.  From Serravalle delle Langhe we got a ride to go back to Monforte.  Another  good dinner was in order !

The next day, starting our  walking (day 4) in Serravalle, we  were heading north following a ridge above the Belbo River. Passing through truffle territory, we had to open and close some fences. We had a break (for cappuccino and bathroom) in Abaretto della Torre. Yes, there was a tower (as Torre means tower) but we did not climb it. Little kids were playing in the park where we had our coffee and snack.

We reached Benevello after more than 20 km walk. We were ready to rest. I also wanted to go to the pool although the weather was not so hot. We had a very fancy dinner at the restaurant of the hotel.

I will continue this story in my next post. It looks like every Sunday I have a new post for you… and I always appreciate your comment. Grazie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking in Italy (Part 1)

The idea to walk here in Italy came from our Australian friends, David and Gayle. We met them last year in Spain when we walked on the Camino de Santiago. If you didn’t see my posts on it, you can easily find it on my blog.   Exploring part of Italy this way was a great idea.

I have been in Italy twice before. In Rome, many years ago and only for 3 days. In Venice in 2012 for 5 days. So, I couldn’t say that I knew much about Italy. But I was certainly interested to see it a little more. I even tried to learn some of the language to make me feel a little more at ease.

Hidden Italy offers self-guided tours in different  area of Italy.  We had transportation from Turin to Alba.  We had our bags transported between each hotels that was booked for us. We also chose to have our dinners booked . What we needed to do was to prepare physically to cover the distance we were going to do during the 6 days of this tour. We had a booklet  describing our daily walks. The distance for the first day was only 14km but we think we did a little more  (16.5km)

We left Alba passing by the Ferrero factory. dsc00105

Walking with our walking sticks was good.

dsc00114

We were on a “pista ciclabile”(a cycle path) but not very busy at all.  We saw a few bikes and 2 people walking. We  arrived  in a  small  village  called Roddi  where  there  was a  church (of course) but also a café. We had time to go inside the Baroque church.

dsc00134

This lovely village is famous for the white truffles and the truffle dog training school operating since 1880. There was  an interesting display about truffles. We took time to look at it and learn a little more on this topic.

dsc00150

We had lunch before we continued with our afternoon walk. We passed through vineyards and hazelnut groves. For the first three days of our walk we  were in the heart of the noble Barolo district.  The grapes were still  hanging as it was not yet harvest time.

dsc00172

It was very enjoyable to walk through this area. I don’t recall that we met other walkers except at the beginning of the day, a couple from the area. It was great to be walking at our own pace, stopping when we wanted. Mid-afternoon,  we arrive in the village we were going to spend the night: Verduno.

dsc00175

A small hilltop village.  We were going to stay in the Real Castello.  A castle !!  In 1953, part of the castle was converted into a hotel. Our room was big and the view on the vineyards was great.

dsc00212

Shortly after we arrived, there was thunder and rain. We stayed inside and relax. It was soon time for a very nice meal with local wine of course.

More on  our walks  through Piedmont in my next post. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alba

We are now in Alba. Alba is a town and commune of Piedmont,  in the province of Cuneo. It is considered the capital of the UNESCO Human Heritage hilly area of Langhe, and is famous for its white truffle, peach and wine production.

We had good weather and time to explore the town before dinner. The next morning we were going to leave on foot for our 6 days walk in the Langhe, an area of rolling hills. You will see  the beauty of it on my  following posts.

We did not have to  walk very far from our hotel to find an interesting  pedestrian street with shops and cafes.   From Via Roma  we  turned left to go on Via Vittorio Emanuele. Such names for streets are found  in every cities across Italy. On the right of the following photo is the church Santa Maria Maddalena.

dsc00039

Always a church to visit.  Almost  more than one in every city.  This is the Cathedral San Lorenzo.

dsc00066

A beautiful ceiling.

dsc00070

We went in a store selling all kind of products made with truffle . You see the truffles on the following photo. There are white truffles and black truffles.  The “white truffle” or “trifola d’Alba Madonna” (“Truffle of the White Mother” in Italian)  is found mainly in the Langhe and Montferrat areas of the Piedmont region. Black truffles are harvested in late autumn and winter.

dsc00087

Did you know that you can find the Ferrero chocolate factory in Alba ?  Pietro Ferrero,  who owned a bakery in Alba , an area known for the production of hazelnuts, sold an initial batch of 300 kilograms (660 lb) of “Pasta Gianduja” in 1946.   Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy , to extend the chocolate supply because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing. His son, Michele  modified  the initial product; it was renamed “Nutella”. The first jar of Nutella left the factory in Alba on 20 April 1964.

We’ll be back in Alba later. This was  a quick visit. And on my next post, we are going for  a 16  km walk. I hope you’re coming with me. You will  like it…

Thanks for reading and for your comments.