September 2013

Next Stop Italia!

September 25, 2013

We checked out of our hotel in Antibes and headed up the coast and mountains to Barolo, Italy, where we stayed for the next two days and attended the cheese festival in Bra, a few towns away.

Il Gioco dell'oca

Il Gioco dell’oca





We met Raffaela at Il Gioco dell’oca, the Inn she owns and operates at the base of the mountain in Barolo.  Breakfast is included with your stay. The inn is painted a pretty pink with flower boxes on every balcony.  I felt like I was sitting on the set of Mama Mia or an Italian opera.  It was because all the doors and windows opened onto the outdoor piazza.  It’s such a beautiful setting, but what really sells the Inn is Rafaella’s inner and outer beauty.    She is a wonderful hostess and very helpful in so many ways.  She brought us maps of the areas and circled the quickest routes.  She loaned me her hairdryer as one was not available at our rental, and insisted we have breakfast with her the following morning.

We had a few glasses of wine before she brought us up to the center of Barolo where we met Sylvia, the woman who had one of the few rooms available in Barolo.  It was a charming room with full kitchen and bath opening onto a terrace with 3 cafe tables and 2 lounge
chairs for sunning.  The view of the mountaintop was spectacular.

L'osteria Vignaiolo

L’osteria Vignaiolo



We unpacked and headed to La Morra as Rafaella, with her connections, made reservations for us at a very exclusive restaurant (L’osteria del Vignaiolo). We were not disappointed as you can see by the photos. I ordered the lamb and Gene had the duck (in photo).

They brought us a complimentary appetizer and also a complimentary dessert tray with assorted cookies.  We were stuffed!


We had breakfast the following morning as planned.  All the pastries and jams and breads were homemade by Rafaella and her assistant, Eva.  We enjoyed our little feast outside on the piazza.  And use of the free Wifi; not offered at our room.

Breakfast Treats

Breakfast Treats

We headed over to Bra, where an International Cheese Festival was being held.  It was so large that one entrance to the city was shut off.  We had to circle around and park in a lot outside of the center, and take a bus to the center which came every half-hour.  We were handed maps that we could easily follow and we made our way to the International tent where we bought our tickets to sample 10 cheeses and 2 wines (Nebbiolo and a Barbaresca).  Bread and breadsticks were provided at each table.  We bought the wine glasses for 2 euros each.




Playing I Shot The Sheriff

Playing I Shot The Sheriff

It was a fun afternoon.  As we headed back toward the bus, a 5-piece band was playing “I Shot The Sheriff”.  The clarinetist was dressed as a woman with a blond wig.  It was pretty funny.  You could tell that he was a serious body-builder with his bulging biceps.

My allergies were starting to kick in about that time and we decided to head back to France the next morning.  We took the road to Cuneo which is through the mountains and took the Col de Madelene through the southern Alps back to Provence and Seguret.

In Barcelonnette, at Le Gaudissart, a mountaintop restaurant, we had the most delicious lunch of blanquette de veau with rice and pommes frittes (of course).  The total hours of this journey was six.  Couldn’t wait to get back to Seguret.

I opened the door, took one look at the view from Gene’s terrace and said, “Why did we bother going anywhere else?”  There’s nothing quite like it!  So beautiful.

Well, I’m glad we have three days to rest before we fly from Lyon to Berlin (Sept 26).  It’s the weekend of the Berlin Marathon and my daughter, Lindsey, is running.   It’s her 5th marathon.  I am amazed at her fortitude. I’m still working on my 3K..kind of.

Lindsey lined up several tours on Friday for a group of us.  Can’t wait!

Bis dann (until then)



French Riviera: Nice, France

September 24, 2013

We left Antibes and headed up the coast to Nice.  It is such a beautiful drive looking at the ocean, but if you look to the left, the buildings look run down.  The problem is that there is a railway that runs parallel to the coastline and offers no access to the shore from that side. […]

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The French Riviera: Antibes

September 23, 2013

Yes, this is beginning to feel like a whirlwind tour.  We started the day off in Antibes at 9:00 am and finished in Monte Carlo at 5:00 pm.  It was a lot of driving and we managed to stop off at Eze also on the way to Monaco.     We decided to go to […]

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The French Riviera: First Stop Cannes

September 22, 2013

The Ambassadeur Marriott Hotel in Juan Les Pins, just outside of Antibes, was our base of operation in the French Riviera as it is centrally located between Cannes and Nice. We spent a few days traveling along the French Riviera (aka Cote d’Azur), and it is blue!  We stopped in Cannes where we walked along […]

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My Mini Tour De France: Sept 16th

September 20, 2013

  Please tell me.  How does anyone get fit enough to ride the Tour de France?  I don’t know what all the hype is about when it comes to cycling.  Your butt kills, your neck feels like the helmet weighs a ton, leaning forward so your back aches.  Hamstrings feel like they’re going to snap any […]

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Blogging Through France: Sept 15th

September 17, 2013

We began our Sunday in Carpentras where a Marche aux puces (antique/flea market) is held in a large parking lot one Sunday each month.  It was fun to stroll down the aisles searching for little gems on this mild, sunny afternoon. I personally have a difficult time sifting through lots of items to find my […]

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Blogging Through France: Days 4 & 5

September 14, 2013

Yesterday I learned that I can flirt in French. Gene and I went back to Vaison to pick up the extra firm cushions for his chairs in the living room (60 euros…78 american dollars).  We got to Vaison exactly noon.  They were locking up shop, but opened the door to give us the cushions.  The […]

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Blogging Through France: Days 2 & 3

September 13, 2013

  Friday the 13th already.  So glad I’m not superstitious!  It’s gonna be a great day :). The past two days have been spent settling in with unpacking, food shopping, barber shop (I wouldn’t let Gene get his hair cut until I got here),trip to the fabric store to replace cushions on his 2 armchairs […]

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Blogging Through France: Day 1

September 11, 2013

I’m Going To France Today! Check in time 4:10, and I got to the airport at 4:08. Thank you Dottie!  There were only five people in line ahead of me.  The plane was not full, so I asked to change my seat.  I was assigned an aisle seat in Row 15.  Awesome…second row from the […]

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Vacation Time Travel Blog

September 9, 2013

I’m off to France, Italy and Germany for one month.  I’ve never taken a month vacation before.  But, it’s time for a few firsts in my life.  What started the planning was the “Berlin Marathon.”   It’s the 40th Berlin Marathon on September 29, 2013 and my daughter will be running.  It’s her fifth marathon. […]

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