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)


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