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2023, Spring Northern Italy part 10


100+ Posts
April 11-25, 2023

WHY haven't you written?? My apologies for the extreme delay with continuing reports, life has a way of getting you sidetracked! Hopefully my memory doesn't fail me ;-)....

Last report had us in Rapallo and we really enjoyed our time along the breath taking Ligurian coast. It was time to head north a couple hours. However, it wouldn't feel right leaving without driving a couple miles to visit Santa Margherita Ligure again! My family absolutely loves Santa Margherita!!

Why do we like Santa Margherita Ligure so much? you can see and read about it in my 2022 Liguria, Piemonte, Lake Como reports! but let me just say....IT has it all!

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After a brief leisurely stroll through Santa Margherita Ligure we resumed our road trip. Fyi the car filled with the intoxicating aroma of fresh, warm Focaccia! Today was exciting because we were returning to the quiet hill town of Guarene. The most direct route is around 2 hours north towards Alessandria, we did that drive last time so we opted for a coastal leg that took us around Genoa towards Savona then up towards Cuneo. The "new to us" route added maybe 30-45 minutes. It was so tempting to make side stops especially on the coast, but we stuck to our plan. We wanted to grab lunch at some point and for no particular reason we chose to stop in Novello. It's TINY! We parked at the edge of town and walked in. This place was a charming ghost town, including a castle of course!

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We were very hungry and luckily found an open ristorante. No English spoken there but we had no trouble communicating. There were many older local men in the front of the ristorante, reminded me of the GOATS of Guarene! There was one large table of younger men who were having a great time, animated hand gestures and competing to be heard! The ristorante was very nice and the "family" atmosphere made for a wonderful lunch. We enjoyed tasty Ragu and lasagna with fresh bread and a glass of Barolo....ahhhh Piemonte!

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Driving out of town we immediately recognized Barolo in the distance.

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Less than an hour on the road and we set eyes on our next home away from home, Guarene! Last September we stayed in a beautiful airbnb here, this time we chose to stay in one of the 7 rooms at Mira Langhe Ristorante-Albergo. We parked in the tiny town square and were excited to walk in! We were greeted with smiles and hugs from Maurizio Olmo (aka Chef) wife Annalisa and daughter Chiara, they are why we returned! So happy to be back! Chiara took us to our large comfortable room, which included an incredible view of the Langhe! Barbaresco seemed a stone's throw away.

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Once we settled in it was back to the lobby where we enjoyed a glass of wine while catching up with the "family". Anna and Chiara speak great English, but Maurizio and I still rely on a little help from the ladies and my translator app, we manage well. Of course we had a dinner reservation here, so when they got busy preparing for guests we revisited the smooth cobble stones and narrow streets of this beautiful and peaceful town. We circumnavigated the town and saw many familiar things and many new things as well. Unfortunately we found the brewery closed again this trip, just another reason to return!

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Getting in a few thousand steps we built up an appetite, so back to Mira Langhe to get ready for dinner. Anna showed us to our window seat where we enjoyed a colorful sunset! They run a well orchestrated dining experience. First a nice local sparkling white wine is presented while Anna describes the evenings choices. Maurizio's dishes are traditional Piemontese. all of it is wonderful.

As we waited for the many courses to start in walks "Steve" an expat from Canada we met last trip, he has called Guarene home for many years now. It was great to see him! Eliza is another familiar face, she would be our waitress and greeted us with a big smile, she's an awesome young lady and a joy to talk with. Not only was the food and wine outstanding, it is the atmosphere that the local people provide, so welcoming. After dinner a man named Bruno walked in to say hello, he's a farmer and a friend. I still chat with him and Maurizio frequently on WhatsApp, I translate my messages and always wonder if what I write in English translates well with their Piedmontese dialect? they do not translate before sending and I often understand their message before translating on my end, perhaps I'm learning a little? Another "GOAT" Gianpiero is waving from across the room and we are invited to have after dinner drinks in the town square with them. If you read my September reports these are just a few proud members of the brotherhood of GOATS that gather most nights.

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After dinner we could not resist catching up with everyone outside. We didn't take pics this night because we were focused on communicating. This pic is during the day, unfortunately some Goats were out and about! Ciao for now.......

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