Monday, May 20, 2019

Walking Piedmont Day 7, Cravanzana to Cortemilia, Italy: May 19, 2019


Another day of walking in the rain. Today our distance is 13.33km/8.28mi and it involves first a steep descent followed by a steep ascent to get to the town of Bergolo. Bergolo is our half-way point.

With rain gear and the addition of our umbrellas mostly to preserve our map, we headed out. Before leaving Cravanzana, a hill town, we briefly checked out their castle.


Looking back at Cravanzana

There was so much water on the trail that little cascades ran down the descents.


View of Torre Bormida in distance

Finally, we made it to Bergolo and even though it was a long continuous ascent, it didn't seem so bad.
We located the restaurant, Ristorante l'Bunet, we hoped to dine in and despite our muddy, wet condition, they had a place for us. We ordered "knitting needle" pasta in a tomato/sausage ragu sauce and a glass of wine. It was fabulous and just what we needed to take the chill of our wet feet. Knitting Needle pasta is a specialty of this region. At one time, grandmothers made the pasta shape (a long tube) by wrapping the pasta dough around knitting needles. It is still made this way. On the menu page of the l'bunet website there is a video showing the process. It was beautiful. After donning our wet clothing once again, we strolled through the charming town of Bergolo before getting back on the trail.


Bergolo has art (sculptures and paintings) on some of its stone walls.





The outskirts of Cortemilia
In Cortemilia, we stayed at and had dinner at Hotel Ristorante Villa San Carlo. The owner/chef is Carlo Zarri who has cooked for both Sophia Loren and Michelle Obama. His recipes are in his book Da Sophia A Michelle. Additionally, Chef Carlo told us that each autumn he puts on a truffle dinner at the Weston Hotel in Napa, California. Needless to say, dinner was spectacular.

Our 7-day hike wasn't the leisurely, wine sipping stroll that seemed to be promised. We either missed the wine-sipping locations or by the time we got to the wine tasting locations, they were closed for Italian siesta. That said, we always had great foods and wine for dinner. We enjoyed trying local cheeses each morning for breakfast. It took us a couple of days to get into the rhythm of the walk and familiarize ourselves with the maps, but when we found the zone walking was easier. We enjoyed the detours and strolling through medieval hill towns along the way. The landscape of Piedmont was spectacular with its neat patchwork of orchards and vineyards broken up by wildflower meadows and wooded areas filled with birdsong. In short, it was a great week.

Tomorrow morning, no hiking. We take a bus to Alba to catch a train to Turin.

Particulars:
Ristorante l'Bunet in Bergolo
Hotel Ristorante Villa San Carlo in Cortemilia

Utracks took care of all the route and hotel details and moving our luggage to our next night's lodging. Hotels were always comfortable and usually had an excellent restaurant connected with them to make the evening of a long day's walk much easier.

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