This year we again decided to go and visit Lorenzo and hoped to do a bit of hiking in the area. There are a large number of hiking trails in the area. One of the highlights is a summit of Pizzo d’Ormea at 2476m – spoiler alert – we did not get to climb it.
We had friends, Andrew and Janine visiting Lucca for a week. It was good to catch up and share Lucca. They left on a Friday morning, on Saturday morning we left to drive to Ormea. On the way we stopped off in a little village (Ranzo) to have lunch at Ristorante Moisello which we first discovered in 2017. It is run by 2 brothers. We have managed to go back a few times and enjoy catching up on the family news. There is not much to see from the outside, but once inside, Wow. The décor is nice and the food and service is excellent. Our favourite white wine variety (Pigato) comes from this region. It is closely related to Vermentino, another great white variety. After a nice long lunch we completed the trip to Ormea. We again stayed in Majla house who we first met last year.
For June, the weather was rather bleak, cold and wet. The downside is that we did less walking than we had hoped to do. The upside was that we could spend time relaxing. We managed to catchup with Lorenzo on 3 occasions, the first was a nice dinner at the refugio that he owns and runs. For a small village of about 1500 people, Ormea has a large number of bar/café (8) and a few restaurants/pizzeria’s. We tried some old favourites and also found new favourites.
Walking, not running
With the weather we did not feel like running on muddy tracks and limited ourselves to a number of walks when the weather allowed.
One of the walks east along the river tanaro, took us past the San Barnado factory where they bottle mountain water. They have an interesting bottle design. The river was reasonably full. There has not been as much snow run off this year, but the rain has at least filled the river.
Another of our walks took us west along the river to the hamlet of Ponte di Nava. On this route we saw many people fishing in the river. Along the way we had to navigate muddy ground and streams flowing on the path. Ponte di Nava has a very nice Alimentari (specialty food store). We went back to it a few times for fruit, fresh pasta etc. On one of our stops we saw a large number of cows being driven up into the high grounds for the summer feeding season. A number of years back we attended one of the big events (Festa della Transumanza) when they drive the cattle down from the highlands for the winter season.
From our home in Ormea we were able to see a number of vantage points up in the hills. The tracks to these vantage points opened since our last visit. We took the opportunity to go walking up the hills to enjoy spectacular views of Ormea and could clearly see why the call it the heart shaped town.
A visit to the coast
One of the great things about Ormea is that it is less than an hour to the coast. On one of the clear days we drove down to Imperia. We wanted to cycle along the bike path that has been created along an old railway line. We had cycled it before. Recently however it has been extended and now starts in Imperia. After enjoying breakfast at a bar at the start of the cycleway, we rented our bikes. Setting of on the new section was an easy start. The scenery on this cycle path is magnificent with the sea on one side and mountains on the other. Overall the cycling was easy and we made good time. Having done it a few times previously, we did not stop off much. After 3 hours we had completed the path out and back. The good thing is that this gave us time to take a walk along the coast to the marina of Imperia. We always enjoying spending time at marina’s. All in all, a nice day out enjoying some sunshine.
Back to Lucca
We left early to head back to Lucca. On the way to Ormea we had stopped at one of our favourite coffee roasters Pasqualini to have and also buy some coffee. We again stopped off on our way to Lucca for breakfast and some more coffee. From there we followed the coast road which is scenic and confirmed that we especially love the area from Finale Liguria to just before Savona. The rest of the trip was uneventful and it was nice getting back home to Lucca where the weather was warm and dry.
Till next year……