The Place To Be 4 Days AT Locanda Occitana Lou Pitavin

After two years Gaby and I are back at Lou Pitavin, our favourite restaurant/hotel/inn. October 2013 we celebrated my 50. birthday here and 2014 we returned for a few days in June. Now we're here for a first time in summer. The ride is hard from Fürth, Germany to Marmora in Val Maira where Lou Pitavin is situated. Crossing Switzerland takes 5 instead of the normal 2 hours, and the Italian highway toll system drives us nuts: Every few kilometers you have to stop, stand in line, and finally pay. After 13 hours we arrive at Lou Pitavin. Marco, the landlord, gives us a very warm welcome, and in the moment we enter our room, the whole ride is already forgotten.

Our room. It smells like living in a tree. It's calm and cool and warm and comfortable. And outside there's nothing but nature...
Then it's time for our first dinner. The moment I've been waiting for for 2 years ;)
It's amazing: Valeria, Marco's wife who's in charge for the kitchen and who's one of the best chefs in the valleys of Cuneo, has even improved since our last visit. Everything looks wonderful and tastes delicious, whether it's the home made bread, the trout in vinegar, the filled onions, the salad, the zucchini cake, the boar with plums, or the choice of desserts...
The first night comes at Lou Pitavin...

The next day we take the car to the Colle del Preit, a crossing of two small alpine roads at 2083 m height. We go for a little hiking tour and a picnic with some cheese and bread we bought at the shop of the Marmora camping place. Sun shines, no clouds, comfortable temperature and clear, fresh air. We do slowly, take our time for photographing and just looking around. It's a great start for some wunderful days.

Rocca la Meja, the impressive peak near Colle del Preit.

At Colle del Preit are quite some tourists. It's Sunday and many Italians from the Padan Plain are in the mountains for the weekend. We take a small hiking path, away from the road to the lunch station at Rifugio Gardetta, and after a few minutes we're all alone with mountains and nature.

We return to Lou Pitavin, relax a little bit, have a shower, and then go for dinner another time...

Back at Lou Pitavin, looking forward to dinner...
A little cake with vegetables and cheese sauce, "caramelle" - pasta filled with herbs, "1-2-3-acciughe", pasta with pumpkin blossoms, deer and potatoes, dessert...
Razza Piemontese

Next morning, after a wonderful breakfast, we hike to Lago Resile, a little lake about 2-3 hours up in the mountains. We cross the path of a bunch of white cows called Razza Piemontese. Originally from this area it's a very popular race of cows today all over Italy that produces milk as well as meat.

It's one of the rare oportunities to see Monte Viso, the highest peak around with more than 3,800 meters height while all other mountains in the area are lower than 3,300 meters. So Monte Viso can be seen from almost everywhere - if it can be seen: Most time it's completely in clouds and also here you can see that the first clouds already gather around its peak...

At Lago Resile we meet quite some Italian tourists as you can also reach it using a little mountain road. Also the water looks a little muddy. No place to stay so we move on, following a little creek back down the mountain. After a few hundred meters we come to a beautiful place with some meadows, old larch trees and the little creek with cold and clear drinking water. We stay for a lunch break.

Then I suddenly see a kind of a dog in the meadow about 50 meters away from our resting place. Looking at it again it's a wolf. We know that there are wolfs living in these valleys and mountains and that they have become more in the last years. But we also know that it's almost impossible to see them as a tourist. So this is really a lucky moment. Unfortunately I have the wrong lens mounted to my camera and no time to change to my tele-zoom as the wolf has seen us and is quite fast passing by and moving to the nearby forest. So I only manage to take a very fuzzy and small photo of the wolf. But showing it to Marco and other folks from that area it's sure that it's a wolf and they all were very excited about it...

Walking down again to Lou Pitavin, we pass an old, abondened farm, Grange Ischia, and also have time for taking some photos of flowers and butterflies...

Grange Ischia, 1680 m
Fire lily, Scarce copper, marmot and Marbled White
Waiting for dinner at Lou Pitavin

It's afternoon when we return to Lou Pitavin, sun shines, it's warm and nice so we stay at the garden of the inn, enjoy "la dolce vita" and wait for the evening and for dinner.

Giardiniera, "colazione salata", Trout and potatoes, ravioles, rabbit and peppers, dessert...

The next morning we take the car again. A 15 minute ride brings us to another little pass called Colle d'Esischie. Yesterdays tour was quite long so today we're good for another day of relaxing and enjoying nature. We take our photo-stuff and go for a little walk that brings us up to the flank of a small mountain where we enjoy a wonderful view to three directions. The clouds become more and more, there is a fresh wind but it's not cold. We hang around, read, have some cheese, bread, fruit, and cookies and take quite some photos...

View from Colle d'Esischie
Sit like an Eagle. Some moments later it was flying... ;)

We return to Lou Pitavin in the afternoon. It's our last day, tomorrow we will go for a hiking trip in the mountains with our tent. So today's dinner will be our last dinner, this night will be our last night at Lou Pitavin for this vacation. We're a little bit sad but we're also looking forward for our hiking tour and the rest of our vacation...

Some impressions from Lou Pitavin...
The oven is being prepared for the bread. Valeria and Marco bake all the bread for Lou Pitavin by themselves.

Time for our last dinner...

Filled Onions, Creme of Castelmagno cheese, anchovy and zucchini, crepe of black rice with cheese sauce, soup, potato gnocchi with cheese, creme of peas, choice of desserts

Next day we leave Lou Pitavin. But we will be back. In October :)

Homepage of Lou Pitavin: www.loupitavin.it

Thomas Timmermann, August 2016, Fürth

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Thomas Timmermann
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