STILL MORE LIGURIA
Monday, June 21 started off as an easy day. I made eggs for breakfast for the two ladies, then worked a bit on my manuscript while Betsy and Lesley walked up to the Hotel Imperiale, a grand old landmark hotel in Santa Margherita. After Lesley napped, we caught a train to Camoglia, another town slightly north along the coast. More of a fishing village, it is tucked up against the sea cliffs and is the first town we have seen with tall apartment buildings, though still in many colors and with extensive tromp l'oil covering the facade. The harbor was packed with fishing boats and was clearly a working waterway.
After walking through the town we hiked up a long walk to a cliff at the town of San Rocco, about 210 meters above Camoglia. We passed behind small estates and small farms with interesting mix between swimming pools, well landscaped verandas and terraces and yards packed with ducks, chickens, geese, goats and roosters. At one point we had geese walking along the fence following us as we passed by, hoping for some attention. We had a wonderful dinner in Camoglia at a restaurant on a terrace projecting out over the beach as the waves crashed below. We took the train back to Santa Margherita.
The next day was quiet with cloudy, gray weather with some intervening rain. We worked on odds and ends and had an early light meal. Lesley was leaving for Rome early the next morning, so we retired, though Betsy was up at 5 am to see her off. The next morning Betsy did something unusually brave in a strange land with a significant language barrier. She went to have her hair colored. It was a disaster. Below is a picture of the after, though she returned the next day to have some damage control and it looks a little less intense now.
In the afternoon, Betsy went for a massage and I worked on my manuscript a little more. Dinner was for the first time somewhat less than satisfactory. We decided the next day would be more activity, so we rented bicycles and rode to Portofino. The view from bicycles on the main road was great, but we were up for a much greater treat in Portofino. On previous visits we saw the town from sea level on the wharf and in the restaurants. This time we walked up the cliff to Castle Brown, an ancient structure that was restored by the British Ambassador in the 18th century and was restored again in the mid 19th century. Not only was the structure fascinating, but the views of Portofino harbor were absolutely amazing. Below is a view looking down from the Castle.
Lunch was at Taverna del Marinaio in Portofino on the dock. The best we have had in all of Italy. We ca't wait to go back. Then we road to the town beach and relaxed for an hour before returning to our hotel where Betsy made a dinner of Genovese minestrone soup and salad. It was great.
Lori and Michael arrived Friday and we went to the beach with them and had an easy lunch to allow them to adjust to the time change. Dinner was at our favorite restaurant in Santa Margherita, Ristorante da Alfredo. We have gotten to know the family that runs it and they now save a table for us. The food was again terrific. Saturday we decided to rent a motor boat. We took a 19 foot new speed boat and motored around the peninsula, stopping at Camogli where we had lunch, Santa Frutosso, where Lori, Michael and Betsy went ashore to walk the very small village, and then anchored off Portofino where we swam and relaxed in the sun. The most notable events were Santa Frutosso, which is a monastery totally isolated from the world except for access over mountain trails and by water (see the picture below)
and the mysterious boat seen below named Wallypower from London. We waited for an hour to see it take off, but they were puttering around too long and it began to look as if they would never open the engines, so we left.
Saturday night we went back to Rapallo, walking the 40 minute path along the shore to the city. We had drinks at a romantic bar at the shore and then dinner up the road also along the water front.
After dinner we strolled along the waterfront and saw some street entertainers performing for the crowds of people, all Italian with very few exceptions. It was an exciting experience. Tomorrow we plan to repeat the hike to Portofino unless Lori and Michael have other plans.
Sunday, June 27 turned out to be a scorcher. The beaches were once again crowded early in the morning. We decided to spend the day at one of the local beach clubs where we rented 4 lounges, two umbrellas and a changing locker for 43 Euro. It was crowded but comfortable and the Mediterranean waters were delightfully refreshing. At the end of the day we walked to Portofino where we purchased a painting for our anniversary that will be delivered on our return from Italy.
We had a wonderful dinner at Ristorante Puny, surrounded by an elite crowd. The bus rid back to Santa Margherita was fun, crowded with tourists from the USA, Australia and Italy.
On Monday we traveled to the Cinque Terre with Lori and Michael and retraced our tracks from Riomaggiore through Manarola and Corniglia. Betsy took the train to Vernazza and I continued on the trail with Lori until we reached Betsy in Vernazza.
Betsy and I continued by ferry to Monterosso while Lori and Michael finished the hike. We met up on the beach where Betsy and I went Kayaking in the Mediterranean. The sea was flat and smooth as glass and we loved every minute. We took the train back from the Cinque Terre. Dinner was wonderful at Ristorante Pizzeria da Gennaro, a new find for us just up the street from our hotel, right on the main piazza across the street from the ocean. We discussed plans for tomorrow, our anniversary.
Because we are going off on a boat for the next two weeks, we will not likely be able to update this website until after July 20. We wish everyone a happy and safe July 4 weekend. We miss you all, but we've having a great time and wouldn't have passed this up for the world.
Betsy and Martin
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