Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

did not find love in portofino

Posted by Hippobean at 11:30 PM
Valentina changed the itinerary which confused all of us. Huh? Instead of the coastal hike through three Cinque Terre villages, we're doing Santa Margherita and Portofino today. I sang 'I found my love in portofino' and Vale laughed and sang a few lines.

So an early morning 40 mins train to Santa Margherita. The train ran along the coast, with glorious views of the sea, and in and out of tunnels. On the way I saw sestri levante and Moneglia stops. sestri levante was where I needed to change trains to Genoa. Moneglia was the base of the Exodus Cinque Terre trip.

We had about 30 mins to explore town. Santa Margherita was a resort town, with high end stores, a beautiful church and many seafront hotels in a long and bright seafront promenade. on impulse, I've decided not to do the hike to portofino today. It's a 8km hike with 430m total ascent, over hills and through San Fruttuoso. I had wanted to see San Fruttuoso but I could get there either by hiking from portofino or by train. I didnt quite fancy another long uphill hike, so I opted out. instead I did the flat easy hour walk to portofino along the coast. It was a beautiful walk but it was very hot. The last quarter of the walk, was actually on the hill side along a park, then down into the famous over rated town. The trail ended at the Chiesa di San Martino and then you walk down to the town. The cove and harbor were smaller than I've expected. It wasnt too crowded yet but as the ferries arrived, they dumped more and more tourists.

Mike and Diane, who also opted out of the long hike, were sitting in front of the harbor. We walked around a bit to check out the stores and restaurants. We've decided Portofino was too over rated as we couldnt understand why all the hype. We didnt see any movie stars or famous personnel. Soon Charles arrived by ferry and joined us. I've decided I wont waste time hanging around with nothing to do until 5. So I bought a boat ticket and returned to Santa Margherita on the ferry.
It was a short but extremely refreshing boat ride. Found out I had to change trains in sestri levante, and had to wait for 2 hrs for the train, as the next one to La Speza wont make a stop in bonassola. So there are 2 trains going south to La Speza. One stops only at all the cinque terre villages and another makes all stops along the way. Each train runs hourly. There would be many more times on this trip I had to deal with these Italian trains that are confusing and unreliable. But I already knew that.

Back in Bonassola, I walked around town and found a restaurant with veal as I was dying for red meat. I sat on one of the tables outside in front of the restaurant. of course they didnt have veal. all they had was meat lasagna. The lasagna here was very different. The meat was actually mixed into the pasta, instead of 1 layer of pasta and 1 layer of meat. 'very good pasta' the waiter said. i didnt like it. the waiter came out and said I could stay as long as I'd like but they were closing (it was nearly 3pm), so they'd appreciate it if I could pay now. I did and they locked up the restaurant, leaving me and a couple next to my table. I was curious what language they were speaking in as I couldnt recognize it. So I've asked. They were hungarians and on holiday here. We've started talking about bonassola and the hiking around the area. After lunch I walked down to the beach. The public area was very small with both sides cordoned off for the private hotel and restaurant uses. Black pebbles beach, no sand. quite a big drop into the sea with some people swimming but lots of sunbathers. The water was cool. I've decided I didnt
like the beach here. later on, nn my way down from my room, I met the rest of the group who opted for the hike. Even the younger fitted NZ couple came back exhausted and looking beat. Nikki said I've made the right choice of skipping the hike. the hike nearly killed her. It was most difficult and she was absolutely wasted.

Dinner was the best in the entire trip. Owned by a Napolitano, the Osteria Antica Guetta was seafront. Vale and I shared a big pot of trofie a la napolitana, trofie pasta filled with shrimps, clams and mussels in shells of course and calamari. The sauce was awesome. It was one of the most delicious pasta I've ever had. I fell in love with trofie. Vale held up a shrimp with her fork and asked me "do you like this animal?". I guess she doesnt like shrimps. More for me, I didnt mind. Diane, who is from Napoli, said the Antica Guetta had the best margarite pizza. The owner was very friendly with us. I noticed the young waiter was very good looking, and the owner called him Gigi. Found out he was called Luigi. sigh! We went back to this restaurant one more time later in the trip as everyone loved the food and the owner.

Santa Margherita photos:

Portofino photos:



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