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February 16, 2008

focaccia col formaggio

Manuelina is a restaurant in Recco famous for it's focaccia. I first heard about this restaurant and the focaccia they make from my Italian teacher, while taking a night class here in Hawaii.

In 2003, I spent a few nights in Camogli. After arriving in Camogli, one of the first things I did was to inquire on how to get to Recco. I was told that Recco was not that far and so I decided to walk there. It was a long walk (about 3 KM each way). The town of Recco itself was not that far, but Manuelina was located at the far end of Recco from Camogli.

When I finally arrived at Manuelina, I was rewarded with the most wonderful focaccia - focaccia col formaggio. This focaccia was not anything like the typical focaccia one has seen or eaten. It was thinner and filled with a delicious cheese mixture. The taste reminded me of my mom's blintzes. The only thing missing was the plum jelly to put on top.

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So, if you are ever in Recco, make sure to visit Manuelina and order some focaccia col formaggio. They also have a take out window just for the focaccia.

February 17, 2008

boat ride to San Fruttuoso

San Fruttuoso is located in a bay between Camogli and Portofino. It can only be reached by boat or by foot. Since I will jump on a boat any chance I can get, how to arrive there was an easy choice for me. The boat ride from Camogli to the charming little bay where San Fruttuoso is located was quite relaxing.

The day I visited San Fruttuoso in the summer of 2003, a wedding was taking place inside the church. That unfortunately prevented me from more than a quick peek inside. I did however check out the special amber exhibit in the little museum nearby. I was quite surprised with what I learned about amber. After seeing some of the insects inside some of the amber pieces, I have not had much desire to purchase any amber.

I will try my best to briefly describe a little of the colorful history of the Abbey of San Fruttuoso (Abbazia di San Fruttuoso) from the brochures that I have saved and from a few google searches. The Abbey's existence has been dated back as far as the 3rd to 7th century depending on which account you read. The Abbey was attacked by the Saracens, a name which referred to the Arabs, Berbers, Moors and Turks, as well as pirates. The Abbey was rebuilt by Greek and then Benedectine monks. The Abbey was later home to fishermen and then finally the property of the Doria Family. The tower of Andrea Doria was built in 1562 to guard against Saracen and pirate attacks. In 1983, the Doria family donated San Fruttuoso to FAI.

First view of San Fruttuoso by boat:
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February 21, 2008

how I learned of Camogli

One of my favorite places on the Ligurian Coast in Italy is the little fishing village of Camogli. I first learned about Camogli when watching filming of The Bold & The Beautiful in Italy. For those of you who are not familiar with The Bold & The Beautiful, it is a daytime soap opera, one of two I have been addicted to for years and years. I can now proudly state that I am no longer a daytime soap addict. I am thankful however that I was addicted back in 2002. If I wasn't, I would not have seen Brooke, Thorne, Macy, and Ridge in Camogli. I was immediately struck with the beauty and charm of Camogli when watching the scenes being filmed there. I knew right than while watching that show that I just had to go there one day. I went the following summer.

The Camogli boat harbor:
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March 3, 2008

giving Santa Margherita another chance

I do not have great memories of my two night stay in Santa Margherita Ligure. My initial plan was to stay in Camogli for five nights. Unfortunately all rooms were booked for the last two nights. Instead of cutting short my stay in Liguria, I decided on three nights in Camogli and then 2 nights in Santa Margherita Ligure, not exactly slow travel, but then again, I had not yet heard of the “slow travel” concept.

The train ride from Camogli to Santa Margherita Ligure was only 5 minutes. It was not really that much of a hassle to pack up and change hotels. When I arrived at Albergo Fasce (my hotel in Santa Margherita), I was informed that there was a problem with my reservation. I was given a single room with the bathroom down the hall that I would be sharing with two other girls. This did not make me happy at all. One of my "musts" when booking a hotel room is having a private bathroom in the room. I reconfirmed my reservation a couple of weeks previous to arriving in Santa Margherita and was not informed at that time of the problem with my reservation. The hotel situation definitely affected my stay. My review of Albergo Fasce goes into more detail about my experience at this hotel. I was hesitant at first to include my review on this post, but after a current search of reviews for this hotel, my review is reflective of many other reviews. To be fair, not everyone gave Albergo Fasce a bad review.

Continue reading "giving Santa Margherita another chance" »

June 21, 2008

"water" ~ PhotoHunt

PhotoHunters

I posted my favorite water photos last September: colors of the ocean and
ocean foam. Click on the pink words (links) and check them out when you get the chance.

Instead of posting them again, I chose a few of my favorite Lerici photos for
this week's water theme.

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June 24, 2008

planes & trains

Saturday June 21 - Monday June 23

I checked in for my flight from home (with only one quick moment of panic after realizing that I initially typed in the wrong passport number). The only line (just 4 people) I encountered at the airport was the agriculture screening. No line at the kiosk where I checked in my bag and amazingly no line at the screening area. In fact, I was the only one there. At first I thought I must have been at the wrong place because on one else was there and, I guess because I was the only one there, I was the lucky recipient of a full pat down in the special pat down area.

After collecting my bags, putting my shoes back on, and heading towards my gate, I realized that I forgot my pillow in one of the gray tubs at the screening area. I raced back, retrieved my pillow and then headed back to the gate.

My flight from Honolulu to Newark had to be one of the best flights I have taken in a long time (except of course the few times I flew first class). I sat next to a nice couple from Germany. We chatted a little until the food arrived. I decided on Kosher meals for this trip after having one of the best Kosher airline meals on my last trip from Newark to Honolulu. I always order special meals, since they usually seem to be a little fresher and I get my meal first. On my last trip, they messed up on my order, which is how I got the Kosher meal. Well, on this flight, they messed up royally once again. I was given some sort of sandwich with frozen mystery meat inside. I could have sworn it was ham, which puzzled me since I am pretty sure ham is not Kosher. I ate the bread and left the frozen mystery meat on the plate. My meal also came with a chocolate whipped dessert that looked wonderful, but I could not eat (chocolate = migraines for me). After my meal, I watched about 5 minutes of some movie and then fell asleep. I slept for 6 straight hours!

After arriving in Newark, I spent about 5 hours wandering the airport. I love my new rolling bag! It made such a big difference walking around the airport not having to lug a bag on my back. I had a wonderful raspberry and cheese filled pastry at Au Bon Pain and a pretty good espresso at Jakes and later a slice of pizza which was just ok. Once at my gate, I checked in showing my passport to get a special mark on my ticket saying documents were shown and a little security sticker on my passport. I surveyed the area and saw babies and little children! Now I love babies and little children most of the time, just not on planes.

As the boarding process began, I went over to the boarding area to wait since my row was going to be called next. As those in the very back of the plane started to board, it started to hail. Boarding stopped and those on the plane were asked to get off the plane. This was not a good sign. I spoke to this guy sitting nearby and he said that the storm, which caused many flights to be canceled was heading our way. The hail was loud and lasted about 20 minutes. We could see the hail bouncing off of the windows on the ceiling. For some reason, hail is always associated with Italy for me. The only other encounters of hail I have had besides hiking in Colorado many many years ago have been when I have been in Italy. Fortunately the hail at the airport stopped and we were once again allowed to board the plane. As my row was called, a group of Italians started pushing their way through the line. I am always amazed at how waiting orderly in line is something that Italians seem to have missed in school.

On this flight, I sat next to a very nice older Italian man. It looked like it was going to be another peaceful flight...until the two rows of families with their babies sat down. The crying began even before we took off. It continued throughout the flight. The babies took turns so that there would not be more than 15 minutes of silence throughout the flight. I was not able to sleep longer than an hour on this flight. I even tried blasting my iPod to drown out the crying. And to add to the crying, a grown man who sat behind me kicked my seat off and on throughout the flight. The feature movie starring Kate Hudson and Mathew McConaughey was not working. The other choices were pretty bad. I ended up watching a movie called Penelope twice, first in English and then again in Italian. It was a LONG flight.

Although we were delayed for 90 minutes because of the hailstorm we only ended up arriving 30 minutes late. We arrived at 8:30, I retrieved my bag by 9:20 and was on a bus heading to Milan at 9:30. The bus arrived at the train station at 10:30. There was construction blocking the main train station entrance, which meant I had to walk around the building to a entrance on the other side. Again, I was so thankful for my new rolling bag! After waiting in line to purchase my ticket (the automatic ticket machines were either blocked off due to the construction or were in a location that was a mystery to me), I headed up to wait for my 12:10 train. I bought a bland eggplant and cheese sandwich and had my first espresso macchiato.

My train was one of the newer IC plus trains with comfortable first class seats and plenty of room for luggage. I sat across from a very chatty Italian woman. On any other occasion, I would have been thrilled to practice my Italian, but because of my lack of sleep and it being 12:30 - 2:30 in the morning Hawaii time, I could barely keep my eyes open.

Trying to understand Italian requires my full attention, which was quite a challenge and this woman continued to talk to me until she finally departed in Genova. Because my eyelids were heavy and I was nodding off, I got up and stood for the rest of the trip. I chatted with a very kind older Italian couple while waiting at the door for my stop. The man helped me with my second bag as I departed the train.

My hotel was a short walk from the train station, mostly downhill. It was easy to find. When I made my reservation, all of the single rooms were booked for my first night in Santa Margherita Ligure, so I booked a double room for the first night. Because I was going to move into a single room the following day, I only unpacked a few things. The double room was clean and quite large, with a nice bathroom and comfortable bed.

After a wonderful shower, I headed out to explore Santa Margherita Ligure. It was a beautiful day and still quite warm. I walked from one end to the other end of town by the ocean, taking photos along the way. By this time, I was fading fast. I found a bar that served pasta and asked if it was possible to order some dinner early. It was 6:30 and the earliest most restaurants serve dinner is 7:30. The man in the bar told me that the cook would be arriving in 5 minutes if I could wait. I ordered a pesto dish with trofie pasta (a typical Ligurian pasta) which was wonderful!

After dinner, I headed back to my hotel and was asleep by 7:30. I did remember to eat some cherries before falling asleep. I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and was able to go back to sleep about 4:30 or so and then slept until 8am.

I am so happy to be back in Italy once again!!!

June 26, 2008

first full day in Santa Margherita Ligure

Tuesday June 24

Breakfast at my hotel is served buffet style. Choices include various meat and cheese selections, cereal, muesuli, yogurt, fruits, focaccia and pastries. Regular coffee, water, and a couple of juice choices are also available. I was able to ask for an espresso machiato, which was excellent and along with my muesuli, cheese, and focaccia made for a perfect breakfast.

After breakfast, I packed up my bags and went down to turn my key in. I was pleasantly surprised with the information that my new room was ready. I headed back up to my old room and moved my things into my new room. My new room, a single (which was not available the first night of my stay) is a fabulous room. It is not a big as the double, but huge for a single room and it even has a little balcony. The room also faces the quieter side which is nice.

I unpacked my bags and then headed out to explore Santa Margherita Ligure. I took tons of photos and went into a few shops along the way. Around lunchtime, I found a little shop that sold a delicious looking rice and shrimp dish. I ordered some and then found a little fruit and vegetable stand where I bought some strawberries and a peach. I headed back to my hotel and had lunch on my balcony. I decided to take a short nap, which ended up turning into a 4 hour nap after lunch.

For dinner, I decided to give Trattoria Baicin a try. I ordered the homemade ravioli in a walnut sauce, which was incredible and grilled sea bass, which was good. After dinner, I walked around a little more, found a great gelateria, and had a delicious caffè and nocciola gelato.

As far as the cherries go, they do seem to be working somewhat as I have not felt as "foggy" as I have in past years.

boat ride to San Fruttuoso and Portofino

Wednesday June 25

After another good breakast, I headed down to the dock to buy a ticket for a boat ride to San Fruttuoso and Portofino. I, along with a few other people, waited nicely in a line for the chain to be opened so that we could board the boat, while many others rudely cut in line. Just as the man came to open the chain, it turned into a mini-stampede. It is incredible to me how rude some people can be pushing their way in front of you when they can clearly see that you have been waiting nicely in what appeared to be a line.

Despite the stampede, I was able to get one of the last spots on the top deck of the boat. The boat first stops at Portofino and then continues onto San Fruttuoso. I decided to stay on the boat and go to San Fruttuoso first. I did a post on San Fruttuoso a few months ago , where you can see photos from my previous trip there.

I set myself up on the rock beach to catch a few rays. It was such a peaceful morning there UNTIL the invasion of teenagers from Camogli arrived. It was some sort of Summer Fun group. I lasted about 10 more minutes and then headed up to check out the Abbey. The cost for a combined ticket for the Abbey and the Tower was 7 euros (definitely not worth 7 euros in my opinion) but still interesting. The last time I visited San Fruttuoso, I only visited the tower, which was not a tower to climb but instead a room where on that occasion there was an interesting amber display. This time, there were a few paintings to see which did not really interest me that much.

I had lunch at da Laura's back on the beach. I read a wonderful review for this restaurant, raving about the spaghetti and clam dish, which I was looking forward to trying. Unfortunately this dish was not on the menu. Instead there was a spaghetti alla marinara dish, which was spaghetti with pieces of mussels. It was ok, but not anything to rave about.
After lunch, I headed back to the boat dock to catch the boat to Portofino. As luck would have it, the group of teenagers was also catching this boat! Fortunately, most of them sat below and seemed to disappear into the crowd once we arrived in Portofino.

Portofino has to be one of the most beautiful places in all of Italy. Too expensive to stay, but a glorious place to visit. After taking many photos, I headed up to the Castello Brown, which was so much fun to explore. The cost was 4 euros and worth much more. Inside in all of the rooms were black and white photos of stars from the 50's and 60's hanging on the walls. The photos were of their visits to Portofino, Santa Margherita, and Genova. The castle also provided wonderful views both from the windows of the castle as well as the garden outside. I really enjoyed my visit to the castle and have to thank Leslie for the tip.

Before leaving Portofino, I had my daily gelato - this time a nocciola (walnut) and pistachio. YUM!! Delicious!!

I took a short nap after returning to my hotel and then had dinner at a place called Zinco. I ordered a pizza margherita with mozzarella buffula cheese. The soccer game was on which made it fun to hang out there for a while.

Today (Thursday) I am taking the train to Genova. Ciao!!

June 27, 2008

lost in Genova

Thursday June 26

Well, only a little lost...

Genova (Genoa) has been on my list of places to see for quite a while now. Everytime I have stayed somewhere on the Ligurian Coast, I have always thought of doing a daytrip to Genova, but never managed to tear myself away from the beautiful seaside where I was staying.

After getting some information on the train stations in Genova on the Slow Travel forum, and getting a good map here in Santa Margherita Ligure at the tourist information office, I finally decided to take the train to Genova. The woman at the tourist information office showed me how both of the main train stations were options as far as where to depart, depending on what I wanted to see first. I did my homework and read up on Genova, remembered seeing wonderful photos of the Duomo, and got more ideas from Jan's blog. I decided on the Genova Brignole station as my starting point since I would need to change trains there when heading to Acqui Terme next Monday. When I arrived, I checked out the train schedule to see which binario (train track) I would need to go to to catch my connecting train for Acqui Terme. I was so glad I decided to do this since my train will be leaving at one of those adjacent areas instead of the regular binari (tracks). I first learned about these tracks after missing a connecting train in Bologna a few years ago.

Once I got myself oriented to the train station, I headed out with map in hand to explore the city of Genova. I tried to map out my route while on the train, but was immediately side tracked when I saw this huge arch up ahead. Genova is a big city with cars everywhere. Much of the city is not very pedestrian friendly. I worked my way to the arch and then noticed these beautiful designs on the grass with steps that went up to this wall covered with greenery. I will definitely post photos of this when I get home. It took me a while to get to the steps. I was ready to climb them when I realized that I was now far off of the route I wanted to take. I changed my mind about the steps since I was going to be doing a lot of walking already and headed back to the street I needed to be on to get to the Duomo.

Back on track, I headed down Via Settembre, which was a very busy street. After walking a few blocks, I came to Piazza de Ferrari and a beautiful fountain. There were also a few beautiful buildings surrounding the fountain with one of them being Palazzo Ducale. For some reason, I thought that Palazzo Ducale was open to tour. After wandering around the inside of the building, I found a ticket office. I was told only the old prison and the tower were open to visit. All you have to say to me is "tower" and I am there. I paid my 4 euros and then went in search of the entrance. I finally had to go into another office where this nice man took me to the elevator and told me that I needed to go to the 4th floor.

Once I finally found the entrance, I was greeted by a man and a woman. The woman ripped my ticket and then grabbed an orange hard hat and put it on my head. Yes you are reading correctly, a hard hat! I thought to myself, what the heck was I getting myself into? All I could think was that this tower was going to be quite a challenge to climb. The man decided that the hard hat the woman chose was not a good fit. He took the hard hat off of my head and tried 3 or 4 more on me before finally being satisfied that I had one that fit correctly. I headed off into one of the rooms, which ended up being the tower. I climbed up one flight of stairs (up a ladder) and came to a room with windows on 3 sides. The next ladder was blocked off and that was basically it for the tower portion of the tour. Needless to say, the tower experience was sort of "blah" as towers go. At least I still have the tower in Bologna to climb!

I headed back to the spot where I was given the hard hat, and the man told me that I was not yet done. There were many more rooms to explore - the prison area. All the while, I was thinking, that I probably looked ridiculous in this hard hat and why in the world did I have to wear one anyways. It was at that moment that I learned the reason for the hard hat. As I ducked to go into one of the rooms, I whacked my head on the top of the stone doorway. Thank goodness I was wearing that hard hat! I whacked my head two more times after that, even though I was being so careful as I ducked. I probably would have been out cold if not for the hard hat. Although the prison itself was just ok, and I would probably not recommend it to anyone else, it was my first ever tour in a hard hat!

I got just as lost getting back out of the building as I did finding the tour in the first place. In Italy, the first floor is not always the first floor. It could mean the second floor. So, when I got back in the elevator, I was not really sure which button to push. I ended up choosing the first floor and could only find one doorway out which definitely was not the doorway I went in. I finally figured out where I was. I went back inside the building and found a bar where I used the toilet and then ordered an espresso machiato. When paying for my drink, I asked the guy at the bar for directions to the Duomo. He said I was close to it and took me outside and pointed me in the right direction.

The street leading to the Duomo (the Cathedral of San Lorenzo) was a pedestrian only street. It was nice to not have to worry about the cars. I arrived at one of the side entrances to the Duomo first. I went inside and was amazed at the incredible beauty of the inside of the church. I took few photos although it was pretty dark inside and so I am not sure how they will turn out. I exited out the front door and again was amazed at the beauty of this church. I only wish that the sun wasn't behind the church. I can just imagine the colors of the carved stones when the sun is shining right on the church.

I took quite a few photos and then headed down to the waterfront and the old harbor (Porto Antico). I wandered around the waterfront for a while. I found a place that sold focaccia on a side street and bought a peice with tomatoes on it. It was HORRIBLE!! I couldn't even finish half of it.

Continue reading "lost in Genova" »

June 28, 2008

a wonderful day in Camogli

Friday June 27

This is the second time I am writing this post. I was just ready to hit save earlier this morning when one of the waiters must have blown a fuse or something while making an espresso as the computer went dead and I lost everything! The computer at my hotel is located in the bar area of the hotel. It cost 5 euros for one hour or 10 euros for 3 hours. I figured out after my second day using the computer that I can log on to the page where I write the post and then disconnect until I am ready to save and post which saves me minutes of use that I am charged for. After losing everything this morning, I went to the desk in the lobby and was given another 5 euros of internet usage.

So here goes for try number two for my day in Camogli...

After another wonderful breakfast at my hotel, I headed towards the park in Santa Margherita Ligure (SML) to visit he Villa Durazzo. The villa is located at the top of the park. The park is well kept and a nice place to go to stay cool on a hot day.

The Villa Durazzo was open to visit and the best part was that it was free! I wandered through the various rooms, including two bedrooms. I always find the bedrooms in villas, castles, etc. to be quite interesting. Next to the villa is a beautiful church. Unfortunately it was not open while I was there. As I walked down the path to get the entire church in a photo, I found a set of steps leading back down to the waterfront.

As I walked along the waterfront, I realized that the train I wanted to take to Camogli was leaving in 10 minutes. I wasn't sure if I would make it but decided to try, hoping that the train might be running late. I arrived just as the train should be arriving but still needed to buy my ticket. Because the train was running 5 minutes late, I had time to buy my ticket and catch my train. While waiting, I ran into the couple that checked out of the hotel the same time I left the hotel earlier in the morning when I was off to visit the villa. Their train was running very late and ended up catching the train I was going to take. We chatted until the train arrived and continued to talk while the train traveled to Camogli. They just spent 2 days in SML, were off to Bellagio for 2 days and then traveling to Perugia for 2 days. Fast travel for sure and a lot of train time in those 6 days.

The train ride to Camogli was only a 5 minute ride. It was wonderful being back in Camogli once again. I have enjoyed my stay in Santa Margherita Ligure much more this time but Camogli will always have my heart. Camogli is such a peaceful little seaside village. Much of the little town is a pedestrian only zone. I headed straight to the waterfront area where I walked the length of the town out to the lighthouse area taking tons of photos.

As it became close to lunch time, I started thinking about pesto. I checked out the menus at many of the bars and restaurants and ended up making not the best of choices. The view was the only thing good about this place. The trofie with pesto was terrible. I don't understand how someone can mess up on pesto in Liguria since it is one of the signature dishes of the area.

Continue reading "a wonderful day in Camogli" »

July 1, 2008

last weekend in Santa Margherita Ligure

Saturday & Sunday June 28 & 29

Due to computer problems, I was unable to post about my last 2 days in Santa Margherita until now.

Saturday morning, I headed back down to the waterfront to check out the Sant' Erasmo activities for the day. 11 am: Processione in mare con la statua di S. Erasmo verso la "Cervara" deposizione corona di alloro a ricordodei caduti del mare (a procession of boats where a mass is held to remember those lost at sea). The very handsome priest arrived all dressed up along with a small group of people also dressed up and then the statue of Sant' Erasmo. The statue was placed on a big fishing boat and then the people involved with the ceremony got on board.

As I was taking photos, one of the men who had something to do with the event told me that if I was interested, I could go on a boat at the imacadero. I understood everything he said to me except I was not sure where the imbacadero was. I walked down the waterfront in the direction he pointed but did not see any boats that looked like they were boarding passengers. I was just about to walk back, when I noticed a few ladies who were also watching the statue being placed on the boat walking towards the boat dock where I took the boat to Portofino. I followed them and was in luck. There was a huge crowd waiting for the next boat to Portofino. The ladies weaved through the crowd and said something about the procession and were given free tickets to board a boat ready to depart. I followed the ladies and was given a ticket to also board the boat.

We followed a bunch of other boats out to sea and motored almost to Portofino. It was a very hot day. The breeze on the boat felt wonderful. As we motored out, a sweet older woman standing next to me started pointing out where she was staying, what beach she went to, etc. At one point I said "wow" and she said "Oh, you are not Italian". I smiled. After we established where I was from, how I learned Italian, etc. she went right back to describing the various houses and villas she knew about. She also told me more about the procession.

We stopped at a spot near where there was a big building where monks lived. The priest said a short mass using a microphone so everyone could hear. All the boats blew their horns when the mass was finished and a wreath was thrown into the water. For some reason, I thought the statue would be going in the water, but it did not. I think I saw a movie once where a statue was put in the water.

As we motored back, we stopped again right outside the harbor of Santa Margherita Ligure for about 15 more minutes. I'm not sure why we stopped but it was nice to be out on the water. While we were stopped, we saw a HUGE jellyfish in the water.

I walked back toward my hotel and stopped on the way at a wonderful place that sold focaccia. I had a focaccia with cheese (I think it was mozarella cheese) and some fruit for lunch on the balcony of my hotel.

At 3 pm, I headed back down to the waterfront for the next event of the day - the tradizionale "Albero della Cuccagna in Mare". I had no idea what this was but was up for another interesting event. Mostly men and a few teenagers and younger boys were hanging out. I saw a few men standing near the water. I went to look and saw a long green pole hanging over the water with 4 pieces of paper dangling at the end of the pole. A man was trying to recruit more participants over a microphone. After about 30 minutes of announcing the event and recruiting people, the event finally started. One by one, starting with the younger boys and teenagers, each person tried to move themselves down the pole to the end to grab one of the tickets. The wooden pole was soaped. Many of the participants fell into the water before reaching the end of the pole. After about 5 or 6 people gave it a try, a boy of about 12 had his turn. He was the first one to get one of the tickets. Everyone was cheering him on as he got closer and closer. I stayed for about an hour watching one after another give it a try and 4 people get the 4 tickets. I never found out what the prize was (if there was one).

At 6 pm, there was another procession or parade - Processione sulla Banchina con i tradizionali "Cristi" e le Confraternite. Three huge crosses representing Christ and 2 others (sorry my religious education is lacking at the moment as to who the other 2 were) were carried through the streets and by the waterfront along with a band (I think it was possibly a high school band), the women who participated in the earlier procession, and again the cute priest and the statue of Sant' Erasmo.

After a full day of events in the hot sun, I was pretty wiped out. I could hardly keep my eyes open at dinner time. I walked back up to del Baffo but all the tables were taken and the earliest they had an opening was at 9:30. I was too tired to walk around to find another place. I wanted to eat at Il Nostromo, a restaurant I saw on the first day of my stay in SML, but never could find it again after that. I ended up eating at my hotel. I ordered the trofie with pesto - giving it one more try. It was ok but not great but still good enough for how I was feeling. I almost fell asleep at the table while waiting for it to be prepared. Needless to say, as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out like a light.

Sunday, I headed back down the the waterfront and found a big rock to sit at by the water. The waterfront was the only area where there was a cool breeze. I watched as little kids tried to walk along the big rocks by the walkway. I also watched 2 huge jellyfish hanging out in the water nearby. The beaches were packed with people since it was the weekend. I wondered how many were being stung by jellyfish. That evening I saw a report about the jellyfish invasion. I did not see any signs posted though to warn everyone.

After a couple of hours, I walked back down to see if any more events were going to take place and then walked up a new road I had not been on. I had no idea where it was going to take me. I thought it would wind up back in the center near the main church but instead it started going up hill. I was committed by that point and continued to walk on this road. Eventually, I ended up at the Villa Durazzo. I went to the bar next door and had a glass of peach juice and then headed back to my hotel.

I spent much of the afternoon in my hotel room staying cool. Most everything was closed and it was just too hot outside. I tried a couple of times to get on the computer but the wireless connection was not working. The woman at the hotel told me that if it was not fixed before I left, she would refund me the internet charge. So, instead I watched Sugarland Express in Italian. I only saw the end of the movie once. It was quite interesting in Italian. The electricity went out for a minute or so three times while I was watching the movie. I was glad I was not on the computer losing everything each time the electricity went out. I think it was possibly brown outs due to the heat. I also packed most of my things so I would not have to rush Monday morning.

For dinner, I went back to del Baffo. I went at 7:30 to make sure to get a table. It was already pretty crowded, probably due to the championship soccer game starting soon. I had a pasta with seafood and then some fried seafood.

Thank you everyone for all of your comments. It is fun hearing from everyone. I had a wonderful time on the Ligurian Coast and am now in Acqui Terme. Jan (jgk) and I are heading to the Tim store to get her phone problem straightened out. I will write more soon.

Ciao!!

July 17, 2008

church in Portofino

I am feeling a little like this today:
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I took the photo of the rose on a wall by this beautiful church in Portofino.
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When you first arrive in Portofino by boat, you can see part of the church behind the buildings in the main piazza.
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July 21, 2008

private beaches ~ Santa Margherita Ligure

The first photo is of a beach that is semi-private, meaning that you can still walk down this beach. The next three photos were taken at the far end of SML (closer to Portofino) where I believe you need to belong to have access.

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July 22, 2008

boats ~ Santa Margherita Ligure

boats on land...
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July 23, 2008

statue of Santa Margherita

One of the things on my list of "to do" items was to take a photo of the statue of Santa Margherita. I don't know how I don't remember seeing this wonderful statue the last time I was in Santa Margherita Ligure back in 2003. It is located right near where the boats depart for Rapallo, Portofino, and San Fruttuoso. María posted a wonderful photo of this statue on her blog a couple of months ago. I was not able to capture this statue as well as María did, but here are my three tries.

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The inscription on the base of the statue:
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According to Debra Cole-Weber of the Pittsburgh, Pa. post-gazette.com, the statue of Santa Margherita faces the sea to pray for the safe return of the fishermen of her city.

July 25, 2008

a few more photos of Santa Margherita Ligure

I wanted to share a few more photos of Santa Margherita Ligure before moving on. I will return to SML after sharing some of my photos from more of Liguria, and of Piemonte, Florence, Modena, and Bologna.

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July 26, 2008

"hanging" ~ PhotoHunt

PhotoHunters

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed myself at the aquarium in Genova (Italy). The first five photos are all of various sea life (and a couple of people) "hanging out".

Jellyfish hanging out. I was mesmerized by all of the amazing jellyfish displays. Here are photos from two of the displays.
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July 27, 2008

the waterfront in Genova

I believe the structure with all the white poles is a famous landmark in Genova.
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I am not quite sure what this is either. It looks like some sort of huge greenhouse.
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If you are interested in seeing more photos from the aquarium, click on the "Continue reading..." link below.

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July 28, 2008

more photos of Genova

When walking out of the Genova Brignole train station, I saw this magnificent arch in the distance. I headed straight for it. Of course that immediately got me off track and slightly lost.
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I kept on walking away from my planned out route to get a closer look at the beautiful designs in the grass and the wall at the top. I thought about walking up those stairs to get a close up view of the wall, but I knew I had a lot of walking ahead of me and not much time.
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As I got back on the route I had planned out for the day, I stumbled upon this doorway and fell in love. I think this might have been a hotel, but I can't remember now.
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Continue reading "more photos of Genova" »

July 29, 2008

close ups ~ Genova Duomo

Last year, after Bob the Navigator from Slow Travel posted this photo, I added Genova to my long list of places to visit. When I decided on Santa Margherita Ligure as one of my bases for my summer trip, Genova was on my list of daytrips. I had did have a momentary thought of using Genova as a base but decided that I better visit it for a day first before committing for a longer period of time. While planning my trip, I read about a few things to visit while in Genova, but my main goal when I arrived was to visit the Duomo, also known as the Duomo di San Lorenzo or Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (where Bob took his photo). I was so excited when I finally arrived. This church was incredible (even if the sun was behind the church when I arrived which seemed to be a pattern for me). It did not have that immediate beauty as say the Duomo in Florence or Siena or Orvieto but instead it had a hidden beauty, one I found more in the close ups of the church. Here area some of my favorite close ups (and don't forget to check out Bob's photo):

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July 30, 2008

more of the Duomo ~ Genova

Now this is a cool photo! Imagine visiting the Duomo back then.
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(photo from Wikimedia Commons - click on the photo for the source).


Here are a few more photos of the Duomo from my visit this summer:

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And for a peek inside...

Continue reading "more of the Duomo ~ Genova" »

August 3, 2008

the Castello Brown in Portofino

As requested by my dad, here are more photos of Portofino. One of my favorite things I did while in Portofino was visiting the Castello Brown. If you ever get to Portofino (or return and have not visited this place yet), I recommend that you check this place out.

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The entrance to the castle (looking back down from the top of the steps):
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Inside the castle:
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August 15, 2008

pretty buildings in Portofino

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August 20, 2008

views from Castello Brown

One more post on Portofino...

These photos are views of Portofino from the Castello Brown. Last week, I posted a few close up photos of some of the pretty buildings in Portofino.

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August 23, 2008

"wrinkled" ~ PhotoHunt

PhotoHunters

This was a tough theme. I almost gave up until I remembered taking these photos while in Santa Margherita Ligure...

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And the two windows together...
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September 13, 2008

"wild" ~ PhotoHunt

PhotoHunters

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*Taken in Genova down by the waterfront.

January 4, 2009

processione in mare - part of the festival of Sant' Erasmo

One of the events I wrote about while in Santa Margherita Ligure this past June was the Festival of Sant’ Erasmo. Sant' Erasmo is the patron saint, the protector of the fishermen. I attended three of the events.

The first event was a procession at sea (processione in mare). Saturday morning, June 28th, I walked down to the boat area across from the church where I believed the procession would be taking place.

A few minutes after I arrived, I noticed a very handsome priest, all dressed up talking to a few people in the small crowd. Next came a small procession of people, also dressed up, along with four men carrying the statue of Sant' Erasmo. The statue was placed on a big fishing boat. This was quite an interesting ordeal. Once the statue was safely aboard, the people involved with the ceremony boarded the boat.

As I was taking photos, one of the men (who I believe had had something to do with the event) told me that if I was interested, I could go on a boat at the imbacadero. I understood everything he said to me except I was not sure where the imbacadero was. I walked down the waterfront in the direction he pointed but did not see any boats that looked like they were boarding passengers. I was just about to walk back, when I noticed a few ladies who were also watching the statue being placed on the boat walking towards the main boat dock where the boats left for Portofino and Rapallo. How obvious! The imbacadero meant the dock where you could catch the boat.

I followed the woman to the boat. There was a huge crowd waiting for the next boat to Portofino. The women weaved through the crowd and said something about the procession and were given free tickets to board a boat ready to depart. I followed the women and was also given a ticket to board the boat.

Our boat followed a bunch of other boats out to sea, motoring almost to Portofino. The breeze on the boat felt wonderful as it was a very hot day. As we motored out, a sweet older woman standing next to me started pointing out some of the sights; where she was staying, what beach she went to, etc. At one point I said "wow". She replied, "Oh, you are not Italian". I smiled. After we established where I was from, how I learned my little Italian, etc. she went right back to describing the various houses and villas she knew about. She also told me more about the procession.

We stopped at a spot near a big building on shore where monks lived. The priest said a short mass using a microphone so everyone could hear. All the boats blew their horns when the mass was finished and a wreath was thrown into the water. For some reason, I thought the statue would be going in the water, but it never did. I think I thought this because I remembered seeing a movie once that took place in Italy where a statue was put in the water. I think it might have been The Talented Mr. Ripley.

I felt very honored to be a part of this event. My guess is the family on board the boat lost someone at sea.

Everyone on my boat was very kind to me. I think I was the only American tourist on the boat. On our way back, we stopped closer to Santa Margherita Ligure. A few people on the boat that carried the statue and the handsome priest started waving to a few people on my boat.

Here's an album I made with some of the photos I took.

Sant' Erasmo SML

And a so-so short video. Clicking on the arrow on the bottom right corner and then clicking on HQ after the video starts will display the video in high quality. Warning - turn your volume down a little bit. Also this video is a little shaky. It may make you motion sick.

Here's the festival notice with events listed:
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January 6, 2009

albero della cuccagna - part of the festival of Sant' Erasmo

The second event of the day listed on the poster (processione in mare post) of the festival of Sant' Erasmo was the tradizionale "Albero della Cuccagna in Mare". I was quite curious about this event. I knew that albero meant tree and in mare meant the sea but could not for the life of me figure out what albero della coccagna in mare meant.

When I arrived at the waterfront, I found this sign. No help there except I assumed ricchi premi meant something about a rich prize.

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A group of mostly men along with a few teenagers and younger boys were gathered by a long green pole hanging over the water with four pieces of paper dangling at the end of the pole along. This made me even more curious. I had no idea what was about to take place. A man with a microphone was trying to recruit more participants for the event. After about 30 minutes of recruiting and going over the rules, the event finally started.

One by one, each participant tried to work their way down to the end of the soaped wooden pole in order to grab one of the pieces of paper dangling the end of the pole. The first five or six participants tried various ways to move down the pole. Each one fell into the water before successfully grabbing one of the papers. Some didn't even make it half way down.

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Next up was a boy of about 12. I just happened to change my camera to video mode during his try. He ended up being the first person to reach the end of the pole and grab one of the papers successfully.

Here is the unedited video I took. I love listening to the excitement of everyone cheering him on in Italian as he works his way down to the end of the pole.

I stayed for about an hour watching this event. I never found out what what the prize was (if there was one) and have no idea what was written on the pieces of paper that dangled at the end of the pole. I guess this is one mystery that my never be solved.

January 9, 2009

last of the festival events of Sant' Erasmo

The last of the three festival events I attended was the "Processione sulla Banchina con i tradizionali "CRISTI" e la Confraternite." This took place at 6pm, starting at the church and ending across the street at the marina. The men took turns carrying the crosses. They looked pretty heavy and there were a few moments when I thought one of the men would topple over while attempting to balance their cross. The procession was short with more cars stuck in traffic than out watching the parade. I thought it was pretty cool even though it was not well attended.

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March 17, 2009

green for St. Paddy's Day

I thought I would post a couple of green photos from Portovenere, Italy for St. Patrick's Day.

I know, you are probably thinking Irish green from Italy? Well, I've never been to Ireland so I don't have any green Ireland photos to share. I did find some green photos of Hawaii, Switzerland, and Italy, but ultimately decided on the photos below for the fun factor.

Lots and lots of olive oil. Yum!
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And if you are looking for pesto, look now further! A Pestomat 24 hour machine!
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stpaddysday2.gif Happy St. Paddy's Day!

May 16, 2009

"painted"~ PhotoHunt

PhotoHunters

I decided to go with painted buildings that use the trompe-l'oeil technique, creating optical illusions, which make windows, shutters, bricks, etc. appear to be three-dimensional. The first two photos were taken in Santa Margherita Ligure and the last three were taken in Acqui Terme.

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All but the shutters are painted in this photo.

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Close up of the trompe-l'oeil technique above the door

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Whoops! This one really fooled me. I thought the shutters were real at first.

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June 1, 2010

boat ride into Portofino

Happy June everyone!! School is out and I am back :)

Two summers ago, I took some video while on a boat going into beautiful Portofino. The wind noise ruined the sound on the video. A couple of weeks ago, I attend the Apple Summer Institute 2010. I learned so much, including how to finally use GarageBand, an application I have not touched up until now. During one of the breaks, I asked the presenter of the GarageBand session if he could help me get rid of most of the wind noise in the portion of the video where Portofino is announced. He did a great job. Even though you can still hear a little bit of the distortion, it sounds so much better than the original video did. After editing the video using iMovie, I played around with some of the apple loops and added some music to create this short video. Warning, the video was all taken while hand holding a camera and I panned a bit too fast so it is not the most professional video. Nether the less, I hope it gives you an idea of the beauty of Portofino.

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