Unfortunately, almost all the gloomy weather for our entire trip happened during Tracey’s 6-night stay with. Fortunately it didn’t rain, so didn’t stop us from doing lots of active things together – running, walking and cycling. It just meant that the mountains were shrouded in mist and the sea was a pool of grey throughout the period.
Much of the time was spent reliving some of the things we’ve loved about the area. We drove the trip to the alpine areas of Viozene and Upega, stopping for a walk in the mist and lunch at the little restaurant we’d discovered during out last visit. The reds and yellows of the trees reminded us that Autumn had set in since we were last there. Absolutely amazing!! We had seen numerous adverts for the Alto Castagnata e Fonduta – the truffle festival in Alto, a village about 10km away from Colletta on the mountain road. So we decided to stop off and see what it was about. When any festival is in town, everyone parks anywhere (no fines) – so we did the same and walked down to see what was happening. Whilst glad that we had already eaten – the queues for food were crazy – it was fun to see the community coming together to eat, drink and play. The local castle grounds – privately owned – were also open for visits.
The following day, we ventured down to the historical centre of Albenga, where Tracey bravely tried one of the recommended chocolate brioche – and was surprised how nice it was. The walk along the promenade from Alassio to Laigueglia was beautiful, with a lot less wind than we’d experienced previously. We also noticed that a number of the beach areas had closed down for the year at the end of September.
Not having managed to fit in a drive to Finale Ligure ourselves, it was good to venture into uncharted territory and take a slow drive along the coast about 50km west of Albenga. We were all struck by the contrasts – the beach promenade on one side and a street away, old buildings from centuries ago. This is a continuing theme along the coastal towns.
We had hoped to do the cycle path to Sanremo again during our stay – and being the fit person that she is, Tracey was up for the challenge, so off we went. Fortunately, the day we did it, the sun came out all morning, in spite of the cloud blowing in again in the afternoon.
The final day of the visit, after a domestic morning at home doing washing, we went out to a restaurant we had been to previously, run by two brothers – amazing food, silver service and beautifully decorated. And not exorbitantly priced either! All this and very pleasant company too!!
After a farewell coffee at Pasqualini, the popular and well-regarded coffee shop (and roasters) in the area, we headed off to the airport in Genoa. We had an uneventful trip there, so unfortunately when we bid Tracey goodbye, we knew she had a long wait for her plane. But rather too early than miss the plane to Sicily – there aren’t too many other options for getting there.
Santa Margherita and Portofino…
We decided to take the opportunity of being a bit further west along the coast to visit the more touristy and wealthy part of the Italian Riviera. There are quite a few walks in the area, but we’d chosen to do the easy coastal walk between Santa Margherita and the glamourous town of the rich and famous, Portofino. Sadly, most of the red carpet that was laid along the entire walk from Rapallo to Portofino had been ripped up – by all accounts this must have happened recently as TripAdvisor photos as late as September 2017 still showed it. We only saw a few patches – and lots of bolts with shreds of red left in them. Maybe another time if they decide to replace it.
Portofino is beautiful – but very expensive and we found the few people we interacted with so unfriendly – especially compared to those in the area of Liguria that we’ve spent most of our time. We’ve put it down to the fact that they’re sick of tourists! But certainly plenty of photo opportunities!