Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chiavari.....Portofino......and wrong train tickets??...

September 15, 2012

So now, it is Saturday morn and we've been given a reprieve!  No early meetings .... just relax and meet up at train station at 1 pm for our trips to 3 different cities.  Did any of us rest or relax?  Nada! Nopa!  We did sleep in a bit but then most of us were out to see the happenings of a Saturday morning in the piazza!  So, as we left our sweet hotel...
the first stop was for this!

and what to our wondering eyes did we find?  Why.....the Festival of the Anchovie!!
Just like the festivals we have around here, there was a huge tent with pans and pan of anchovies, cooked in every shape form and fashion.  And I've gotta tell this time of the trip, I was on the anchovie and sardine mission.  No, they are not the anchovies like we are used to from the can.  These are fresh fish, straight from the sea beside us and are the sweetest things you could ever put into your mouth.  Just a tad taste of salt....not like we have here. YUM>>>>fried anchovies?? ain't nothin better!

Please imagine what the sounds are like at an Italian festival where locals have made all the dishes fresh in their kitchens!  So Much Fun!  These sweeties were cooking some type of bread to eat with the anchovies.
Lenora, in the line, to fill her plate!
Mary Ellen and Lenora chowing down. Lisa? not so much.....don't think she ever got into the anchovie thing. Plus, if I recall from the night before.....the vino was extra specially good, hence the water she was downing!!!  heheh!
Next, it was time to head to the train station.  While we were waiting for ours, I snapped this couple. I ended up with a whole folder of images of couples....lovers......who, in these cities of amore, always showered each other with affection.  So sweet! I'll have to dedicate one post to those pictures!
First stop is the town of Chiavari marina where we were to meet the ferry for an Italian Riviera ride to surrounding cities.  How neat it was to see them from the water side.
 Cap'n would have loved this marina....every type of boat here, ready for cruisin!
Cindy, Lenora and Jerri enjoying the ride
A view from our ferry.  The beauty of a sole sailor against a backdrop of green topped mountainous cliffs!
Deep blue and towns in the mountains......with azure blue sky above.
Doesn't get more beautiful than this!  The landscape continually amazed me.
Soon we came to San Frutuosso. A 13th century Abbey of San Frutuosso. We motored right up into a little cove of turquoise waters. There was a short hike in the hilltops above the abbey, which is now a museum since there are no more monks living there.
the white structure with the bell tower is where we were going,
the cove of water and beach with the abbey behind it.  Such a  typical Italian beach packed with the was Saturday, after all!
Looking back into the cove at the gorgeous water.
we walked to the top of the mountain and this was the view of the cove from above.
in honor of Mary Gnome!!
As usual, you always see grapes growing overhead at every turn.
And once back down to the beach, it was business as usual. Just like at home. Babies and little girls playing together!
Back to the ferry and farther down the riviera, we pass a beautiful castle, San Salvatore Villa....that was the same castle where the move Enchanted April was filmed!
Onward to Portofino.......Rodeo Drive of the Italian Riviera!!
Pulling into Portofino was awesome.  Another cove of water but this time, it is lined with yachts of every description. We de-boarded the ferry onto sidewalks on both sides of the water....WITH THE BEST SHOPS EVER!!  Good thing we were only there for an hour or so....lots of damage could have been done there!

the streets are narrow, as most are in italy, but most all streets in this little village had nifty lil shops on every one!
After a lil pizza and a lil brewsky and a lot of people watching, it was time to board the ferry once more for our trip back to Chivari, where we visited the piazza with an open market, a Pure White Benefit festival and dinner at Luchin Trattoria.

Of course, all Italians talk with their hands. Often times, I never understood one word they spoke but knew exactly what they were saying because of their hands and expressions! Crazy!

we visited the festival a bit before dinner

a peek into the restaurant

Yet one more toast between friends!

This is a chickpea thin bread, a local creation, called farinata. Amazing!
After dinner, we went back to the square for a lil live musica and dancing...

It's late...time to go home, so it's back to the train station....
BUT.........somehow, we got wrong train tickets and there was not another train going back to Monterosso......and we got a bit freaked out. But by the powers of Lenora and a friendly and nice city worker, they arranged for us to jump another train and just be let off.  It was crazy and we were all exhausted, cuz remember....all of this was one day's activities.....and ready for our beds.  Me?  I just sat back and waited to be told what to do...I know, I know....that sounds really out of character for me, but I was in the zone.  Happy, fulfilled....and knew that somehow, we'd end up back where we needed to be.  I was definitely living la dolce vita!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


The village of Manarola is surrounded by vines and is situated along a stream. The wine of Manarola is very famous and the "Via dell’ Amore" starts here: an easy to walk, paved path a distance of two kilometres, connecting Manarola to Riomaggiore.
In the upper side of the village, we suggest to visit the church of San Lorenzo (1338) with its beautiful rose window dating back to the 14th century.
My friend spending a few quality moments in the glory of this land!
We walked into town, first stopping at a little museum/shop that sells wonderful lotions and skincare items that are locally made.  Once into town, the exploring began again.
 Lisa and I were walking and oohing and ahhing in all the little shops when we came upon the neatest pub that was under the street level.  A perfect place to people watch....and that's exactly what we did until it was time for our sunset dinner.
we sat behind those gentlemen with treats like this
while watching these local ladies gossip about every single person that walked by!!
Soon it was time to walk down to the water for our dinner reservation and a sunset treat
the spot below the arrow was our restaurant perfect for watching the sunset
watching the fishermen bring in their catch of the day for the restaurant
Whew!!!!  all of this, this post and the previous one,  was just ONE day of the retreat!! and let me show you how it ended!!