Beautiful Santa Margherita.
"Day One - Around the world trip."
Santa Margherita Ligure is situated on the Riviera of Levante, approximately 35km east from Genoa on the Tigullio gulf. Santa Margherita Ligure is surrounded by lovely olive grove hills, lush dazzling gardens, Italian elegant villas and mansions. One can feel exhilarated and excited experiencing this little piece of heaven, especially if you are into sipping Martinis or Margarita's on your balcony overlooking the magical glistening waters of the Mediterranean Sea at sunset.
Life in Santa Margherita is centered on and around the leafy waterfront and the pebbly sandy beaches. Although, the village has many wonderful buildings, unique quaint cobble narrow streets which blend perfectly with the sea and distant hills.
Santa Margherita also offers a diversity of attractions which are nestled on its doorsteps. The gorgeous Portofino, Cinque Terre, Camogli and San Fruttuoso are magical villages captivating the true essence and beauty of the Italian Riverina.
Sunday 16th July
Another glorious summer morning, its such a shame to be leaving the Almifi Coast today, but we have all agreed to get most out of the morning by having an early morning breakfast and swim before packing our bags for Santa Margherita.We checked out around 11.00am and drove up through the Almifi coast to the village of Almifi and then headed up the mountain towards…..the drive was nerve racking, full of tiny curvy bends, narrow lanes, mad motor cyclists, local buses, all motoring through the hair-pin bends perched over steep cliffs and mountain drops.
Finally, we arrived on level ground all in one piece, and preceded to take the autobahn via Naples and Roma, which took totally four hours. We decided to stop off at the local garage and had an excellent meal fresh pasta and salads.
We followed the autobahn to Florence which seemed to take forever, and then headed towards Pisa, stopping off for fuel only to find 10 minutes later the car was losing power and having convulsions, luckily another garage was a few minutes away so we glided towards its path, only to find it was a coin operated petrol station.( with noone to assist).
After checking out the situation we rang Avis which was totally frustrating trying to communicate in English. Finally, we hailed down an Italian driver who spoke English. One hour later we had a tow truck which took us to the Avis centre in Pisa. We said our goodbyes to the old Ford and now settled for a brand new VW Passat, which unfortunately was manual much to Peters dislike but certainly to loved by the rest of the family.
After driving for another few hours we finally arrived at Santa Margherita and booked into Hotel Lauren at 10.30pm. Our room 324 which I had booked months ago was a standard room but had a lovely large balcony overlooking the Marina and sea, the kid’s room 234 was much smaller with twin beds but at least they had a balcony with sea views. By this time everyone was starving, so we settled for a quick meal at the local café a few doors down from the hotel. The day was long and tedious especially with all the driving and the breakdown, we were all pleased to call it a day and hit the sack around 2.00am.
Day two - Monday 17th July
We woke around 9.00am and the kids went separately downstairs for breakfast, Peter and I decided to skip breaky and had a cup of coffee on the balcony overlooking the ocean.
The morning was beautiful and sunny so we walked to Hotel Lauren the sister hotel of Hotel Lauren few blocks away use their facilities. We hired deck chairs for 10 euros each and spend a lazy morning swimming and sun baking in the warm Italian sunshine. We had lunch at the hotel, I decided on grilled fish with roma tomatoes and modesella cheese, Peter and the kids had pasta. After lunch Josie and I strolled back to our hotel for a siesta whilst the boys played in the ocean for a few more hours.
Later, Peter and I walked up to explore the town and I ended up buying two pair of shorts which I really needed seeing I brought limited summer clothes. In the evening we walked up the seafood restaurant which was located in town. We all had the seafood platter to share which was delicious, one off the best meals we had one this trip.
After dinner we walked back to the main plaza which is located on the oceanfront for a drink, the kids decided to stay and mingle with the locals whilst Peter and I ventured back to the hotel. The kids evidently met some other Aussie girls from Melbourne had a fun night with them.
Tuesday 17th July
Another glorious sunny day, the sun was flooding into our bedroom, and already the temperature was well into the 30’s, so we had a quick shower and headed down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. The kids were no where to be seen, so we rang them to find both of them suffering from bad hangovers. We all agreed to stay out of the sunshine today, as our bodies were still nursing our sunburn. The rest of the morning was spending reading books and relaxing on the balcony. Later we walked down to the ferry terminal and took a ride over to Portofino.
This tiny port town,(nicknamed "Pearl of the world"), one of Italy’s most romantic and colorful little towns. Portofino is truly beautiful and stunning.
Looking out into the distance at the yachts and fishing boats bobbing in the water is an absolutely breathtaking sight.
We had a delightful lunch at Hotel Splendido, and then spend the rest of the afternoon casually strolling through the wonderful village until we caught the local bus back into Santa Margarita. Peter and Jacko joined forces again and went exploring the town whilst Josie and I opted for a siesta.
In the evening we decided to eat cheaply so went to the local pizza café next to the hotel. The food was rather ordinary but at least it was one of the cheapest restaurants we have eaten in. Josie and Jacko walked back to the hotel to get dressed for a big night out with the Aussie girls they met yesterday, whilst Peter and I walked along the promenade for awhile and listened to a local band playing some really bad rock. The traveling had now caught up with us, so we walked back to the hotel for a much needed early night.
Day four - Wednesday 19th July
Today, Peter and I have planned to catch the ferry to see Cinque Terre, so we woke early and rushed down to the ferry terminal to catch the 9.00am two hour tour. The weather was again beautiful and cruising along the water observing the rugged coastline was truly divine. There is eighteen kilometers of sheer rocky coastline, terraced hills and vineyards sloping steeply down to the sea. Five little villages are built into the rocks between the beach and the hills. Centuries old footpaths and mule tracks wind about 500 to 1,000 feet above the sea, leading through olive groves and vineyards, orchards and chestnut woods.The five villages that make up the Cinque Terre, from north to south are:
• Monterosso al Mare
We passed many little towns like Monterosso al Mare until the ferry pulled into village Vernazza , and all the passengers were leaving, so we asked what was happening and we found that the tour we had booked was actually a whole day expedience and it was stopping for two hours and then going onto the island of ?. We decided to explore this quaint village set on the coast amongst rugged cliffs and then catch the train back to Santa Margarita.
The train was delayed for 40 minutes but eventually we boarded and it took approx one hour to Santa Margarita with a change a La Spagna. We finally arrive back around 2.00pm so we headed straight to the beach for a swim and some lovely sunshine. Later, we walked back to the hotel for a siesta around 5.00pm.
In the evening, we caught the local bus into Portofino for dinner but found that all the restaurants were booked out due to a jazz festival happening in the main plaza. Eventually, we got a table overlooking the ocean and plaza but the service was terrible and the meal not much better.
Later, we walked over to Restaurant Spendido to hopefully hear Mario sing but Peter was refused entry because he was only wearing shorts. Talk about snobs!! We even tried going through a different entrance and managed to meet Mario and buy his new CD but we were again told Peter had to leave because of his attire. So we gave up and took the taxi back to the hotel and we all ended up having a very early night.