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Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino

So much history, so much wealth, so much foccocia and pesto, so much beauty.  That sums up our weekend in the Italian Riviera.  I knew that we had to get to the Mediterranean before going back to Chicago for the winter and this was our last chance to do it.  So we packed up the car and drove through the mountains for a few hours.  We emerged from the tunnels and twisty roads and were smacked in the face by the most beautiful turquoise water we had ever seen.  I am still rendered speechless when I think about it…there is really no way to describe this scene that has come to fruition through millions of years of work on Mother Nature’s part, combined with at least a thousand years of human civilization.

We stayed in a seaside hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure.  The town was bustling and laid back, with people constantly napping on the pebble strewn beaches.  No one was in a hurry to get ANYWHERE, which is a common theme in Italy.  Have I mentioned that they don’t have clocks here?  No clocks in any hotel, restaurant, apartment…nothing.  I never know what time it is.  So much freedom.  It was also amazingly kid friendly and there were kids everywhere.  Our hotel was so accommodating and the restaurants always had a special chair for Caroline.

We ventured to the beach because Vance was DYING to throw every last one of the millions of pebbles into the water.  We had a fabulous lunch consisting of the regional specialties, pesto being the most famous.  It was THE BEST PESTO I have ever had.  We grabbed a bottle of Cinque Terre wine before heading back to our hotel room for riposare.  The kids played/got into all sorts of mischief while we sat on the balcony that overlooked the ocean.  It was a great afternoon. We topped it off with a great passiagata (evening stroll) and dinner at a local osteria. Of course the day wouldn’t be complete without gelato.

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The Riviera looks good on him

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That is one huge pumpkin. I like how the note reads in English…all Italians know you are not supposed to touch the produce but most Americans (myself included) have the habit of touching and feeling it. You have to wear plastic gloves here to do that!

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On Sunday it was overcast and sprinkling but we walked to the Basilica and gardens of Santa Margherita. We actually found it ourselves by just exploring the small nooks and crannies in the city.  The gardens were very old and most of the statues had been severely warn by time.  The plazas of the churches and some of the areas of the gardens are made of millions of tiny black and white pebbles formed into a design. It is very striking!

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We drove over to Portofino to meet with some of JW’s colleagues for lunch. Portofino is a very old fishing town that attracted many of the older Hollywood starlets. It is a glamorous town. We got to hike up to an old church that was actually built in Roman times. It was insane. The green doors were hand carved and the writing was obviously done by hand.

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Hiking and walking to enjoy the views is definitely the main attraction in this area. I was not prepared for what I saw. I think I left at least one eyeball behind.  We are going to go back multiple times next year…JW has already agreed to this.  He found a golf course so he pretty much agreed to anything involving this area. It is one of my new favorite places on Earth…a close third behind home sweet home Chicago and Yosemite National Park.

From our family to yours we hope you are having a beautiful Fall season!  Ciao ciao!

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