Here is one thing I’ve learned about jet-lag and children: no amount of soothing, begging, pleading, bribing or threatening will make them fall asleep in the middle of that first night when their body clocks are so off-kilter. The best you can do is hold them while they cry and remember that, once upon a time, you used to do this every night and be glad it’s temporary…
So the kids are here! They treated me to a spectacular greeting at the airport – knockdown hugs and endless kisses. Phil said they did an amazing job on the trip, so our only hiccup was that first sleepless night. Now with Day 3 under our belts, they are almost completely adjusted.
Meanwhile, the character of my little hometown of Camogli – and yes I am feeling proprietary about it after being here for a couple of weeks now – has changed dramatically over the last few days. Somebody must have sent out the all-points bulletin that it’s July. Beach chairs are rented out by 9:00 a.m. and people are packed onto the beach like sardines. Restaurants are fully booked for dinner by mid-afternoon, AND the chocolate croissants from my favorite bakery have been sold out before I’ve been able to get there for three days in a row. The kids think I am making them up. The discos rage into the wee hours, with dancing on the beach. It’s still wonderful – just different. Interesting to watch the transition to full summer.
Our friends Diana and Renato came with their kids from Milan on Saturday. Although it’s been two years since we’ve seen them, after just a few minutes of catching up it felt more like two days. (Probably not for Diana, however, since she had another baby in the interim). The kids picked right up where they left off and are having a blast together.
One particularly special memory was our dinner last night in Punta Chiappa, a tiny fishing hamlet that is reachable from Camogli only on foot or by boat. We took a water taxi over just before sunset. The sea was choppy and the boat smacked down over the waves, splashing spray and delighting the kids. We then climbed up (always up) the cliffside and sat at a table overlooking the ocean – right at the peak of sunset. We were shaded by a large umbrella pine, the scent of which mingled with the aroma of the sea and garlic wafting from the kitchen. Stomachs rumbled.
The kids ate quick plates of pasta, and then the waiter let them go up on the roof of the hotel, which is used as a “beach” for the guests, complete with sand that the owners must haul in from somewhere. So the kids got to play in this rooftop sandbox while the grownups got to share fresh fish prepared in three different ways, accompanied by a delicious white Ligurian wine. Best of all, we had some genuine adult conversation. The sky hung the slightest sliver of a moon that glimmered orange as the sun set. Magic.
The waiter entertained and indulged the kids by taking them into the kitchen for a spoonful of the hazelnut ganache they were planning to use for the desserts. He wanted to make sure the kids approved. Of course they did. We then got back on the boat to make the trip home in the dark, the lights of Camogli twinkling in the distance.
As Em said when she came into the apartment for the first time and saw the view, “This is so the life!” Yes it is.Categories: Family, Friendship, Italy, Travel · Tags: Camogli, Friends, Friendship, Italian Riviera, Italy, Punta Chiappa, Travel, Travel with Children