Believe it or not, our four-week stay in Camogli ends this morning. I can’t complain too much because tonight, the kids and I will be in Lake Como. Still, Camogli – and the entire Portofino peninsula on down to Cinque Terre – has taken up special residence in my heart. I can see this being a place we come back to again and again over the years. Here are some of the things I will miss most:
- The view! Endless expanse of sea edged by the Portofino Peninsula on one side and the coast to Genoa on the other. It’s beautiful at all times of day and night and in every kind of weather.
- The glorious sound of the sea – exactly as if the waves are rolling right into the apartment. I’ve gotten quite spoiled falling asleep to that sound, as if my bed were floating on the waves. I’m sure the silence elsewhere will be deafening indeed.
- The perfectly smooth stones on the beach, edges rounded by the pounding sea. After being tossed around in a rough sea today, I understand why they have no jagged edges (although I have some bruises). I’m almost tempted to take some home for the purposes of DIY hot stone massages, but alas, can’t justify the additional weight in the luggage.
- Focaccia Formaggio. NOTHING like the focaccia in the States (or anywhere else outside of this specific section of the Riviera). I watched them make it in my favorite bakery. They toss the dough in the air until it is so thin you can see through it. They lay the dough on a large rectangular baking pan. Then they put little balls of cheese in rolls on top of the dough (like drop cookies). Then, they place another paper-thin piece of dough on top of the cheese, make a few finger-holes in the top dough and bake it. I don’t know what kind of cheese they use, but it is molten hot and so salty. The dough is crispy and soft at the same time. I have no idea how I will live out the rest of my years without being able to eat this every day.
- Revello – my favorite bakery (see #4).
- Primula – the restaurant and gelateria below our apartment building. The food and gelato were delicious and Sasha, one of the waiters, doted on the kids even though he barely speaks a word of English.
- Hanging my laundry on the line outside our window and bringing the clothes back in smelling of sea, salt, and the slight hint of garlic from the restaurant below.
- The square off the promenade where children gather in the evening to play. Despite language barriers, they manage to negotiate the exchange of scooters, balls and games of tag.
- Music in the piazza and in some of the restaurants in the evening. I’ve heard everything from American blues, classical, jazz, flamenco to rock.
- Yachts slinking past the window in the inky darkness.
- The dramatic morning light, afternoon sun, sunsets and moonshine – all from my windows.
- San Fruttuoso Abbey. After reaching it from a ferry, two separate hiking trails (this one and this one) and a private boat, I can now say it’s one of my favorite places in this area.
- The accordion player who plays every night underneath our window in the early evening. He is an older man with grey hair, a hunched back and cloudy eyes. He wears the same orange shirt and khaki shorts every day (or has several of them and changes them out). He also wears close-toed clear jellies. Wonder what the story is behind those shoes… Nonetheless, he’s gotten many coins from us during our stay.
- The Pasta Fresca down the way. How nice to be able to go in and buy fresh pasta and sauce, heat it up for dinner and come away a culinary hero.
- The church bells, especially the 5:30 bells that not only ring but play a melody that somehow manages to be mournful and uplifting at the same time. It was bittersweet hearing them for the last time yesterday.
- Taking our passeggiata (evening stroll) on the sea promenade along with everyone else and their kids, dogs, grandparents and friends.
- Fishing boats bobbing in the Camogli port
- Morning music – the tinkling, then crash, of glass falling into trucks that come to empty the recycling bins, the smacking of lounge chairs onto the stones as the lifeguards set up the beaches for the day, seagulls crying, but otherwise nothing but the sound of the sea.
- Being able to hike into the Parco di Portofino right from the sea promenade of Camogli
- The ability to take a swim in the sea whenever the fancy strikes. I will probably miss that most of all, and I know the kids will.
ONE thing I will not miss: the 84 steps up to the apartment…
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it covers the highlights. It’s sad to leave, but we’re ready for the next part of the adventure. We’ll spend one night at Lake Como, then four in Milan with our gracious friends hosting us at their house. After that, it’s a whirlwind through Venice, Naples and then back to Rome. Journey along with us if you dare, but watch out because things are sure to get crazy now. 🙂Categories: Family, Italy, Travel · Tags: Camogli, Focaccia Formaggio, Hiking, Italian Riviera, Italy, Parco di Portofino, Portofino, Portofino Promontory, Primula Camogli, Revello Bakery, San Fruttuoso, Travel, Travel with Children