Day 11: Away from it all on the Italian Riviera.

Today Brad gets the day off, and we are supposed to take our "vacation from our vacation" day.  So what was I thinking when I suggested to Freyja that we hike from Santa Margherita to Portofino instead of taking the nice comfortable bus?

I don't really know, but first we watched the sun rise on the harbor.  This was the first clear sunrise we had on the trip and the sun rose over some hills just off to the side of the sea as the boats bobbed up and down in the brightening day.

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For some reason Freyja agreed to the hike and, after buying a trail map at a roadside stand, we climbed 1200 steps (yes, I counted all of them) up to a yellow abbey we could see from the harbor below.  On the way we encountered 3 geese standing in a little garden, a few wasps (which we steered clear of), and plenty of wildflowers. 

We were expecting a 1 hour hike as stated in Rick's book but that turned out to be a little optimistic.  Even with the help of the trail guide plus my GPS, it took us a good 3 hours to get to Portofino.

As in all good hikes, we did end up with some fabulous views of the harbor below, and a great feeling of accomplishment once we made it to the end.  We also burned enough calories that we didn't feel the least guilty in eating all of the gelati (ice cream) we wanted.

In Portofino we lunched on fantastic grilled calamari with potatoes, lemon juice and olive oil, and some good pizza too.  We had two helpings of gelati.  One right after lunch, and one just before leaving Portofino.

After lunch we continued to the tip of Portofino's peninsula, past a castle and out to a lighthouse.  The lighthouse itself was not terribly impressive, but the views leading up to it made the trip worth it.  The Mediterranean Sea is so turquoise it seems that someone turned up the color too high.

The boat back to Santa Margherita was not running, so instead of taking the bus we decided to hop on the boat to Rapallo, which is a little down the coast from Santa Margherita.  Rick I. joined us for the trip.  The boat ride was a smooth journey down the harbor with a nice view of the coastline all the way.

We took a bus back to Santa Margherita and mistakenly got off a little early, so we had to hike a mile back to the hotel.  When we got back, there were 6 people on the balcony above the hotel door partying.

Freyja, Stella, and I had dinner at the White Goose restaurant which had good food and wine, and wasn't nearly as expensive as last night's meal.  After dinner we walked along the harbor under the moonlight, and then retired for the day.

No thoughts today.  This is our "vacation from a vacation" day!

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Last updated 02/29/2004 .  Email me at