Saturday, 30 April 2011

Ahhh.....La Bella Italia

I have just had the most wonderful week on the Italian Riviera.  It was a joy to travel there with my son, daughter-in-law and two and a half year old grandson.  We stayed in Camogli, a picturesque fishing village north of the Cinque Terre and as yet undiscovered by hordes of international tourists. It is, however, well known to Italian holiday makers who appear to be keeping it a best kept secret.  Oh dear!!!...I've just blown it, haven't I?  The family run Hotel Augusta was a great place to stay.  It is child friendly and conveniently located just above the fishing harbour. 
Fishing boat harbour, Camogli
It was the perfect place to while away a week.  Somehow the hotel had made an error with our booking and there was no room for me on the first night.  A frantic ring around by the proprietor resulted in me being privately accommodated with an elderly woman living in an apartment block with spectacular views across the bay.  As often happens when you are traveling, things that go wrong turn out to be great adventures and this was no exception.  Anna Maria was an elegant well to do woman but lonely. She told me her husband had died 22 years ago.  Her apartment was beautiful with marble floors, crystal chandeliers and intricately painted ceilings.  I have a tiny bit of Italian, having studied it at University, but could not keep up with Anna Maria.  She talked to me flat out and at length but I could catch only a few words here and there so spent my time nodding and smiling.  I think she just wanted someone to talk to and didn't mind that I couldn't answer. She showered me with Easter eggs and embraces and cheek kisses....lovely lady.  I told her I would leave early next morning to have breakfast with my family but when I got ready to leave she was merrily snoring in her room.  The apartment had about 10 locks on the door and some of the keys were like gigantic old jailers keys so I just had to wait until she got up.  It didn't matter, looking out across the bay at the fishing boats and brightly painted houses tumbling down to the sea was no hardship.

The sublime view from Anna Maria's apartment

One thing that has really surprised me on this trip has been the limited access to computer time.  I have joined the local library in Richmond, London, and hope to update this blog a bit more regularly from now on.  There is more to tell!