Two weeks have flown by since I last posted an entry here. I’ve been occupied with personal matters lately, and the neglect of this blog is just one casualty. Despite all the bullsh#t going on, I think it’s important to always have a bit of fun (and never to feel guilty about it!) otherwise I’d go insane. Well, even more than I already am. So, dear friends, I give you some photographs to make you smile!
Last week we visited Porto Venere, a small but very beautiful village on the Ligurian coast near La Spezia. It’s actually not a very long drive from here and quite easy to find. No GPS required! After going through La Spezia, you continue for a truly beautiful drive along the coast. The views were just gorgeous on such a lovely day. There were lots of little fishing villages, narrow streets winding up hillsides and little boats in the bays. On the way, we stopped off in Le Grazie (actually by mistake) and were charmed by the little marina and shops and restaurants along the water. When we got to Porto Venere, there was a steep one-way descent down to the village by the water, and then back up again to find a park. We enjoyed the walk down to the village, and had a look around at this gorgeous little tourist spot with it’s looming island (Palmaria) to one side and the castle and fortress wall above the village. We headed up some very steep stairs into the old centre and wandered around. We came across a stone piazza on a cliff-top with the church of St Peter (consecrated in 1198….no, that’s not a typo!) and the Grotta dell’Arpaia (Byron’s Grotto) leading off it. The Grotto is very cool and you can climb right down to explore the cave and rocks. This grotto is famous because the English poet Byron swam across the gulf of La Spezia to San Terenzo to visit Shelley in Lerici, in 1822. He must have been keen, because that water looks cold! St Peter’s church is built right into the edge of the cliff and has a spectacular view from it’s balcony and rooftop. The view of the Mediterranean sea is so wide, you can almost see the curve of the earth. We wandered back and eventually found a way up to the Andria Doria Castle, perched high above Porto Venere. Really, these Italians know how to make the most of an amazing sea view! The castle is still in pretty good condition for 12th century real estate, and we enjoyed exploring the many levels and towers. After a steep descent back down to the water and some gelati, we headed back home. It was a great day and such a beautiful place to explore! It’s all free too (except for the castle which is just a few euros) and a very good family outing. Enjoy the pics (all 20 of them! It’s hard not to go a bit overboard in such a lovely spot):
Carnivale for kids
Oh how they love a good Carnivale here! You saw the Viareggio one, now check out the Bagnone one. OK, it’s nowhere near the same scale, but I think it was even more fun! This sort of thing happens in all the towns around here: the kids get all dressed up and then parade around on “floats” (dolled-up trucks) and get to throw confetti and spray silly string at all and sundry. Fun!! Our friend Monika lent us some costumes for the boys and they loved dressing up as Peter Pan and Dracula. It was a lovely day in Bagnone luckily, and we all had fun parading through the streets with stops along the way for food and drink (very important!). It all ended up in a hall near the school and there was even more food and merriment. The kids had a ball and got to take part in something I’m sure they will never forget.
We got lots of comments on the “jumping” shot from the last post, so I thought I’d finish with another one of the boys. It’s hard to synchronize them, but it turned out OK in the end (as it always does).