Santa Margherita - Seven Kilos Down

Trip Start Mar 03, 2005
Trip End Mar 04, 2006

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Friday, October 7, 2005

I am here in Santa Margherita, near the famous Cinque Terra, to catch up with work friend Gabrielle Lamaro, and her Mum Marie, who are here in Italy on holiday for a month. I was originally not planning on going to Italy. Then I thought I would sneak down from Vienna to Milan so I could say I had been to Italy on this trip (secretly to try to go to an AC Milan or Inter Milan game). Then I thought oh well it isn't much further to see a familiar face.... When you have been away for 7 months it is great to see someone from home.

Immediately we hit the pasta trail, down to the Garabaldi Spaghettaria. Oh my lord I have missed regular doses of pasta. Ahhhhhh, Penne. Ahhhh, Pesto and Pomedoro. Ahhhh, my first gelato. Ahhhh, better. Oh yeah, thats right I am here to catch up with a friend. Gab and I spend most of the time chatting away. Soon after dinner Marie leaves us for the hotel, as we head on for a few more drinks down near the port of Santa Margherita and continued chatting about travels and home. Ahhhh, Italian wine....

My little bargain of a hotel I found has a small gym, and an extensive breakfast. This is luxurious and not crazily expensive, even for Santa Margherita, one of the more expensive parts of Italy. After all this is the Italian Riveria, where it costs at least one Euro to breath the air. At the other end of the scale, Gab and Marie are staying at a hotel with the bitch from hell running it. She is an English School Ma'am who is horribly rude. They have paid a small fortune, in comparison to my friendly surrounds.

I am currently reading a book on the Sicilian Mafia, called "Cosa Nostra". It is Italian for 'Our Thing'. The don't refer to themselves as 'The Mafia' or 'The Family'. Just 'Our Thing'. Hence it get into the spirit of things, I won't outline the coming days travels as 'Gab, Marie and I'. I will refer to it as the Cosa Nostra. Cie?

It is drizzly rainy weather, but the Cosa Nostra push through on buses around the area. Portofino is just around the coast. It is small but very much Italian, so we ignore the weather and sit to drink pricey coffees under cover. Ahhhh, Italian Coffee.

Returning to the bus which hugs the coastline, we stopped at the towns of Rapallo and Recco, followed by Camogli for pizza and gelato. Ahhhh, more gelato. Ahhhhh, pizza.

I have approximately 7 kilograms to catch up on. It is not difficult here in Italy, and I intend to have a crack at gaining it back. Back at the Hotel Fasce (that should be Fascist perhaps), the Bitch From Hell is angry that my fellow Cosa Nostrians have a guest around. This woman is a cow. She would look wonderful in concrete shoes.... hmmm. The Cosa Nostra head back out to eat more pasta, down by the Port. The pasta is so-so, but the company is good.

Once again Gab and I head out for a few more drinks. This time to La Baraque, a cosy atmospheric place that serves a sensational Sangria. Ahhh, Italian Spanish Sangria....

The Cosa Nostra are up early this morning. I am complete with my full breakfast at the friendliest place in town. My fellow Cosa Nostrovites have faced the Bitch From Hell who serves them tiny portions. They feel like Oliver from the musical, wanting mooooooore. Our mission today is visit the famous five towns of the Cinque Terra.

The quant five small towns hug the coast line, and are linked by a walking pathway and rail line. The dreary rain of yesterday has cleared to blue skies and warmth. The outstanding towns of Mararola and Vernazza are favourites for us all in the Cosa Nostra. Lunch was spent at a noisy trattoria in Manarola, amongst large groups of locals eating seafood and swigging vino. We created our own banquet of pastas and seafood and local beer. If only we knew how to say more than a few words in Italian, we could have passed as locals.

Gab and I completed the walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola. It is the shortest of the strolls on the cliff, but we were running short on time as we had covered some decent ground in one day. Exhausted are a long days eating and strolling, we returned to Santa Margherita and my relaxing abode and their prison camp. The Garabaldi Spaghettaria beckons again for antipasto and pasta. Ahhhh, antipasto.

Seven kilos down? Not for long....
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