Europe – day 11 – to the Cinque Terre

We turned back in our keys to the apartment and got our security deposit back. We then dropped the girls at their hostel in Nice. This took some navigational improvisation because of all the construction that is happening in Nice as they put in a new trolley tracks. We could not always turn where the map said we could.

The girls later had to run back to the apartment to fetch a cell phone recharger cable we had left. Having the cell phones has been handier that we thought the would be. We could receive a call from the owner of the apartment and contact the girls to have them run the errand. Of course, if we did not have the cell phones, we would not have had the cable. The road along the Italian Riviera is one of the most frustrating for trying to hold a cell phone call as you are in and our of tunnels constantly.

Driving to the Cinque Terre wet smoothly until we hit a lot of traffic in Genova heading the in the same direction. It seems that a lot of people were heading out to the beaches on a beautiful Summer saturday.

I took over driving in Genova and we decided to detour to Portafino for lunch. Among the places you should not take a rented mini-van is Portafino in my opinion. The roads were very small (like when you have to go part way up on the curb to get around a bus). and many many people had had the same idea about going to Portafino. We did not find any place to park in Portafino or even the next closest town over, so all we saw of Portafino was what could be seen from the road.

We stopped for lunch in Rapalo where we had a nice lunch of paninis at a cafe in the park. It was interesting to see that all of the main beach at Rapalo seemed to be a private beach club and we were left outside peeking in past the changing huts.

We continued driving to our hotel in La Spezia. We had some difficulty finding the hotel because the streets signs were not easy to find and the directions sent from the hotel would have had us drive the wrong way up a one way street. Fortunately parking was easier and our spot on the street will work until Monday as they don’t enforce parking on Sunday. When we got to the hotel it was all locked up but there was a cell phone number to call and we were told that someone would come in 10 minutes. While we were waiting a young guest from Latvia let us into the lobby.

We explored the town by walking up the hill to the train station (further than we thought). We found a train schedule and headed back for another dinner of pizza and calzone (no egg in this one). A suicidal pigeon crashed into a building while we ate and killed itself. Neighborhood children ran around us and talked across us as if we were not present at the sidewalk cafe.

The room was noisy as we left the windows open and people at the bar opposite the hotel were surprisingly hard of hearing, necessitating everything they said to be yelled. In the early morning we could hear the gulls taking over the street (possibly tormenting the pigeons into suicidal tendencies).

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