Friday, May 19, 2006

Day 16: Lerici

Even though today is the "vacation from the vacation", I wake up early and sit out on the terrace with my computer...watching the day get started in town and on the water. It is overcast this morning...not what I ever expect on my vacation...but I am optimistic that the sun will come out soon.

View from our room

We have the Doria Park breakfast....still an extensive spread and still highlighted by the Rube Goldberg-type orange juicer that cuts and squeezes the oranges automatically. After breakfast, the sky has still not brightened so we hang around for a while, reading and writing and relaxing. We get in the car and drive down the coast to the small, very quiet resort towns of Tellaro and Fiascherino and stop to look at the pretty beaches set in rocky coves below and down steep hills.

Edo di Mare beach

But there is not much going on in those towns so we circle up around Lerici to the next beach town to the west--San Terenzo--which has always seemed a bit more downscale and gritty than Lerici.

San Terenzo

We park the car on the waterfront between Lerici and San Terenzo--they are about 1.5 miles apart--and walk back into San Terenzo. They have made improvements on the parks and fixing up the promenade that stretches all the way to Lerici. We walk through a small weekly market...which is mostly cheap clothing...and stop at a food store to buy some bread and cheese to augment the food that we already have for a picnic on our terrace.

By the time we get back to the hotel, the sun is shining and we enjoy our picnic on the terrace. We hang out at the hotel after lunch and at about 4 pm, we walk down to the waterfront in Lerici and walk almost all the way to the Florida Hotel (about 1 km) which is close to the border with San Terenzo. We stop to say hello to the owner of the wine store in Lerici...we have been going there for many years now and we have long (slow) discussions in a mixture of English and Italian on various subjects--politics, the state of the world, wine varieties and what's happening in Lerici. Today the main subject is the smoke point of olive oil and how much better it is to use for frying than any other type of oil. We buy a liter of Ligurian olive oil to take home and some olive oil soap that I like. He tells us that he may be retiring this this might be our last encounter with him.

Dinner tonight with Luigi and Shona is a restaurant that specializes in is a very popular large restarant near Sarzana. Luigi has wanted to try it and has never been able to get a reservation. It is a big, bustling restaurant--lots of family groups and parties are there--and there is a big wood-fired oven where they make the focaccia. It is very similar in concept to the restaurants in Podenzana that serve "panigacci" it is hot, amazingly tasty white-pizza like bread that comes to the table with a set menu which includes grilled vegetables, vitello tonnato, lardo with amazing cherry tomatoes, grilled eggplant, leek souffle, cheeses and a big plate of ham and salami. It is a delicious feast and the focaccia may be the best we have ever had.

We go through a good amount of wine and food and have a nice visit with Luigi and Shona....catching up on family matters and talking business. Luigi drives us home and we say goodbye until our next visit to Lerici.

Tomorrow, it's back to "work"-- on to Bordighera.


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