Thursday, June 19th:
I checked out of my hotel in Camogli and took the train to Santa Margherita Ligure. Except for the rumbling noise of the trains, Camogli was a virtually traffic free, quiet little town. In contrast, Santa Margherita was a little city full of cars and vespas flying by everywhere.
I had a reservation at Albergo Fasce. My hotel was situated in a pretty good location. The woman who ran it was British. She hurried me along each time I entered the reception area. When I arrived, she told me that there was a problem with my original room. Instead she gave me a “bigger” room BUT this room did not include a private bathroom. The bathroom was down the hall and I had to share it with another room. Although my room was clean and somewhat quiet, I was not happy about the bathroom situation. I specifically asked for a private bathroom (inside my room) when booking my room. I did not care as much about the size of the room. Reading current reviews on many of the travel sites, it appears that the hotel is under new management. I have not linked Albergo Fasce as I have not been able to find an owner website.
After unpacking, I walked around the city. I found the tourist information office and met a wonderful woman who was originally from Venezuela. She gave me some great advice about the best pizzerias and gelaterias and told me about the most important things to do while in Santa Margherita Ligure. I spent the rest of the day orienting myself, walking around Santa Margherita, and stopping in a cool bookstore and a few other shops.
The first four photos below are of Santa Margherita from my boat ride on Wednesday. The fifth photo is of some boats in the boat harbor and the last photo is at the gardens outside Villa Durazzo.
Friday, June 20th:
On my second day in Santa Margherita, my plan was to visit Rapallo. Here are a couple of photos I took in Santa Margherita Ligure before heading to the train station.
When I arrived at the train station, I found out that there was a little train incident. Something was broken on binario (track) 3. Of course that was the track my train was to arrive on, so the train had to switch to track 2 and to do that, it had to wait until the train coming from the opposite direction passed through. The train on the opposite side was “in ritardo” (late) and of course that made our train late.
When I finally arrived in Rapallo, the first thing I did was to find the tourist information office to get some info on the funivia (gondola or cable car) that takes you up to Montallegro. I wandered through the streets searching for the tourist information office but could not find it. I popped into a few shops along the way. While buying some pecorino in one of the shops, I met a very kind woman. She began to give me directions on how to find the funivia. While she was giving me the directions, another very kind woman offered to give me a ride part way there. After the woman finished her business in the store, I followed her to her delivery truck. We had an interesting chat about the beaches in Liguria and Hawaii as we rode together the short distance to the spot very close to the funivia where she dropped me off. The funivia to Monteallegro was then very easy to find.
I don’t remember much about the ride on the funivia. It was nice to finally arrive in Montallegro where it was nice and cool. There was a church, two hotel/restaurants, and spectacular views.
After my visit toMontallegro, I headed back down the funivia and managed to find the harbor of Rapallo. I explored the area and took some photos. The wondered about the castle but did not have any information / never found that tourist information office.
I decided to take the boat over to Portofino for another visit.
I forgot all about lunch and was pretty hungry when I arrived in Positano. I splurged, eating at a restaurant right on the waterfront. I was seated outside at a table in the front of the restaurant with a great view of the harbor, enjoying a very delicious pesto with lasagna noodles. After my late lunch, I spent the next few hours enjoying the views and peacefulness of this beautiful little town
I took the boat back to Santa Margherita Ligure, had dinner at a little pizzeria nearby, and then packed my bags for my train travel the following day.
My stay in Santa Margherita Ligure was short. I really did not give this place much of a chance, spending most my second day in Rapallo and Portofino. My experience at my hotel also soured my visit a bit.
*I did return in 2008 (after some hesitation), spending 7 nights in Santa Margherita Ligure. I very much enjoyed both my time in Santa Margherita Ligure and my stay at Hotel Jolanda.
Next up – 2 nights with friends in Empoli