Some travel days have themes. Some of these are fun, others, not so much. Almost all are amusing in retrospect. Our third full day in Italy was apparently designed to test my navigational skills. I basically failed but I had a lot of fun doing it.
I started the morning by waking early and decided to get in a run before we traveled to our next stop. I set off on the winding country road, sure I couldn’t get too lost with a simple out and back route. I intended to run 3 miles so after heading down the road 1.5 miles, I turned around. After about a mile or so, I realized that the scenery didn’t look all that familiar. I was in a foreign country, though, so maybe that was it. After another half mile it was pretty clear that I wasn’t back at the agriturismo. Luckily, I had brought my phone with me and pulled my map which indicated that somehow, on my simple out and back route, I had taken a wrong turn and ended up WAY off the beaten path. Perhaps some day I will learn to embrace this type of situation but at the time all I could think was that my children were expecting me back at a certain time and I had no way to call them and that we had a train to catch in Genoa and a pretty tight time schedule. Damn.
I thought through my options, hoped and prayed that my Google Maps were actually going to be accurate this time in a foreign country, and began hiking up a rustic trail through an orchard. Eventually I came to the top of the hill and from there navigated my way back home. Phew. We ate breakfast, loaded the car, and set off for Genoa. However, the navigation system in the car decided to be a bit finicky and had us going up and down a rural path multiple times. We were hopelessly turned around, going in circles and getting later and later for our train. I had about lost my mind when fortuitously, the correct road appeared. It would seem that it was always there and I just didn’t see it, but who really knows?
After getting on the correct road we enjoyed a stunningly beautiful drive through mountain passes and along the coast to the seaside town of Genoa. Total time in the car was about 2 hours. I was anxious about finding the car drop off at the harbor in Genoa but it turned out to be really easy thanks to my eagle eyed backseat navigators who spotted it immediately after getting off the autostrada. We dumped the car and hiked 20 minutes to the train station where we met my husband who had purchased train tickets for us. We had a few minutes to wait and then boarded our train to Monterosso.
The train ride was less than an hour and deposited us at the train station in the new town section of Monterosso. From there it was a 10 minute walk to the old town where we were met by our Air BnB host and showed up five flights of steep stairs to our apartment overlooking the neighborhood square. The apartment was ideally located in the center of old town. It was a bit noisy, though, and without AC we had the windows open all night and the noise of the town was definitely noticeable. The long hike up and down the stairs was a bit of a pain, too. We knew about it ahead of time and weren’t surprised but I think next time we will find somewhere a little more peaceful (which in Monterosso would mean moving only a few blocks up the street).
We had lunch at Belvedere (good pesto pasta) and then met our friends at the Monterosso beach. One of the luckiest parts of our Italy trip was convincing our good friends to join us in Monterosso for nearly a week. The girls had friends to play with and the adults had good companions for a variety of activities. If you’ve read my earlier posts you know I love traveling with friends and having our friends with us on this trip was indescribably amazing.
Anyway, I digress. The kids hit the ocean, we lounged on the chairs and drank prosecco and soaked up the Italian sun. Life is good!
At the end of the day it turns out that we got lost a few times. But we also got found. And at the very end of it all we found ourselves with our dear friends on a beach in Italy, enjoying the good life. It doesn’t get any better than that.
A few logistical details: the main beach in old town Monterosso is a pay to play operation. You rent lounge chairs for the day. You can also rent paddle boats which were a big hit with the girls. There is a small walk up restaurant and you can order at the counter or from your chair. There are sandwiches, salads, etc as well as snacks and drinks. Beach loungers with umbrellas were 20 euros for the day, lower cost for a basic chair. The food and drinks were very reasonably priced
The cost of doing business (4 people):
Rental car (4 days): €450
Dinner: paid for by our friends
Train tickets: €29