Thursday, 14 August 2014

Italy road trip #4 Noli to Sestri Levante to Lerici

The first three photos were taken in Noli, the last four in Sestri Levante. Our 'quadruple room' was in a hotel owned by nuns, but not run by them. Must be a rather lucrative business we thought, the hotel has it's own private beach and is just a few minutes walk from the sea. We liked Noli because it was clearly not a tourist hot spot. It was small and simple. Sestri Levante, on the other hand was popular with overseas tourists as well as Italians on holiday. There was a lot going on late at night, fun fair type things, stalls, bars, cafe's etc. The market stalls (pictured) were really expensive and mostly not very tasteful. We had fantastic ice cream though, which we ate whilst people watching.

Breakfast was an optional extra at Sestri so we decided to get croissants and cappuccinos on the way. This is breakfast Italian style apparently. There was no shortage of gluten free options in Italy, I'd say they are better than the UK. Every supermarket had a well stocked gf section and in one town I came across a sort of health food shop which had a huge section of gf foods.

Leaving Sestri Levante was the first (and last) time we decided to avoid the motorways and take the 'scenic' route. Cue smaller barriers and jaw dropping sheer drops. We seemed to be driving up and up and up and M had a bit of sweat on his forehead in a car with 17 degree air conditioning, I was holding on tight to the car door (I've no idea why that helped!) and trying not to say too much in case M took his eyes off the road. We eventually found one viewpoint that wasn't overgrown by trees and pulled in for a quick look down the valley. It was breathtaking but my iPod photos haven't turned out well at all. Hopefully Ella took some better ones on her DSLR. One false move, or silly shove and you'd be dead. I was glad to get back in the car.

We decided to check out another beach, this time Lerici. Even coming down the mountain into the region was breathtaking. One thing I couldn't photograph for lack of stopping places was the beautiful river we were occasionally beside and a couple of times drove over. The rivers seem to be as blue as the sea and the stones very white. In one part we saw sunbathers and swimmers, something that would be unthinkable in British rivers (though people do swim in them). I would have liked to have stopped there but the kids only had one thing in mind; swimming in the sea again, and who could blame them.

(If you're wondering why the photos mainly feature Jake, it's because he was more than happy to pose whereas his sister went berserk everytime I pointed the camera her way.)

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