Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Italian Riviera at Santa Margherita ..... Aug 2010

18 - 23 August 2010

Buildings of Santa Margherita
We arrived into the harbour at Santa Margherita after a steady sail up the Cinque Terra coast from La Grazie. The wind was from the south east, straight through the entrance gap so we tucked in as close as we could next to the moored boats to get out of the swell. We were amazed there were no other boats at anchor but happy to have plenty of room.

Santa Marghertia is a a lovely town, it is centre piece of the Levente Rivieria, the area between famous Portofino just to the west and Rapello to the east, known as the playground to Italy's very rich and famous, especially through summer. We spent 5 nights tucked up in the harbour, the weather still not completely settled after the big storm we had had days earlier in La Grazie. We enjoyed excursions ashore, wandering the streets and promenading on the waterfront with hundreds of Italians. Again we heard very few non Italian speakers, where have all the foreign tourists gone?
More great nibbles for happy hour

One afternoon, between showers, we caught the bus the short distance to Rapello, although in an attractive spot it had very busy shopping area and everyone had come out to play while the sun shone. We returned to the more sleepy Santa Margherita and enjoyed a harbour view table for happy hour, but of course the harbour view is included in the drinks price, 21Euro for 2 large beers and a wine, but we saved on dinner as the free nibbles were so good we didn't need anything else to eat!!

When the clouds cleared one afternoon we grabbed the camera and took to the streets. The buildings here were quite unusual, in the top photo you can see they are freshly painted, with the stone corners, window arches and facades all painted in complementing colours. However, these facades are all painted on and the buildings are all plastered and flat, and they just paint all the designs on them, even very old ones that hadn't been restored were the same, all just painted on. They must have some very talented painters around here, it must take months to complete each building.
Cute changing sheds in Santa Margherita

On another afternoon we did the coastal walk around to beautiful Portofino. The walk is just lovely, the houses are tucked away discreetly in the trees. Actually to call them houses does not accurately describe them, most were castles, converted forts, villas, and most set back with total privacy afforded by the dense tree cover in the whole area. We followed the quiet coast road around, in and out of the few small bays enroute until we were above Portofino and looking down through the trees into the small harbour there. It is just so so beautiful and will be displayed fully in the next blog update.

Balvenie in Santa Margherita's harbour
Eventually we moved on, the clock is ticking and we need to keep making progress further west. We tied up to a mooring buoy in the small bay of San Fruittuoso, and took the opportunity to dinghy across and snorkel over the 4 metre high Statue of Christ which has been placed in the bay in about 15 metres of water. Visibility was good so we were able to see the statue, no one seems to know why it was ever placed there.

Enroute back to Balvenie we were intercepted by the mooring ball fee collector, Mark played his "but we have sailed all the way from New Zealand to see your beautiful country" card, it has worked time and time, - no charge again today!

Cruising info for Santa Margherita and San Fruittuoso, Italy:-
Santa Margherita - 44 20.029N 09 13.005E 5.7m sand We kept close to the moored boats for better protection and it kept us out of the way of the ferries, they are frequent all day but don't create much wash
San Fruittuoso - 44 18.832N 09 10.364E There were several big white mooring buoys with lines attached in that area. Over the other side of the bay are several little dinghy moorings where we tied the dinghy while we snorkeled. The statue was easy enough to find. Normal charge we think was 10Euro for an hours stop for the mooring buoy
Communications - WIND Dongle and TIM on phone worked well
Ashore - Take dinghy in to the right of where the ferries are going and tie off to concrete wall close in (too shallow for bigger boats so out of harms way). Everything you need, 2 ok supermarkets quite hard to find and describe (go walkabout!!). English newspapers. ATM machines. Diesel pump end of harbour on right 1.25Euro per litre. 500ml beer 7Euro on waterfront but heaps of free nibbles. Dinner of 2 Pizzas half litre carafe wine and service 35Euro on waterfront. Pre purchase bus tickets from kiosk on main road running along waterfront - 1.20Euro each for Rapello or Portofino

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