May 13, 2014

The Italian Riviera

We stepped off our train (the second time, since we may or may not have originally got off at the wrong stop) into the cool Mediterranean sea air. We weaved through brightly colored buildings down the slope to Santa Margherita Ligure, where the bright mare blu awaited. 

We had little trouble finding our hotel, as it sat resplendent on the waterfront.

A dapperly dressed attendant delivered us to our room, as we all crossed our fingers for a view. We were not disappointed.

We spent a moment "oo-ing and aw-ing" at the scene before jaunting off to explore our Italian Riviera destination. 

Per usual, Jewel and I were the most colorfully dressed girls in the town. 

The architecture of Santa Margherita Ligure is strikingly in contrast with the rest of Italy. There is a definite level of "well to do" attraction in the baroque buildings. 

Case in point is the interior of the Santuario di Nostra Signora della Rosa (I'm sorry the link is in Italian). Every inch of the church is ornately covered in gold leaf design, frescoes, and a dozen or more crystal chandeliers line the hall. It was beautiful, but a bit gaudy for my taste. (Gaudy, like God-y, get it? I'm hilarious). 

The majority the non-religiously affiliated buildings in the coastal town are painted in the Trompe-l'œil style. To be honest, the portrayal is so impressive we spent our first hour pretty much naive to the illusion.  

There is also a significant use of color spotting the (few) roads of the town, a welcome change from the monotony of the brown stones of Florence. 

The uppity little town also is chalk full of shopping. Curse you euro. 

After some very strenuous and lustful window shopping we were all in desperate famish for lunch, so we went hunting for something close to the shore (not a hard criteria to meet). 

Il Venissage fit the bill with an ocean perch and plates for sharing (a favorite Italian affair). 

Jewel had her "I'm hungry" face on. Dangerous territory. 

I had my "I'm-in-the-Italian-Riviera-I-can-die-happy-now" lounge on. Much safer. 

Our plate of delectable meats and cheeses arrived and we dug in; I even momentarily forgot about taking a thousand photos. 

Momentarily. I'm a shutter bug, forgive me. 

Santa Margherita Ligure is yet another one of those Italian villages where there is not technically much to do, but walking around and enjoying the scenery is so diverting you forget all about rushing around and having to be here, do this, call so & so, etc. etc. The Italian "slow life" really suits me. 

As does gelato. It defines my relationship with Italy in every way: a bit decadent, gluttonous, obsessive, addictive, and delightful. I was a bit more "nutricious" with this particular scoop choice, opting for a mela cannela (apple cinnamon) flavor, which was basically frozen apple sauce; mi piace

Is this Jewel posing adorably or hiding from a gust of wind in her (my) very flowy dress? Let's go with both. 

As our exploring wore on, we had a sit by the harbor to enjoy the evening sun. 

The water was incredibly clear allowing us, and some cute little tike antagonizing the situation with bread, to watch the fish swim aggressively around and fight for food.

We are easily entertained. 

More illustrious than the fish in the harbor were the millions of euro valued yachts we spent time coveting.

Mama denied our plan to jump aboard and steal a boat (some nonsense about Italian police), so Jewel and I had to settle for galavanting on a shaky dock. 

We made it back to our prime hotel view just in time to catch the sunset. 

We went out post-sunset, after relaxing for a bit, to find some grub, which proved impressively more challenging than we realized. The consideration of the many octogenarians in town did not factor in to our dinner plans until it was a bit late. Nevertheless, we eventually found some decent pasta (always a sure bet in this country). More importantly, after dinner, we went and found me A MARGARITA IN SANTA MARGHERITA! 

After I drank my glass of sugar, we walked back to our hotel under a full moon, eagerly anticipating the chance to rest our feet and lounge in our comfy camera.  

The window lookout was really spectacular at all hours of the day.

My personal favorite, however, was the sunrise. As a west-coaster I have never seen the sun rise over the water, only set. I was pretty enamored by the situation, earning taunts from Jewel. 

We left in the early morning light, off to our next destination, regretfully glancing back at our picturesque Riviera, hoping our new target would be as lovely. We need not have worried though, for the next stop on our itinerary makes it on my list of most favorite places in Italy. 

Yours, Kenna 

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