Morning departure for Italy. Drive to the Cinque Terre area. Dinner is not included today.
For once the itinerary is right. We left for Italy. We arrived in Italy. We are on our own. This is going to be a short entry for several reasons, not the least of which is the cost of internet time. The sauna-like conditions of this room are also a big factor.
We left Nice around 10 a.m. with our new driver, Antonio, who has photos of a priest, Pope John Paul XXIII and the infant of Prague by his head in the bus, but he looks not unlike a mafia hit man.
The drive was lovely over the Highway of Tunnels. Ian says there are "hundreds of them" and we certainly went through our share, passing past lots of terraced hills covered with greenhouses and gradually getting into more popuplated areas. The first thing I saw crossing a bridge into the Genoa area was an Ikea.
We are discovering that the vagueness of the information prior to departure about the Italy portion of our trip were because there dont seem to be any plans. We are in a gorgeous 4 star hotel about a mile from everything. When we arrived Ian said we were on our own and that he was going to go off and study what he could do with us tomorrow.
Jeri and I have a gorgeous room with a fabulous view, but no balcony. Char and Pat have not quite as gorgeous view (but almost) with a balcony that wraps around two sides and comes with a table and chairs.
There is a private beach covered with chairs which you pay extra to use. There is also a lovely pool on the roof with a pool boy so straight out of an Italian soap opera that Im afraid to go up there alone for fear he will be giggling at me behind those dark sunglasses.
We hiked 1/2 mile into town and found some pizza to eat (we arrived during the mid afternoon siesta time and almost everything in town was closed) and then the younger set plus Pat went on a hike while Char and I came back to the hotel.
I think this is my second time staying in a 4 star hote and I am even less impressed than I was in the first. It is assumed that because you can afford a 4 star hotel, you can afford to pay for just about everything. Jeri is of the youth hostel and farmers market set and I am perfecty fine with a comfortable bed close to something interesting. This expensive amenities stuff is for the birds.
However, that said, Cinque Terre is beautiful and maybe Ian will have learned enough about the area that he can give us more direction tonight and we will have a better plan for tomorrow.
Hotel Regina Elena
Lungomare Milite Ignoto, 44
Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy