Friday, September 19 – A little swimming, a little work

Sunny and hot

The weather is perfect!! Sunny and hot enough to swim, but not too hot. We wear shorts and short sleeved t-shirts all the time. This is a very casual town – everyone, even the Italians, are in shorts and flip-flops. We are almost over dressed with our running shoes. It really has the feel of a beach town.

Today we walked around town and attempted some shopping. I got a repeat of my only other attempt to purchase shoes in Italy: a ten minute rant about how big my feet are and how they probably have no shoes in such a large size (American 10). But then I was presented with a pair of red sandals. Very ugly red sandals, so no Italian shoe purchase for me and I don’t think I will try this again (like, I know I have big feet – what should I do – bind them?). Reminds of that book To Much Tuscan Sun and how many times the author commented on the size of Americans and their feet.

We found the perfect mortar and pestle – mortar of marble from Carrara and pestle of olive wood. I have been looking for this for years. Yes, I could have just ordered it from Dean & Deluca, but I wanted to buy it in Italy. So we went in, picked the size we wanted, picked it up, realized it weighs about 20 pounds, put it down, and made a mental note to now order it from Dean & Deluca.

And, of course, we bought a few books. Steve got Beppe Severgnini’s new book of essays (in Italian – Steve can actually read in Italian), I got the Slow Food guide to this region (in Italian – but restaurant and shop names are understandable).

We also bought beach towels – because we wanted to go swimming and did not feel right about taking our nice Villa Margherita towels to the seaside. Buying things in Italy is such fun (except for shoes). The linen store was small and the owner brings the towels out from the back, apologizing because she only has navy blue ones. Then she clips off all the tags and opens one up to show us. Once we have decided to take two, she clips off the tags on the other one and puts them in a bag for us, all the while talking to Steve who wanted to know if she swims this late in the year (she does). So not all Italians go with that no swimming after September 1 rule.

We picked up some pizza and a potato and vegetable tart thing at the bakery and had a quick lunch back at the apartment, before heading out for a swim. It is only 3 blocks from Villa Margherita to the beach. We walked down to the public area, swam for about 20 minutes, dryed off and then back to the hotel. I worked with Federico on his web sites for the afternoon.

After that we wandered along the beachfront looking for a trail to Bonassola, the next town to the north. We did not find the trail, but did find an abandoned road along the coast. We walked along it, through several tunnels, until it was too wet to continue. We found out later that this was the original railway, but when they wanted to add a second track, then moved it higher up the hill. I think we could have followed it to Bonassola.

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.