Tuesday, September 16 – A Day Off

Sunny and hot

Today we did nothing. Our apartment is right under the breakfast room, which I first thought was a bad thing as we wake up when they start getting it ready at 8am, but then I realized is a good thing because this will finally get us up earlier and it did!

We were not sure if we could use the breakfast room at the hotel, and I wanted to go out to a caffe anyway, so we went out for “Italian Breakfast” – a sweet croissant thing and a thimbleful of espresso. In Tuscany we call these croissant things “cornetto”, but in Liguria they call them “brioche”. Same thing. I think they are all made in a factory somewhere and trucked around in the early hours to all the bars in Italy.

Then we walked all around Levanto. People were swimming. Levanto is a great town. Small enough to be comfortable (you can walk everywhere, there is not much traffic), but large enough to have many restaurants, caffes and shops. Lots of good, small food stores too. We went to an enotecca to get local olive oil and then a few shops to get supplies.

We had a nice lunch out in town. Steve had swordfish; I had the first of many noodles with pesto. Seaside towns are difficult for vegetarians (who do not eat fish – like me). Most menus only offer seafood antipasti and seafood or meat secondi. For primi, your choice is usually noodles with pesto (which is excellent here) or noodles with tomato sauce. Even the contorni (vegetable side dishes) is just salad or french fries. So I had noodles with pesto (excellent) and a salad. We even had some local wine.

Spent the afternoon out in our garden area reading. I am glued to “Ripe for the Picking” by Annie Hawes, her sequel to “Extra Virgin”. It is not nearly as good as Extra Virgin, and her style of writing takes a couple of chapters to get used to, but I am glued to it nonetheless. I bought it from Amazon.uk and had it shipped to the US, then brought it here to read in Liguria, because it is set in Liguria (but in the area closer to France, near San Remo).

Cooked a simple dinner at the apartment. The kitchen works okay, but is not fabulous. I was spoiled by the great kitchen we had in Saanen. This one is like what you find frequently in Italian vacation rentals – lots of sort of worn out pots and pans (where are there always about 10 very used T-fal frying pans?) – but I sorted through them, washed out a cupboard and nicely arranged the ones I would use. There – as good as home. Also bought a clean sponge and a couple of dusters that I turned into potholders.

The best thing about the apartment is the garden. The hotel has a lovely large garden area with lots of loungers, tables and chairs, but the apartment gets its own private garden with two huge palm trees and lots of flowering bushes. I will write more details about the apartment later.

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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.