2018 Day 97 – Liguria

We wake to the same storm that raged all night. It’s still bucketting down. This may be one of the smaller mountains we’ve been on, but getting down it in the rain is going to take a bit of focus, even from Fearless himself.

There are a couple things in our favour: it’s Sunday morning, so there’s little traffic other than those coming back from early Mass. No trucks either, not that I think they could fit on parts of these roads. Against us are the endless carpet of leaves and debris brought down by the storm,

wet, windy, narrow roads helpfully captioned with “slippery” signs, fog

and a myriad of waterfalls that have sprung from nowhere.

Rivers that were almost dry yesterday thunder along, reminiscent of every floodwater footage I’ve seen.

Even the water birds are not game to be anywhere near it – I see a few stranded on rocks in the middle of ferocious water, waiting for everything to subside.

Above all this though, is the outstanding beauty all around us.

Autumnal colours at their best, washed bright by the rain,

beautiful stone fencing

and pretty farmhouses. Many of the hillsides have been terraced by the labours of generations – it’s very picturesque.

Chris’s driving skills are put to the test but he gets us down safely. It’s a very slow and cautious descent. I’m very grateful that there were no trees over the road – there would have been nowhere to turn.

We pass out of Emilia Romagna into Liguria, one Italy’s smallest regions.

With its pretty beaches and Mediterranean outlook, it’s also known as the Italian Riviera. Despite the rain, it’s bustling with high rise development, full marinas and of course, no place to stop.

We just don’t seem to be able to strike the right note in Italy – places are either deserted, or too busy to get near. I suspect that touring here would be better achieved with longer stops in fewer destinations. It’s not helping that almost every site we might have been able to stay in, is now closed. There’s a definite “season” once you touch summer holiday beach areas in Europe.

The storms have had an impact along the shore – there’s a brown line stretching out for miles where rivers wash out to sea. Debris floats in the marinas and there are quite a few worried looking boat owners.

We still have a lovely time looking as we drive through Rapallo, stopping breifly at the marina,

then onto Santo Stefano al Mare where we stop for the night.

It’s finally stopped raining allowing us stretch our legs after the better part of two days trapped inside. There’s a marina here too, with massive retaining wall.

Even so, the larger waves crash over it. We see a boat in dry dock scaffolded for painting.

That’s something you don’t see every day. By its side is a crane capable of lifting boats up to 220 tonne – you can see the waves hitting the marina’s retaining wall behind it.

The sea is pretty wild – it makes for an entertaining walk along the promenade into town.

Incredibly, some of the huge boulders that line the shore have been torn loose in the storm and are being tossed around under water. Each time they crash together there’s a thunderous crack, dimmed by the water – it’s a fabulously pleasing noise.

Later we meet one of our neighbours – another New Zealander who’s bought a motorhome in England, to travel in then import home. Along with a great chat about our relative travels, we learn a little more to set us along the path towards our own import process.

It’s frustrating being trapped inside when it rains….but… there’s a lovely sunset to round the day out,

we survived a perilous mountain drive in poor conditions and I scored pats from two of the softest, utterly gorgeous bernese mountain dog puppies on our afternoon walk. I’m calling it a win.