DAY 41

I am doing this blog in Camogli each morning from some sort of travel office. The office provides internet rental service. The place is always crowded. However, I have not seen one person buy anything except me. Six euros of computer time each morning.

After completing yesterday’s blog, I took a walk. Down strange streets and alleys. The alleys are not bad. It is the stairs. Everywhere. Italians must have strong hearts!

I was tired after the walk. Took a nap. Ended up sleeping most of the afternoon away. It is very humid here. It contributes to my tiredness.

I found a Don’s Place in Camogli, Italy. A French cafe on the waterfront. Why Don’s Place? A tanqueray on the rocks was only 4 euros. The cheapest anywhere else in Camogli at least 8 euros. Many 10 or 12. And then there is Portofino where it cost me 17 euro for a gin and tonic.

The owner is a nice guy also. Don again. He spoke English. Was married 5 years ago in La Hoya. Knows Los Angeles and San Diego well. His in laws live in California.

Most bars give you something to eat with a drink. Generally a small dish of potato chips. This guy put out chips, nuts, 2 types of small pieces of pizza, green and back olives soaked in oil, carrot sticks and I cannot recall what else.

What a bargain to drink at this particular French cafe!

Dinner afterwards was with some people I had met earlier in the day. We dined at a very nice out door restaurant which jutted over the Mediterranean. Dinner was by candlelight.

Camogli’s beach is a horseshoe. To my left while dining was a hill. Some of the trees and some of the rocks were bathed in lights. I could see nothing else. Turns out there are hotels hidden behind the trees and the lights were provided by the hotels.

To my right was the length of the beach with a large Church at the end. The Church was all lite up. Beyond the Church, I could see the lights of Genoa.

My appetizer was cod in milk. I have no idea why I ordered it. I am glad I did. It was good. The cod was neither dry nor salty. The meat actually flaked off onto your fork.

For dessert, I had cannoli. Two of them.

Cannolòi must have been a poor man’s dish. I can remember my Mother frequently making them when we lived third floor front on Jay Street. She had hard wood rollers. Looked like hot dogs. She prepared the dough from scratch. Then stretched the dough around the wood forms. They were then dropped into a pan of boiling oil.

When they came out and were cooled, she stuffed the shells with ricotta somehow sweetened. They were good!

I had them again last night and remembered my Mother. Quite frankly, the ones I had last night were no were as good as Mom’s.

I happened to mention to the people I was with that it was my birthday. They bought my dinner.

I return today to Novara. A couple I met have invited me to dinner. The wife is the Moroccan I have mentioned previously. I have been told there will be a cake, also. This should be one great meal! The woman is a professional chef.

Clotheslines again. I am hooked on them.

I failed to mention yesterday that I saw the same thing in Portofino. Yes, very rich Portofino had clothes hanging out windows of very expensive condo buildings and private homes. Not as much as elsewhere. Maybe one or two windows or porches every 3-4 buildings.

I hope to get to Milan over the weekend. Other than flying in, I have not really seen it. There is a Leonardo Da Vinci painting that has been recommended to me.

Many have inquired where are the pictures? No pictures? There are a ton of them. I have two discs of 300 each.

My computer talents are limited. Getting the blog out each morning on this trip has been a task. Pictures too! No way could I have handled it.

I plan on issuing a followup to my DAYS with a couple of days of pics. I am going to try to group and label them so you can fit them in to the experiences shared with you.

Enjoy your day!

DAY 40

Today is special.

It is my birthday.

Seventy seven years.

A long time. Who would have thought. I still remember my young years like yesterday.

My father recently passed on at 98. His father at 94. It appears the genes may be good. I hope.

The weather. I have not spoken of it in ages. Here in mid Italy, it is reported in the following fashion. There is a heat wave coming up from Africa. When the heat wave hits the Mediterranean, the humidity will increase. Rain is also expected coming down from the Alps.

I share the weather report so you can compare it with those in the U.S. Generally the same description wise. Only the names are different.

Yesterday, I finally made Portofino. It is as good as they say, if not better. Magnificent. Beautiful.

You can feel the wealth. Huge yachts. Smart people. High end clothing shops. Everything perfect. The buildings, boats and cafes neat and orderly.

Portofino appeared to me as if it were a finely mowed the lawn. Perfection!

The private homes on the hillside equally magnificent. Obviously equally expensive. Terrific shrubbery. All neatly manicured.

The negative with Portofino is that it is too expensive. Outrageous price wise. I had a gin and tonic. Seventeen euros. Roughly $20 American money.

An ordinary millionaire could not afford to live in Portofino. It is only for the very very rich.

I took a cab to Portofino. Decided to treat myself well. The thought of a train and bus really did not excite me.

The cab cost 40 euro. Not bad for a 15-20 minute drive from one town to another. We had to go up one side of Mount Portofino and down the other.

The return trip was not as easy.

I figured I would take a cab back to Camogli. I went to the cab stand. Four cabs. All beautiful. BMWs and Mercedes.

I asked the fare back to Camogli. One hundred euros. I explained I had only paid 40 euros to get there. They did not care. The cab drivers were polite, but adamant. One hundred euros or stay in Portofino.

I sat down on a bench beneath a nearby tree. What to do? I really would have been pissed off if I had to go 100 euros.

Then I saw a sign. Bus stop. At that instance, the bus came. I got on and made sure it would take me to the metro railway station in St. Margery. I probably spelled the name wrong.

I was assured it would. The cost: 1.5 euros. A deal!

I enjoyed the ride. A large comfortable air conditioned bus. Many lovelies in the their bikinis.

The bus dropped me off in front of the metro station. I went in to the counter. A ticket to Camogli, please. Three euro. I bought it. So far I had spent a measly 4.5 euros to return to Camogli.

The person behind the counter told me to hurry. The train was just arriving. I ran out and got on. One stop later I was in Camogli.

The train dropped me off at the internet store I have been using each morning to do the blog. The streets beyond are blocked off. Only pedestrian traffic permitted. A shot walk and I was at my apartment.

On rising this morning, I watched a little TV. No English speaking channels. I came upon the Wizard of Oz. In Italian. However, the songs/singing were in English with Italian sub titles. The movie was easy to follow. I must have seen it a 100 times already.

I have been enjoying breakfast at a little cafe on the sea. Tiny inside. Three small tables outside. Rosalie, sometimes Rosalia, has been taking care of me. A short thin woman in her mid 50s.

I told her today was my birthday. I was 77 years old. She started pulling on my left ear lobe. Seventy seven times. For good luck. She said that was the Italian way.

I explained how we spank in the U.S. She thought that was strange. I did not tell her that pulling on my ear lobe was strange to me.

How will I spend the rest of my birthday? Anything special? I do not know. I will take today like every day. As it comes.

An observation. Middle aged and older women dress well in this area. Nice dresses, suits and hats. Looking at them is like viewing a fashion show.

Enjoy your day!



This is the day!

I leave this morning for Italy and Greece. I will write you tomorrow from Italy.

I have never taken such a long trip. Two whole months! I am anxious to begin the venture. No, adventure.

Yesterday was busy doing last minute things. Packing took a while.

Dinner last night with the family. Fun, as always. Ally’s birthday is June 1. I will not be here. I gave her her present last night. She was excited. It was a game. I was not sure she would enjoy it. It was the right thing to get her!

Robert and Ally wanted to do something special in view of my trip. They have ice cream cards for Dairy Queen. They took me to Dairy Queen for ice cream.

Love them!

The next time you read this blog, it will be from somewhere in Italy. You will experience the trip with me.

Enjoy your day!