Europe 8: Portofino!

Back in October, when I first started becoming more excited about the surprise & less able to keep it a secret, I quizzed my mom on a road trip to Laughlin to see my grandparents, who were in town gambling (of course).

Me: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Mom: Europe!

Me: (Cha-ching!!!!!) Well where in Europe!?  It’s a continent Mom.

Mom: Italy!

Me; (Ughh I don’t like Italy!!)  Oh, cool.  Italy’s okay.  You should go there with your boyfriend or something.

So with that in mind, secretly beginning to plot tentative itineraries, I made sure to work Italy in….but not toooooo much Italy, given my lukewarm impressions from the week I had previously spent there.  And then when it came time for actual planning, I obviously gave her the Italy days to figure out.  While she only managed to plan 2 of the 4 days I gave her (slacker!!) she did a great job of planning them 🙂  Therefore, waving goodbye to Monaco, we jumped on a short train ride over to Genova, Italy!

Genova, not so impressive itself- was the gateway to Portofino, the #1 place my mom wanted to see.

After arriving late at night and wandering a bit before finding our hotel (details in a later post), we ate, got right into bed, and woke up bright & early to head for my mom’s most anticipated stop of the trip!

Following a short train ride & a bus ride through gorgeous seaside villages, we finally arrived:

Portofino!
Portofino!

Are you perhaps wondering why that doesn’t look very exciting?  Well perhaps you are more familiar with this side of Portofino:

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And for the very best view of Portofino, I suggest you go up here:

I spy Portofino!
I spy Portofino!

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So pretty!
So pretty!

If you couldn’t already tell from the pictures, Portofino is tiny– or, I suppose, quiet quaint 🙂 . The very first picture is from when you first arrive in Portofino, in the back.  The second is from across the harbor in Portofino, and the last set of pictures is after my mom and I took a gorgeous hike to Castello Brown.  Here are some pics of the trail:

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Looking down from the trail!
Looking down from the trail!

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Once again, I was awed during the walk to the viewpoint because the pathway was an actual street, with numbered houses on it!  How cool would it be to live there?!

From the viewpoint, we saw not only Portofino, but also some other great sites:

An incredible hotel, in the hills surrounding the town
An incredible hotel, in the hills surrounding the town

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Land strip separating Portofino's harbor from the sea
Land strip separating Portofino’s harbor from the sea
Looking across the bay to the other side of Italy
Looking across the bay to the other side of Italy

After soaking in the views from every direction, my mom and I headed back down into Portofino to enjoy the city.  While it was spectacular and finally, FINALLY, the first place in Italy that lived up to my expectations (actually, it probably exceeded them), what came next was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

(You are beginning to wonder how each set of picture could possibly get better & better, right?)

While we had taken a bus from Santa Margherita, Italy (the closest train stop) to Portofino, I had seen SO many awesome vantage points along the way, that my mom and I agreed to walk partway back, along the route.  Flashforward two hours later and we’re starving (that seems to have happened to us a lot, huh?), my mom has gotten poison ivy, my own knees can no longer walk any further (you have to remember this was day 6 or 7 of 10+ hours on our feet each day), and we are still 100% happy that we decided to walk back.  The WHOLE way back.  (Wait, you’re 100% happy, right mom? Not just like 50%? Right? Hehe 🙂 )

Having not been to many beaches and definitely not any beaches off the edge of cliffs, I was blown away by the closeness of the ocean; the way buildings just hung off of cliffs; the path jutting out over the edge; the ability to just climb down an old steel staircase and into the water.  It was every single travel magazine I’ve ever read, come to life.  The pristine, raw nature blended perfectly with human invention.

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By the time we made it back to Santa Margherita to wait for our train back to Genova, I think we were both physically exhausted from the walk and mentally exhausted from taking in all the saw.  (As you can see, we were blessed with some of the nicest weather of the trip!)

We decided to grab a gelato and stroll through the city– which was almost just as impressive as Portofino.  Then we rested by the water, before heading home after a long day 🙂

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