Sestri Levante


Thursday - Wednesday
20-26 October


Little Mediterranean beach pebbles... Whenever I think about anywhere along the coast of Liguria, I find a surprising emotional yearning. The edges of this coastal region touch the Mediterranean from near Pisa to the southeast, then stretch north west past cliffs and pebble beaches towards the border of France. With smiles inside, I look forward to an entire week here in late October, home-based in new but Italian appointed rooms, with trattorias nearby and such a waitress as this.

Sestri Levante is several towns north of that colorful parade of five interesting villages which form the Cinque Terre national park. Near but out of traffic: accordingly way fewer tourists.


You adventurers would like it very much. Adventurers I mean not in the sense of extreme water sports or bungee jumping above knife-edged rocks, but of ordering food whose description your vocabulary is not able to translate. Rather to suggest that if your notion of leisure includes tuxedos and gowns at posh restaurants, then maybe Monaco or Cannes up the

coast is more your style. But these little assemblages of houses next to the seaside seem designed for people-watching. Like enjoying the expressive face of a patient server in Levanto, above, explaining with animated fingers what it is that un bicchiere d'acqua may be. Afterwards perhaps enjoying the sea air while not minding very much that a sticky torrent of gelato is dripping over your fingers faster than you can lick it.


and sunny Sunday afternoon, and said trail was alive with remarkably fit and chatty senior citizens in clusters, hiking to brisk picnics among the boulders and pines and cork-oaks.

My happily discovered rental in the seaside town of Sestri Levante, sits between two memorable coastal inlets: the Bay of Fable, which Hans Christian Andersen fell in love with in 1833, and the Bay of Silence, shown here. There is a coastal trail to scuff along, here, that I must revisit this autumn. Last time visited was on a sweet


The five or so local coast-edge villages of the Cinque Terre national park do resemble one another, yet aren't remotely duplicates. They differ in size and personality, and arrangement along the steep shoreline (from the water those pastel-hued structures appear super-glued to the rocky hillsides). Each is interesting, each a delight to explore. This one, Vernazza, has arguably the most genteel evening mood of the bunch. But also the most tourists.


To the north, Levanto has a gentle personality of its own. One thing I have been struck by in this town, is the relative absence of English speaking people on the streets, in the shops, on the beaches. There are mansions and grand gardens, indeed, but mostly one just notices vacationing Italians. Enjoying.

I love this little cafe right across from a park where locals watch their kids play. Last visit, it was run by a brother/sister pair. She did the work of the moment, while he played with my GoPro camera. An uneven distribution of effort which resulted in some playful footage.


There were several attractive options for living space for these days. Some had a view towards the sea, likely also showing high-rise rooftops in the foreground; others were dark and gloomy inside, with an enclosed feeling. Most others had an unrelenting feeling of an Ikea showroom. This one was the happy exception.

Scene from the rooftop balcony, up just one flight of stairs from my rooms. It's where I hope to spend reflective times sorting notes of the day and tweaking photos for the BLOG section of this; maybe sending individual emails to any—I hope there may be some special ones who do write.




Westerly then, almost into France, to pause in


une fois encore