une fois encore
A Memorable Overnite
Wednesday - Thursday
Traveling from Levanto in Italia's Liguria all the way to the Rhone river and Avignon, is too long a land journey to complete in a single day—too long, at least, if you want to avoid being numbed by the sheer mass of train-hours, rattling (or merely vibrating, if they're fast new units) along endless, winding rails. Besides, the train's snack bar has only so many wines for sale. So you take a refreshing pause in Ventimiglia.
There are two distinct towns here, each on its own side of the Roya river. East is the new area, radiating out from the rail station. Food markets live here, and trendy shops, and a gigantic weekly outdoor bazaar kind of market that draws beaucoups visitors from nearby French cities. Commercial but a pleasant place to walk through, on your path to ...
The old town, which spills down a hill, higgly-piggly streets whose buildings prop one another up with spanning arches. It seems to be filled with vibrant and friendly citizens, happy enough to have outdoor plumbing running down the outside of stone walls everywhere. The effect fits well with bed sheets and garments hanging way up there, in various degrees of dryness.
You will want to stop at a table and enjoy a glass of local wine. Do it.
It was wonderful, as I had hoped, trudging up these pedestrian-and-Vespa arteries, and then down darkened side alleyways. Always crooked, always paved with well-worn cobblestones, with a hanging lamp someplace up ahead, glowing on the old stone walls. That right across the street from my B&B one of the paved switchback paths wound up here, made it even better.
Difficult choices, several of them, to be made for how the time will be best spent here. In the cozy B&B room? Picnicking at the beach?
Or wandering again (see video below) the odd streets of the Old Town on yonder hill?
The fact is, the pictured room was fairly miserable to actually inhabit. Small bed, no comfortable furnishings, semi-functional bathroom. It all was arty, per the creative host, but with not much thought given to human comfort.
This I did. Wonderful in the twilight. Nobody asked me to join them for wine, but there were a couple of bistro tables that I passed, where five or six guys seemed perpetually occupied with some card game or other. Maybe those tumblers held vino, maybe pastis. I was a little envious.