Posted by: Richard | July 19, 2009

GR5: Recuperation

July 19: Well, it has been hard to find internet, or maybe not that hard, but damnit we just want to relax and it is hard to find the time to write.

Since we arrived in Nice, we have had a great time.  We started by cleaning up and buying some clothes (as our walking clothes are basically done for public areas). We had a great walk on the promenade in Nice and a great dinner before picking up our rental care on the 14th (day after we did our walk) and heading to ITALY!!!!

Why Italy, well, we were done with French food.  While I love French food, 1.5 months of cheesy, creamy, buttery food left us wanting vegetable oils, and Italy fit the bill. 

Night 1: We drove our first day to San Remo, and found a 1920s hotel that was nice, but had seen better days.  Actually, it was an old palace from the 18th century, turned into a hotel in the 1920s and not much had been done since.  Our room had a sea view and we played on a tiny interesting beach that day.  We drove into San Remo and parked the car.  By chance we walked the wrong direction and spent an hour in the non interesting part of San Remo, before stumbling on the great part as we looked for the car. San Remo is a great little town and I would recommend staying there if you can.

Night  2 + 3: We had booked nothing, but I had the book ‘Inns of character and charm in Italy’ and we called a hotel in Finale Ligure, called Hotel Punta Est.  It looked lovely in the book and I found internet and Tripadvisor gave great reviews. We booked one night, but when we showed up we found out they had two nights.  This place is incredible, and we were astounded at how beautiful and romantic the hotel was.  We loved our time there, with day spent on the beach and evenings in the (only average) old town.  I had my best meal of the trip at the hotel, Penne all arrabiata.  MMMMMMmmm.  A funny occurance was the busboy talking to us about our trip and rolling his eyes at our time in France, ‘how can anybody eat that much French food?  They don’t know how to cook’ he said.  I found this very funny.

Night  4+5: I have always wanted to go and drive around Tuscany, and by chance a highly rated 16th century palace in Tuscany had a room available at a good rate for two nights.  We drove the 5 hours to Siena and checked into the Palazzo Ravizza.  For some reason, we got upgraded to a great suite with our own hottub and 6 english tv stations !!!!  Siena is a great town, with great gelato.  We walked the town the first night. 

The second day we drove through chianti on old roads and had a great time.  We realized that we were still tuckered from the long walk through the alps and didn’t have the desire to push through to see a whole bunch of villages.  We wanted to sit on a nice beach in a nice town and relax.  We decided we were going to come back from our drive and sort out our holiday utnil our flight home.  No more playing it by ear.

Nights 6 + 7:  We wanted to get back onto the sea, and Lynn suggested looking at Portovenere after all the other places I wanted were full.  She is so smart, and the nicest hotel in the town had one room available.  We drove here all day (including a 1 hour delay on the highway because of an accident) and came into a crowded lovely old fishing village.  We found our hotel, watched the Tour de France and then went for a swim in the sea.  After that, we went for a swim in the hotel pool, overlooking the sea and filled with salt water.

What a tough day, but we timed it right and came into the room for the last 7km of the days ride of the tour and then we got clean and walked the town, a great time.  A nice meal and now Lynn is watching tv and I am typing all this out!!!!

The rest of our trip.  We both loved Hotel Punta Est so much we are heading back there for four nights, then two in Menton (town beside Nice), then a night in Genoa and three nights in Roma and we are on the plane home….

What a great trip this has been, culture in Paris, stunning natural beauty and outdoors in the Alps and now the Italian Riviera, one of the most beautiful places in the world…..We are so lucky to be able to do this…Now, as Sting comes on the radio and it approaches midnight I need to head to bed to prepare for tomorrow.  Swimming and eating and reading…


  1. cant wait to see all the photos ,take care and well done

    sheila and davey

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