Badalucco break

A break in Italy, but only for three days. It was supposed to be in order to see a particular property in a particular area, but as we already had several reservations about the whole project, we treated the escapade as just that; a pretext to have a short, but much needed break.

We first drove to Ospedaletti to a small coastal Restaurant, La Playa, where we ate gallinella and fritto misto after a refreshing swim in the sea. Then we continued up through the Colle di Nava, before following the river Tanaro (where I once tried to fly-fish in hardly ideal conditions). After Garessio we took a right into the minor road to reach Calizzano. There we stayed overnight at the Hotel Villa Elia. Certainly very reasonable, pleasant and peaceful, although one can't say it's a haven for the young.
The next day we followed the winding road down towards the coast, passing the 12th century Castel Vecchio di Rocca Barbena. The castle also seems to be suitably surrounded with medieval looking dwellings. I read somewhere that this fortification was originally built to ward off Saracen invaders. Further down towards the coast there's a ruin of what appears to be another fortress, also perched on its own pinnacle.

Maybe the Saracens got past that one, which would account for its sorrier state. If I had been a Saracen, I wouldn't have bothered. I would have stayed in San Remo or sun-bathed on the sandy beaches and swum in the clear sea at Laigueglia. I would have limited any efforts of imposing my fundamentalism to beautiful women only. But perhaps their objective in pushing north stemmed not only from the desire to conquer and impose their silly saranisms, but to secure a change from the fundamentally hot, sandy deserts of North Africa by gaining foothold in lands that benefit from fundamentally more moderate and variable climates.

Back to the coast near Albenga. Painfully stoney beaches, but at least they give you no other choice than to immerse yourself sooner than you would have liked, in a much cooler, less calm and less pristine part of the Mediterranean. Laigueglia is easier on the feet with its sandy beaches, and the sea is warmer and more welcoming, especially after a cool birra alla spina, and a mozzarella, tomato and oregano sandwich at the little beach snack bar nearby.

Then on to Badalucco, not far north of San Remo. The place we found to stay overnight was interesting, but certainly more expensive than it deserved to be.
However we were cheered by a good meal that same evening at the Ristorante Il Ponte. (The grilled Tuna there is particularly good). The Badalucco region is also famous for its Boletus mushrooms, cèpes or porcini. Apparently there is a good restaurant in Badalucco that specialises in ricette di porcini.

The next morning we had an appointment to meet someone at 11 am at the Ca' Mea restaurant (with the giant, glass-fibre, Boletus mushroom outside). We waited longer than we should have, and telephoned our contact, all to no avail.
However, when we finally arrived back home, (after doing the splendid market at San Remo), there was an email waiting for me. Obviously it was sent far too late to inform us that the property in question was no longer available, so the appointment had been cancelled...

As I don't believe in 'hazard,' and as there was another previous related consequence, which also indicated why this obviously 'wasn't for us,' it's just as well that it was no longer available and that we never got to see it. Nevertheless it was a good Badalucco break, which should never be read as a badluck break. Hopefully it also serves as a diverting anecdote. But above all we are a little wealthier in wisdom from yet another ironic experience.

Yet there's another positive result from this break. Surprisingly my efforts to communicate in Italian weren't limited to one-way, unintelligible conversations. I actually succeeded in not only expressing myself apparently coherently and intelligibly, even making people laugh by what I managed to say, (...) but also in hearing and understanding the replies from my interlocutors...
This would seem to confirm two things. Incredibly my limited hearing has slightly improved, and so has my limited Italian. 
We got back in time to watch on TV the admirable opening of the Olympics in London. Such an opening seems to dwarf many things, or at least put them more into perspective. What a fabulously moving and incredibly well organized and performed parody of history! Embellished with that special, tongue in cheek, British humour, which even the Queen contributed to, with all the icons and events that we all identify with. Magistral! Grandiose! Very special indeed! Chapeau to all concerned!

 Text and photographs © Mirino. July, 2012

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