A full night’s sleep and I feel like a new person! Met everyone on the 4th floor for breakfast overlooking the beach and Mediterranean – a great way to start the day!
Meet time was 10:00 am for both the ‘easier’ and ‘harder’ hikers. We met Trevor and Tony in front of the hotel at the fountains and assembled into our respective groups. I followed with the ‘easier’ group and doubled as a sweep for Tony.
We started our climb up to the shoulder of the hills behind the hotel. It was up, up, up for a couple of hundred metres and our ‘alpine or rest’ step came in extremely handy. Our pace was reasonably slow as we stopped many times to admire the incredible view and take photos.
Passing orchards of olives, trees bearing chestnuts, the occasional grape vine and multitudes of flowers, cacti and tree species we wound our way up behind the hills of Bonassola. Becky from the US exclaimed to her husband at almost very corner, ‘oh there is where I want to live’ and writing down the phone number of any that were for sale.
By noon we were still excited and looking forward to reaching our lunch destination, Monteretto. At 12:30pm we arrived at the church of ?????, stopping for a snack only to discover we were still a good hour from our lunch destination. We were getting hot as the temperature was steadily rising and when the sun peeked from underneath the clouds, it was quite warm.
Following our snack break we carried on upwards. According to the guide booklet, the next 50m were quite steep. With every corner Tony would exclaim, hmmmm I guess this is the steep bit. After 3 or 4 of these corners, there were rumblings amongst the troops – one of the comments involved Tony and the pointy ends of the poles – ha ha. Wasn’t me!
Thinking we must be getting close, we are still heading up and before long we on an undulating donkey trail – which of course means lots of ups and downs, rocks and a thin path. Just before a complete revolt, Monteretto was in view and a lovely restaurant overlooking the lush green valley. Hot, sweaty, and in varying degrees from tired to exhausted we sat down and immediately ordered acqua frizzante – carbonated water. The revolt in check, we relaxed and prepared to enjoy a traditional Ligurian meal (the region we are in is Liguria).
Sandy, my Aussie/Canadian friend who currently lives in Florence, chose a wonderful selection of pastas to share ‘family’ style. The food was exceptional, grown locally and freshly prepared. Two dishes were made with pesto sauce which was to die for. The costal region of Liguria is know for its pesto and I can clearly see why. I know it will make its way into several suitcases on their way back to Canada.
Main meal complete, it was time to decide on dessert and coffee or tea. Doris had said ‘no matter what the main course’ she was having sorbetto limonato (lemon sorbet) for dessert and she was thrilled it was on the menu. When requesting the said dessert, our waiter (who spoke very little English), exclaimed emphatically: Sorbetto, NO! and then smiled. All I could see was the look on Doris’ face faking crocodile tears, and then we all cracked up laughing. It became the phrase of the day “Sorbetto, NO!” and kept us laughing the rest of the day.
It was now 3:30pm and time to head back to Bonassola. Unanimously we chose the direct route which will take us approximately an hour to wind our way down to sea level. The trail was steep and challenging in parts – so steep that we practiced traversing across the hill as we would in skiing. Shortly after 4:30pm we arrived back in front of the Delle Rose. We did a group stretch and then made a b-line for the Delle Rose Caffe for our reward – Proseco!! This was the proverbial carrot that kept the group going.
As the bubbly was being consumed, even Tony proclaimed ‘that was not an easy hike’ and the discussion was on – what name to give our group? The Colina (hill) Warriors seemed to be the favourite and eventually changed to the Proseco Warriors!
Much more relaxed and content we made our way up to the 4th floor to see what hikes are in store for tomorrow. Decisions were made on which hike was to be chosen and the ‘easier – now to be known as somewhat shorter’ hikes had gained 3 hikers from the harder hikers group.
Dinner was a choice of cream of potato soup or ravioli, grilled fish or veal scallopini and a wonderful Italian vanilla ice cream with the most incredible chocolate sauce. I love Italian food! Before too long it was 9.30pm and we were off to sleep.
A great day or buona giornata! Buona notte!
For Bonassola Photos see: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152293574076887.1073741917.593681886&type=1&l=2304928b02