This past weekend I decided to make like the Milanese and head for the coast. For some reason, I had always wanted to go to Portofino, enthralled with the jet set reputation. Therefore, I bought a train ticket, booked an Airbnb, packed up the Goyard, and left early Saturday morning. Though the weather was dismal on the way there, we literally came out of a tunnel and lo and behold, the coast was perfectly sunny. The old woman sitting across from me did a little cheer, and started telling me about how the weather can be so different between the coast and the city. I managed to catch every few words.
The train actually stops in nearby Santa Margherita, another gem of a resort town, with a well-established strip along the coast and a decent sized harbor with sailboats and occasional motor boat. For just 6 euros one can take a small ferry from Santa Margherita to Portofino, a ten minute ride with beautiful views, not least arriving into tiny Portofino. It really was much smaller than I expected, consisting of shops and restaurants ringing the harbor, and two other lanes with a handful of negozi. Though the word “shop” might not apply given they were boutiques for Louis Vuitton, Loro Piana, and Hermes. Then there’s Spinnaker and Mingo, both started in Portofino decades ago, and serving up additional designer goods and Italian leather shoes. It was beautiful, and peaceful, to be in such a secluded town on the water, but as a solo traveler, only so much time can be spent wandering three streets and one hiking trail (which I tried in patent leather flats). I’ve decided that if and when I return, it will be on my own boat, no ferries allowed.
Then it was off to Genova for the night, a beautiful port city that gets a bad rep in Italy. The old town area is full of winding alleys, grandiose palazzi, and restaurants spilling out onto the streets. Genova is also the birthplace of pesto, thus I felt obliged to order a traditional pesto pasta for dinner. That, along with curry and orange mussels and local wine, at the lovely Pintori. When I ordered the wine the waitress asked “just one glass?” as if that was a ridiculous thing to do. I went along with the half bottle, and did not regret it.