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trish & pat’s Travel Diary

Friday, 15 Jun 2007

Location: Santa Margherita, Italy

MapThis is Normal in Italy!

We enjoyed a great reunion with Sally and John in Rome last Monday night. We met (guess where?) in front of Trish's favourite shoe shop just opposite the Trevi Fountain. Sally had already been there earlier in the day and followed in her mother's footsteps and bought 3 pairs of shoes (fun shoes?) and John purchased one badly needed pair. We spent the evening at 2 bars and then had dinner at one of our favourite spots located in Piazza Farnese - which has two gigantic and original roman baths which have been converted into fountains. It also contains a very flash French Embassy. Enjoyed a great dinner and then caught the infamous Bus 64 back to Termini station without incident. It was great to catch up with some familiar faces and the goss on the Contiki tour - oh to be young enough for a Contiki trip!

Next morning we headed out to the airport and picked up our lease car which is a beauty (Peugeot 307) and very suitable for the narrow European road conditions. It zips along and sits on 130km very nicely.

We have spent the last few days in Santa Margherita on the Italian Riviera where most of the buildings are decorated in the Art Nouveau style, and many of the villas built for the wealthy aristocrats. It has an air of wealth about it and we can understand why the northern Italians may look down on their southern counterparts.

We have had an enjoyable 3 nights here but probably the highlight was our visit to a local bar not frequented by tourists. We were filling in time before dinner one night so popped in for a local beer - our favourite Italian beer is Nastro Azzuro. The barman seemed to be taking along time to deliver the beer which was on tap. After about 15 minutes he arrives at our table - no beer, but a tray in hand with the following; a bowl of pickled onions, a bowl of black olives, a bowl of Pistachio's, a bowl of Salsa dip, a bowl of an unnamed dip, a bowl of corn chips, a bowl of other chips and a glass full of fresh carrot sticks! We sat with our mouths wide open and were about to explain that
we only wanted beer (still not in sight). He must have seen the expression on our faces and cut us off and said, "this is normal in Italy when you have a beer." He obviously hasn't stepped out of Santa Margherita! The beer eventually arrived closely followed by a small chopping board covered in pizza with 3 different toppings. Needless to say we pigged out and were so full when we left that we didn't need dinner. This all cost us the local price of a beer.

As we had a few nights here we decided to return on another night, skip dinner and have 2 beers. The same ritual occurred, however, because we stopped for a bit longer and had an extra beer, once one bowl was empty, another full one arrived. This time we left full in both respects full and full with me having to carry Trish part the way home (still recovering). She also discovered another cocktail which is now her favourite - Bellini which is fresh peach blended with ice, champagne and peach liqueur. It came in a champagne flute accompanied by a 1/2 litre jug and straw which contained the rest of the drink - hence the full bit and stagger home!

Our favourite food here was a local specialty, Ravioli filled with fish accompanied with a red mullet sauce - fresh from the local seas and to die for!

Sorry if we are boring people with our stories about food and drink, but aside from the sightseeing this is a highlight of our travels.

To work off the food we did a coastal walk to Portofino - the real glitzy resort town of the Italian Riviera, full of million dollar yachts etc.

Arrivederci Italia until September and bonjour France!!