Sunday, June 23, 2013


Since I left my friends, Riccardo and Marina, it's been a slow sightseeing week.  On Tuesday, when we toured the Hanbury Botanic Garden, my lower extremeties became quite swollen, and I was a little nervous about that.  I thought it might be the heat, and it was pretty warm for the next couple of days, so I decided not to do a lot of walking or any climbing!  Yesterday, I intended to take a trip to Alassio, recommended by Riccardo as a place to visit, and I was all ready to go when I suddenly felt very dizzy and nauseous and actually regurgitated my breakfast.  That seldom happens to me.  Even afterward, I still felt lightheaded so I decided it would be wise to stay close to the porcelain throne (for my non-American friends, that's a euphemism for the toilet). 

Finally, today, I hopped the train to visit this seaside resort town of around 11,000.  The British are given some credit for Alassio's popularity as such since the early 19th century.

I heard the sea calling me, and on the way to answer it, I passed through a pretty park where there was a lovely memorial to the war dead.

And this may be the tallest palm tree I've ever seen.  Unfortunately, it's diseased like all the palm trees in Italy.

The sea never disappoints.  No matter what the weather or its mood, it never fails to satisfy some part of your soul.

This setting reminds me so much of Lake Michigan.  The golden sandy beach is very similar, the rush of the waves toward the shore was a sound etched in my memory from my prior life when I had a cottage on the lake.  It made me feel very nostalgic.

But the shores of Lake Michigan never looked like this.  Almost every foot of beach was covered with beach chairs and cabanas.  

All along the beach are dozens of eating establishments.  Its a totally different, but nevertheless beautiful and exciting place.  Surprisingly, it wasn't really crowded.

There was a stone pier that ran about 400 meters out into the water, where there were benches for gazing and railings for propping up fishing poles.

This boy was trying to net something that was in the water between the stones, but I don't know what.

These boys were being taunted to jump by some friends in the water below.  The water was too shallow  there for a safe jump, and I kept shaking my head "No", but they pretty much ignored me.  Finally, a man went over and gave them the same advice and they, fortunately, heeded it.

They safely joined their friends to "horse around" and body surf.  I was very surprised that none of them could swim very well.  They all looked like beginning swimmers.

Another surprise was seeing little girls, ranging up to age 10 or so, wearing only bathing suit bottoms.  I guess topless bathing starts early here!

This town, with all its colorful buildings, reminded a bit of Cinque Terre on flat land. 

It must have a seafaring past, because this seemed to be a memorial to fishermen.

I walked almost the entire length of the beach and was delighted to see this old stone tower anchoring one end.

It was really difficult to tear myself away from the sea to explore some other parts of the town.  

There were lots of shops on the streets near the beach.  I think the oddest thing I saw were these skull earrings, and they weren't the only pair in the window!

Now, what's missing from this account?  Ah yes, il cibo.  I did have lunch here--crepes, which I think I've had only once before in the 10 months I've been on the road.  They were okay, but not photo-worthy.

I did NO climbing today.  I kept being drawn back to the beach.  Finally, it was time to go back to the train station, which I think is a pretty photogenic one.

This was the lovely view I had while waiting for the train.

Now, what else is missing from this story?  

CHURCHES!  In two hours of walking, I passed only one small one, and then above the train platform, I saw these two, one practically on top of the other--see that faint cross on top of the building in the upper left?  It looks slightly fancier than the white one.  On the way out of town, I saw a much larger church that looked pretty interesting.  So that's at least four!

I'm glad I finally visited Alassio.  It's a lovely, lovely town by the seaside, by the beautiful sea.  

This will be my last resort ;-)

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