Thursday is cooking day

Tonight I am going to another cooking class with people from my school.
We’re off to an agritourismo. All to be done in Italiano!  Will keep you posted. I’m at school now – just finished class and as I have no Internet at the apartment I have to blog and email here.
Thanks to all who have been reading and for your comments. I love getting emails.

Wednesday in Sanremo

I’m sitting in a cafe in a little piazza listening to the son of the owner playing the piano. It is so surprising to hear classical music being played at lunch time. The sun is shining and I’m about to eat risotto al fungi porcini
Then this afternoon I’m going bike riding along the coast. After Paris where it seemed to rain most of the time it’s lovely to have clear blue skies and a little warmer. 
Today I moved class again. I had them fooled I guess about how good I am and they had put me in the advanced class. But today happy to be back in intermediate! Better here with 2 males. Adrian from Switzerland and a young fellow from France. Both nice.
This is a lovely place. Bigger than Lerici where I was at the beginning of my holiday. It has a nice sea front and port with lots of boats. Then the town – a lovely street for the passagiate in the evening and quite a few shops with lots of high-end shops which reflects the clientele who come her for holidays I guess. 
There is a casino here in a gorgeous old building but I believe that’s the best part so haven’t ventured in there yet. Lots of slot machines as they are called here. 
Yesterday afternoon I had a big walk first of all uphill. There is an old part of town here called La Pigna which has the steepest, oldest streets. I climbed and climbed and it was like another world. The people up there have a few little piazzas and I think must hardly ever venture downtown. There were children riding bikes around the piazza and then taking off down the hill to cries from their mothers “basta basta”. I saw old men talking, women in huddles all looking at me wondering who I was, and slouching teenagers doing whatever they do when they don’t go to school or work. All really interesting. Took a few photos which I hope you will see soon ( to overcome problems I have been sending them to Steve and he has been adding them to the blog! [yea! Steve!]) 
Then following that I had a big walk along the sea front as the evening was so calm and almost warm. There’s an old port and a new one. Lots of yachts and little boats all bobbing along . It must be really busy here in summer. Lesley who is at the school (German girl living with her Italian boyfriend) works in an office at the port and said it is crazy all summer. She works 7 days some weeks and now is having some time off.
Lunch is finished now and was buono. In the time I have been sitting here lots of locals have come and greeted  the owner of the cafe, dark men have approached me selling bags, watches and belts – but so far no sunglasses! Now it time to go and get the bike. 

Bike riding heaven

Bike riding heaven

Let me take you  on a bike ride.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I walked to the bike hire “tent” named Nolobici – deciding was too nice a day not get out. I took the bike for half a day – not sure how far I would want to go.
The bike track is called ” Pista Ciclabile” and  runs along the coast using a disused rail track. What a sensational idea. 
As I set off I had no idea how long I would be cycling . I just set off with my bag in the basket and an idea I wanted to stop for gelato and coffee along the way.                          
I had heard it was flat and this was true which made the cycling even more attractive. 

So off I went and this is what I saw.
The road out of town

The area of Sanremo near the water is a typical Italian beach front port. Boats everywhere and even lots of people even though it’s not summer. However no swimmers and very few people on the beaches (mind you, the beaches are not as wonderful as ours)  

I cycled along passing the Villa used by Alfred Noble when he wasn’t awarding prizes!
The ocean was blue and the sun was shining. I passed a Grandfather playing with his grandson on the beach. 

Grandpa playing

Then a group of fit looking young men having lots of fun playing beach volleyball. It was easy cycling and I had time to look around. 

The track is only for walkers in one lane and cyclists in the other two. I passed through my first tunnel, well lit and in summer would be a relief from the sun I’m sure.

A Tunnel (shaky as I was riding!)
I rode past a series of what looked like sun shades but they had another use- solar panels.

Shades / solar panels

 I rode over little bridges where the creeks run into the sea and got to admire the boats along the way-  and the ducks who looked quite at home and were enjoying the bread an elderly man was throwing to them. 

Ducks on the river

Then I passed a series of covered gardens – all shading vegetables. Italians love using every inch of land in a productive way. The gardens ran all the way up the surrounding hills. 


I saw fishermen trying their luck and just chilling out. 

The signs a long the way were as colourful as they were helpful. The maps showed the coast with “siete qui”  Showing where you were. 

The sign

I saw many churches, most of them little with shining domes and bells ringing out the time . 

A Church
As I rounded a curve I saw a jaunty yellow building and thought … Great somewhere for coffee. No! It was a cemetery! With fantastic views and lots of fresh flowers. 
The Cemetery
I got off the track at Arma Di Taggia and explored the little streets, but it was only 3pm and all the little shops were closed and I couldn’t find a gelato! So back on track I passed along through Riva Ligure and then into one of the bigger villages San Lorenzo. I got off the track and rode around the port where there were quite a few very glamorous, serious money boats.

 Serious fun boats
I stopped for coffee where the lady owner made me welcome and claimed it was a 
“stupendous – molto  bello oggi”  a beautiful day. 

The Cafe

I agreed with her and sat in the sun for coffee as the local Policeman  arrived for his coffee. He was so smartly turned out that I thought perhaps it was an episode of Inspector Montalbano. 

Constable Montalbano

Back on the bike I rode along the stunning waterfront of San Lorenzo and stopped at a Cafetteria for a gelato. Yum. 

He’s everywhere!
While I was there the hour for passagiate had begun and the ladies arrived, very smartly dressed, for their afternoon chat – and gelato! A wonderful tradition. The men met as well and sat by the water on the carved wooden benches.
I must the Italians are much more social and outgoing than their neighbours the French. All the people we met in French villages were lovely – but we hardly saw any out and about let alone met! 

It was now about 4 so having ridden about 18 kilometres I thought I should head back. Riding back into the afternoon sun was a little more difficult but the light made everything look so different. Lots of locals were having a more serious style of passagiate in the late afternoon sun. 
The sun started to sink behind the hill making reading the signs a little difficult . 

But I just turned around and looked at it from another angle. 

I rode back into Sanremo as the sun was setting I was a little saddle sore but very at peace in this inspiring location.
What a ride. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did. 

We all love the rides we have at home – at the coast and of course the wonderful Coogee to Bondi cliff walk but this was right up there with there as one of the very best “by the sea” ride/walk. 

I walked back into town, found a lovely cafe for an afternoon Aperal Spritz ( remember them Pat, Anne and Narelle?) and thought how lucky I was. Just wish I had someone here with me to share this wonderful afternoon