18 May: Two wheels and the Italian Riveria

Author: Mr A

Location: Santo Stefano al Mare, Italian Riviera, Italy

We found ourselves a lovely little car park where motorhomes are allowed to stay overnight within earshot of those gentle Ligurian Sea waves. For those readers who are not motorhomers (yet!), they are called sostas here and aires in France. Italy has over 2,000 designated spots like this. Sometimes they provide services, others like this one just a flat space to park up.

Parked at the marina by Santo Stefano Al Mare

We had chosen this spot as it was right alongside the “Cycling Riveria” cycleway – 24km of rail trail stretching from Lorenzo al Mare to Ospedelettti, passing through St Remo. Just our cup of tea.

Donning full waterproof gear (what happened to that famous Riveria sunshine?) we set off to explore this little corner of Liguria. What a perfect way to see the coast cruising along on the bikes.

Perfect surface for cyclists
Beautifully restored rail bridges

Slow enough to smell the roses, but fast enough to cover some ground and see lots more than walking. Along the trail we spotted a lady feeding stray cats, a sight to warm our feline appreciating hearts.

Very cautious cats and kittens all living in this building site

Given this area is squeezed between the mountains and the sea, ground for housing is at a premium, so we saw very few detached homes and mostly apartment buildings.

As we were finishing the ride the towns along the path were starting to come alive, as the afternoon siesta time was finishing and the locals were coming out in force for a Saturday night stroll (la passeggiata).

Moving bronze sculpture commemorating the resistance fighters killed during WWII
Calm waters at the marina in San Remo…these are just the small boats

We did our own Australian version, being almost the first in to dinner at a local restaurant that we liked the look off – thats right no research this time! We got lucky – it was absolutely fabulous – Il Sandolino it was called – it was so new we were able to give them their first review on Google.

I’ll Sandolino invites us in
What a feast…and two more glasses of Chianti per favore!
Beautiful old town to stroll through
Our 10 minute walk home from the restaurant
Happy campers…again!

Our first meal in Italy on this trip set the bar pretty high, and such a reasonable price at around 30% less than the Provence prices we were paying last week. It isn’t an affluent area, with unemployment running at 10% currently, and has little of the glitter of its French Riveria neighbour, but that suits us. The only negative experience was a lady at the table next to us asked to be moved when we sat down, muttering something I couldn’t make out other than “Americano”!

This was a great introductory day to motorhoming in Italy. We overnighted for free and had a fabulous quality meal at basically half the price we would have paid at a Sydney restaurant. What’s not to like?

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