Hiking to Portofino, Italy

When our cruise ship stopped at Santa Margherita, Italy, we had many excursions to choose from.  Our final decision was to hike to Portofino and back, while enjoying both cities and the views in between.  And what views those were!

Gorgeous view while hiking in Italy

The walk took a little over an hour and was easy at times, with a few moderate spots along the way.  We got an idea of what it would be like as we viewed the northern Italian coast from our cruise ship balcony.  Gorgeous!

Northern Italian coastline

After we disembarked and took off toward Portofino, I couldn't resist this shot of the cruise ship.  You just don't think about how huge it is when you are on it.  It's impressive from the shore.

Holland America Mediterranean Cruise

The views just got better and better as we hiked.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Northern Italian Coast

Northern Italian Coast

The first part of the hike was along the road and then we headed into the hills for the second half.

Northern Italian Coast

The hiking trail in northern Italy

It was a very nice trail through the hills with pavers and handrails to keep things safe.

Northern Italy

This was my favorite picture of the day.  (That's why I made it my opener :))  Imagine spending your summer in this Italian home.  Waking up in the morning with a cup of coffee and that view.  Taking an afternoon dip in the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea.  Stunning!

Northern Italy

We passed many homes, hotels and beautiful buildings.  But the most surprising thing we passed were gates like the one below.

Entry gate to an Italian Villa

Why would it be surprising to pass this gate you ask?  WELL, it wasn't along the road, it was along that trail we were walking on.  I just couldn't imagine walking up this hill, along a little path to get to the entrance of my home.  Very Italian chic, but very inconvenient.

Portofino, Italy church

I was very excited to see this church in Portofino because it meant my hike was nearing the end.  I must admit that I was very hot, tired, thirsty and ready to sit down.  Which is exactly what I did, to the tune of $10 for one Diet Coke, but more on that in my next post about Portofino.

Portofino, Italy

As soon as we arrived in Portofino, I knew that I would not be hiking back to Santa Margherita.  I would be taking the ferry.  My husband, who runs 10 miles for fun, thought he would hike back and see who could get there fastest.  Sounded good to me, as I sat comfortably on my bench waiting for the next ferry.

Northern Italian Coast

Turns out, taking the ferry back afforded me lots of great pictures of the coast line.  It was fun to see the area I had just hiked from a different point of view.

Northern Italian Coast

Northern Italian Coast

Northern Italian Coast

Northern Italian Coast

Northern Italian Coast

Santa Margherita, Italy

I made it back to Santa Margherita just in time for some delicious pesto pasta, pizza and gelato.  More on that coming soon.  Oh, and I beat my husband back.  That's important!  ;)

This post linked to Amaze Me Monday, Travel Photo Monday, Through My Lens & Blue Monday


What I Ate Wednesday

Just like every morning on our Mediterranean cruise, we started with room service breakfast on the balcony.  Not a bad way to start any day.

In room breakfast on a Holland America Cruise

Then we were off to explore Monaco, Eze and Nice.  It was going to be a big day of exploring, so we loaded up on breakfast, pretty much skipped lunch and ended the day with dinner in the main dining room.  Vacation eating can be a bit different.  Do you eat the same on vacation as you normally do at home?

Dinner menu on a Holland America Cruise

We do not tread lightly on our vacation eating.  Especially cruise meals that have already been paid for in the price of the cruise.  We're talking four courses if possible.  So enjoy...

Duck Pate on Holland America Cruise

I started with the Mille-Fuelle of Duck Pate.  It was duck liver pate between puff pastry with a grilled pear on top.  I love pate, but this wasn't my favorite.  I would have preferred a baguette instead of the puff pastry.  Not bad though.

Alaskan Crab Legs on Holland America Cruise

My son had chilled Alaskan Crab legs.  He loved them.  They were good, but I like my crab legs served warm.  Once on an Alaskan Cruise we had these chilled straight out of the water.  Hard to beat that.

Pineapple boat on Holland America Cruise

My daughter, who always gets the fruit, went with the Pineapple Boat dusted with toasted coconut.  Not much to say about this.  It was what it was.

All the soup from our Holland America dinner

We tried all three of the soups they were offering.  From left to right: Chilled Blackberry, Dutch Pea and Duck and Sausage Gumbo.  The winner was the Dutch Pea.  It was the perfect thickness and had just the right combination of vegetables with meat.  The chilled blackberry was more like a dessert than a soup.  I was most disappointed with the gumbo.  We lived in Louisiana for several years and this is not what I would call gumbo.  Not thick enough and missing all the yummy bits of sausage.

Arugula salad on Holland America Cruise

The Arugula salad was light and refreshing with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.  Now on to the entrees.

Cajun chicken Caesar salad on Holland America Cruise

My daughter got the cajun chicken caesar salad.  The jalapeƱo cheese was a nice touch along with the cajun chicken and garlic dressing.

Cracked pepper tenderloin with grilled shrimp on Holland America Cruise

My son went with his usual meat choice...cracked pepper tenderloin with grilled shrimp.  They were sitting on green beans and spinach.  It was gone in seconds!

Salmon, vegetable and mashed potatoes on Holland America Cruise

Every night you can order basics like this salmon, vegetables and potato side.  That is what my husband went for on this night.  Basic, but tasty.

Maple-lacquered duck breast on Holland America Cruise

And I went with the Maple-lacquered duck breast.  On a trip to London many years ago, I had duck for the first time and was in love.  This duck was really good, but nothing has ever lived up to that meal I had at Maggie Jones in London.

Dessert menu from our Holland America Cruise Dinner

Dessert time!!!  What would you pick?

Cheesecake on Holland America Cruise

Another choice from the basics menu.  There was always a cheesecake option and my husband decided to go for that.  I don't really care for cheesecake, so I didn't bother with this one.

Brownie hot fudge sundae on Holland America cruise

A brownie hot fudge sundae was shared by all.  Can't go wrong here.

Chocolate-espresso shuffle with raspberry sauce on Holland America Cruise

I had the chocolate-espresso souffle with raspberry sauce.  It was yummy, but lacked the espresso kick I was hoping for.

Another Wednesday, another great day of food.  Thanks Holland America!

This post linked to WIAW


Nice, France in the French Riviera

The beach in Nice, France

This was my first glimpse of Nice as we came in on an excursion with our cruise line.  The plan was to do a sight seeing drive thru the city and then get off the bus and tour a french flower market on foot.


Eze, France

As I travel around the world, there are some places that I just fall in love with.  Eze was one of those places.  Until I booked this excursion on our Mediterranean cruise, I had never heard of Eze, France.  It was included on an excursion with Nice, which I was very familiar with.  You hear so much about the French Riviera, of which Nice is a part, but this centuries old town of Eze, not so much.

Eze, France

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