TRAVEL DIARY: SANTA MARGHERITA LIGURE
It is with great honour that my husband and I reached our tenth anniversary on the 29th April 2015! It's been an amazing ten years and I'm even more excited to see what the next ten hold. To celebrate, we jetted off to Santa Margherita Ligure, a resort town on the Italian Riviera a short distance from the famous Portofino. There was some fabulous architecture, some warm weather and a hell of a lot of carbs... Here's what we got up to!
We found an amazing little suite / villa in the hills of Santa Margherita on Airbnb. Our host Piero was fantastic and even came to pick us up from the station on the day we arrived, which was absolutely pelting down with rain! Here's a little peek at the villa we stayed at.
As a designer I was impressed with the level of detail within the apartment which really sold me on it, and that view... boy!
Now I need to tell you about how steep this hill is that the villa was located on. You know what those narrow Italian hillside roads are like and this was no different! The villa could only be reached with quite a small car and luckily for us our host came to pick us up to bring us to the villa on the first day. I could see Jason's palms sweating as we went up the hill, it was that steep! Funnily enough Piero the owner said that we could borrow the little Yaris if we wanted to get about town easily without walking. Jason shat his pants at the thought of driving it, but we did eventually. Proper locals us! That was a bit of an adventure. For some reason I forgot to take any pics or film it, probably because I was busy keeping Jason calm, hehe...
Anyway, after getting settled we spent the first afternoon going into the town of Santa Margherita. The town is a typical resort / harbour town full of bustling restaurants located along the waterfront and a mix of retail shops on the backroads. It's quite small, but big enough to have a pleasant wander around and get acquainted within a few days.
We strolled past little deli's selling sweets and traditional food, then we found a beautiful church that was open for people to take a look inside. These picture in no way do it justice!
That night we found a little spot for dinner and had a three course meal that was carb centric! Let me tell you about their spaghetti. Somehow they manage to do it really al dente, without any sauce but it still tasted AMAZING. Garlicky and salty and wonderful. I need to work out how to do this at home.
The Italians really love to have food without sauces and so the waitress looked a little stumped when I asked for mayo to dip my fried calamari in. An alright meal, if a little carb heavy but overall good and the wine was cheap and delicious. I forgot to take any pics because by this point we were pretty soaked and just enjoying our first night of being adults again (Marley stayed at my mums for the weekend).
On the way back from dinner we found a pretty awesome antique shop that had the most beautiful coral and brass piece that I've ever seen. One day I'll be able to see one off pieces like that and just buy them on the spot! That's the dream...
We got a bit lost in the rain trying to work out our way home without a map so got rescued by trusty Piero and his wife who had been out at dinner. It felt like we were lost teenagers being picked up by the parents. Quite cute really :)
On day 2 the rain had stopped and the sun was out so I pulled out the yoga mat for some early morning downward dog. I'd never done yoga outside before so was a pretty awesome experience to be upside down hearing the birds tweeting and seeing the rising hills of Italy behind you.
NO MAKEUP ALERT
As it warmed up we decided to get around the pool and enjoy a bit of sun. Jason got brave and took a dip in the pool. Ok, the weather was warm but the pool was FREEZING. This boy - any excuse to get in the water! He then spent the next hour asking me to take videos of him in slow motion coming up out of the water like a perfume advert and take pictures of him doing handstands in the water. I happy obliged 'cos I'm cool like that.
Such a child!
After a quick dip (I stuck my legs in and then changed my mind) we got ready to head into town for a much awaited...
We walked down the hill that day as we wanted to see how it was to walk. Not too bad on the way down but the way back up was... energising! Anyway, the pizza. First we strolled around some back streets and got snaps of doorways and lovely things.
And then for pizza. Topped with the local speciality, pesto. Delish!
After feeling very stuffed we headed down to the waterfront to go exploring and photo taking. Jason kindly obliged (he's basically my little model for having fun taking photos).
Apparently my pose there was very 'touristy' according to Jason. Personally I was going for relaxed and effortless, but maybe it turned out a bit Alan Partridge.
This old gate was probably one of the most mesmerising things I've found in a while. Behind the brass gate was an overgrown and derelict corridor of amazingness that had me wondering what it used to be. I've always had a bit of an obsession with secret gardens since reading the book as a kid.
Time for more portraits.
After that we picked up some little bits for dinner from the local supermarket and staggered up the hill home. Serious butt workout.
Another bright and sunny day! We decided to finally brave it and take the Yaris down the hill and into town with the idea of driving across to Portofino which was about a ten minute drive. Unfortunately as we got closer to the area we were turned away by police who told us there was no space in Portofino for any more cars to park! Crazy! (it's a very small place). Anyway we decided to head back to town and grab lunch. I'd seen a really nice looking restaurant called Taverna Del Marinaio along the harbour so we headed there to try it out.
It was a little more pricey than the restaurant we had first eaten but the food was of absolute quality. We shared a salad for starter - we actually ordered it as a side but the way the Italians service food is kinda strange, they don't really mix food. So our salad was assumed as a starter. Anyway we went with it! When in Rome and all that.
Jason had a beef fillet in Madeira sauce and I went for the red snapper Ravioli.
Let me tell you, this was some of the best food I've eaten! The beef in madeira sauce was absolutely exquisite and a strange flavour that I can't quite describe. Sweet, tangy and meaty all at the same time! Apparently made with port wine. I'll have to give this a go at home as it was amazing.
For dessert I went for the classic tiramisu (seriously the best I've ever tasted) and Jason went for the traditional apple cake with ice cream. Both were heaven sent, I tell thee!
We sat and people watched, especially this pair of old cabbies who were so perfectly Italian.
After eating we spent a little time on the pebbled bay of the harbour watching the waves roll in and picking up brightly coloured orange stones to use on a future photoshoot.
We drive back to the villa we spent the afternoon lazing in the sun, and then taking in the most amazing sunset and moonlit evening I've ever experienced.
Oh and we facetimed Marley who showed us that she was eating a yoghurt.
Our last morning was absolutely glorious weather, so we took in a few final sun filled moment before heading to the airport to come home to our lovely little girl who we missed so much!
We had such a perfect stay and I almost don't even want to share the AirBnb details on here because it's such a great little spot that we want to go back and I know it's going to be all booked up! But Piero and his family are so fabulous that I just have to share. You really need to experience that view every morning!
This trip definitely made me realise how important it is to have that quality time with your partner, especially when you've been together a long time and have kids. You get so used to being parents and forget about being all lovey dovey!
So where do you recommend me and hubby go next? I'd love to hear your suggestions.
P.S. if you enjoyed this then check out my Stockholm photo diary!