|The pretty but touristy port of Portofino|
As we only stayed one night at the worst campsite in the world it meant we would have three nights in Rapallo giving us a chance to take it easy for a couple of days. Apart from a quick look around Portofino, we did very little else on Sunday.
I took Buddy for a stroll after breakfast and started climbing a hill out of Rapallo, away from the houses, and came across a rather dilapidated building. Even though we were off the beaten track there was a sign, in both Italian and English, explaining the history of the building.
The Lazzaretto was built in 1450 as a hospital to house victims of a leprosy outbreak in the area. A wealthy landowner of Rapallo donated the land and paid for the construction. In 1475 the plague epidemic devasted this area of the Italian Riviera and brought the building into use again, to house the victims from the village.
The 15th century mural shows the Madonna with child and the three saints Lazzaro, Giacomo and Biagio who, apparently, were miracle workers. The first saint being the one the building was dedicated to.
We took a picnic lunch to Portofino which involved a pretty drive along the coast for about six miles. There is only one road into Portofino and the police had a road block a kilometre outside and were only letting cars in when an equivalent number came out. Whilst we were waiting we got chatting to one of the policemen (who had good English 😉) and it turned out that his wife was born in the same village as that where we let our house out! Hence his good English.
I suppose we could have guessed that Portofino was a tourist trap as it is a well-known destination. Mike (of nb Charlie Mo) had already warned us there would be loads of tourists (and he’s right, we are tourists too) and it would be even worse if a cruise ship was in the area, which it wasn’t 😊 All the restaurants and bars were packed but we found a quiet spot at the far end of the natural harbour to sit down and have our picnic.
Our view back across the harbour was rather spoilt by a shiny boater though:
I looked up the details of the boat and it was last sold in 2015 for just over 39 million euros. Other than the six crew, it can only accommodate eight people, so it really is rather extravagant. I suppose if you have that sort of money then you’re probably the sort of person who doesn’t care about other people and whether or not you’re spoiling their view ☹
Contrary to the forecast, we had some rain in the early hours of Monday morning, and it was funny lying in bed listening to the mad panic in the campsite. Doors were slamming and there were lots of agitated discussions as people got out of their camper vans to bring things into their vans or under their awnings to stop them getting wet. We were glad we had our tent cover; it has been really useful for keeping us in the shade and on Monday night it kept everything dry too.
We packed up on Monday morning to set off for Lucca. It kept raining intermittently so once again we were glad of our awning as we were able to pack everything away, including the tent without anything else getting wet. OK, the awning was soaking wet but we knew it would soon dry out when we pitched tent later in the day.
By the time we had paid up and left the site for our short 90-mile journey to Lucca it had stopped raining and the sun was out. In fact, it turned out to be one of the hottest days so far and we were really glad we had a shady pitch when we got to the campsite at Lucca.
We were a little sad as we realised this would be our last campsite for a while, but we have a whole new stage of our holiday to start soon – and we’ll have a proper bed too 😊 Anyway, before that we will have a couple of days to explore the wonderful town of Lucca and its four concentric town walls. Fittingly, we think this is going to be the best campsite we have been to as well.
Once we set up camp we popped to the local supermarket to stock up for our stay in Lucca, including some wine of course. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but whenever I buy wine on this holiday I’m making sure that it is locally grown and produced. Now we are in Tuscany I am sticking to that rule and am very happy about that too 😉
The site is arranged so that campervans and caravans are in the middle and tents are positioned on terraces above them. When we were having dinner, it felt quite strange sitting above everyone else and watching their comings and goings. Karen thinks I am nosey but I say I’m a people watcher, especially as I like to make up people’s life history as I watch them.
We have noticed that the nationalities of campers have changed over the last week; the majority of camper vans are now German but the nationality of people in tents remains cosmopolitan, although we’re usually the only Brits. The other thing we have noticed is that people in tents tend to be young couples (like us – haha 😊) and the older people are in the vans.