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Saturday, July 30th 2016:

 
Camogli

 
Something’s fishy in the Park of Portofino: rumours have it that the Santa fried fish festival might take place this Saturday, courtesy of the fishermen guild of S.Erasmo. And who are we, to take the risk of potentially missing a nice dish of fish? (as usual, all information about the festival is kept secret, so there’s no guarantee that it will actually take place)

Other than fried fish, the idea is to wrap up the hiking season with a swim in one of the most beautiful places for snorkeling in Liguria: Punta Chiappa. In order to do so, we’ll follow a loop, from Camogli to Punta Chiappa via Batterie and back via S.Nicolò. We’ll then complete the hike by heading to Gaixella, San Lorenzo and Santa Margherita (via an old roman road).

Hike is rated as T/E, with 400 metres of elevation gain, and takes around 3.5 hours . We’ll likely reach S.Margherita around 5:30pm.

You may read more about the trails on:
http://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/it/mappa-sentieri/21-san-rocco-camogli-batterie-punta-chiappa.html
http://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/gb/trail-map/21-san-rocco-camogli-batterie-punta-chiappa.html (scary English)
http://smlturismo.it/amministrazione/multimedia/Objman/F4de4c36a49c1e/Su%20e%20giu%20per%20Santa.pdf (the final part)

Please bring some food and water with you! Of course, if you’re coming from Milano you’ll have plenty of time in Camogli, to wander around and get some focaccia.

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How to get to Camogli, and how to come back alive:

Let’s meet at 10:45am, at the entrance of Camogli train station. More precisely, we could meet under the “Madonna with Child” relief that’s on the wall opposite the train station entrance.

Recommended trains are (*):

– if you travel eastwards

REG 34469
Genova Brignole 10:05
Camogli-S.Fruttuoso 10:44
(if you live near Principe, you’ll have to catch a train at 09:44 and change at Brignole)

– if you travel westwards:

REG 11240
09:55 Sestri Levante
10:25 Camogli-S. Fruttuoso

(if you come from La Spezia, Pisa, Parma, feel free to catch the one arriving at 11:00, catching up with the group will be super-easy)

– If you travel southwards:

(the much dreaded) REG 2181
Milano Centrale 07:25
(Milano Lambrate 07:32)
Camogli-S. Fruttuoso 09:51

Return will be from S.Margherita Ligure, somewhere around 6 or 7pm. Chances are, at 6pm the town will host its own version of Camogli’s fried fish festival. In this case, we might as well stop for a while in Santa and get ourselves a dish, while waiting for the train back home.

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(*) For those who are catching IC or Freccia trains:

If you have a travel buddy, you should buy the “2×1” special ticket before midnight (11:59pm) of Thursday. It’s a buy 1 and get 1 free offer, so you’ll basically pay half price.

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(*) For those who happen to be over 60 or under 26:

You can have half price even without a travel buddy. Remember that you need to have a Cartafreccia card in order to use the junior/senior special offer (in the unlikely case that you don’t have a Cartafreccia card yet, let me know and I can send you an invitation… in which case we’ll both get a 10 euro coupon:-) )

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As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)

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Saturday, July 23rd 2016:

 
La Spezia

 

Since this Saturday the “piscina naturale” event takes place in Portovenere, shall we throw in a hike for the 2nd week in a row? The idea, of course, is to follow a (new) trail leading to the infinite trail, then head down to Portovenere and swim to Palmaria island.

However, this time things won’t be so easy. Besides the physical challenge of walking up Mt Muzzerone and along the coastal ridge trail, then swimming to the island of Palmaria, this time there’s also a villain to take into account. As it often happens, the villain has the face of Trenitalia, which (apparently) decided to strike this weekend, starting from 9pm of Saturday until 9pm of Sunday. Will the good guys (i.e. us!) be able to hike and swim and come back home safely, before the trains stop running?

Regarding the swim: this Saturday’s big event is the closing of the Portovenere strait to the boats. From 3pm until evening, boats won’t be allowed to cross it, thus making it feasible to swim from Portovenere to Palmaria. The plan then is to swim to the island… and probably back to Portovenere, unless you find a cunning way to carry your belongings with you. So that you know, the distance between Portovenere and Palmaria is around 250 metres.

As for the hiking part: let’s meet at La Spezia at 10am (I know, it’s early, but there aren’t many alternatives, given the evening strike and the spooky 2016 train timetable) and head to Fezzano (by bus). From Fezzano, we’ll walk to the Jubilee cross, then we’ll move on to Sella di Derby and continue to Portovenere along one of the most beautiful Ligurian paths, the so called “infinite trail”, so as to finish the hike in Portovenere. The “infinite” trail probably owes its name to the fact that the alignment of Mt Muzzerone, Portovenere and the islands of Palmaria and Tino make the trail appear much longer (almost infinite) than it actually is. In truth, the walk from Fezzano to Sella di Derby should take 1 hour, while the trail to Portovenere will require 2 hours. Should we have some extra time, we might possibly throw in the lookout point called “Salto della suocera”, i.e. jump of the mother in law(!!), which – from the pictures – seems vaguely reminiscent of Norway’s Preikestolen.

First part of the hike is rated “T/E” (easy), while second part is “E” (medium).

You may read more about the Fezzano-Portovenere hike on:
http://www.sentieridautore.it/sentieridautore.it/24.Portovenere.html (in Italian, with a beautiful map)
http://www.comune.pisa.it/wwfpisa/Trekking/Gite2007/Portovenere.pdf (the whole hike map, we’ll actually start from Fezzano)

and about the train strike on:
http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom/Informazioni/Sciopero-nazionale-23-e–24-luglio-2016
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How to get to La Spezia… and how to come back alive:

On Saturday, July 23rd, let’s meet at 10:00am outside of La Spezia Centrale railway station, near the red human pyramid monument (I do hope it’s still there!).

Suggested trains are:

IC 35505: Genova Piazza Principe 08:54 (Genova Brignole 09:02) La Spezia Centrale 10:04

From Pisa and Parma there should be one connection at least, from Milano you need to catch the 7am Thello train.

Return from Portovenere may be around 5pm.

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For those who are catching IC or Freccia trains:

If you have a travel buddy, you should buy the “2×1” special ticket before midnight (11:59pm) of Thursday. It’s a buy 1 and get 1 free offer, so you’ll basically pay half price.

*********************************
(*) For those who happen to be over 60 or under 26:

You can half price even without a travel buddy. Remember that you need to have a Cartafreccia card in order to use the junior/senior special offer (in the unlikely case that you don’t have a Cartafreccia card yet, let me know and I can send you an invitation… in which case we’ll both get a 10 euro coupon:-) )

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As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)

next hike

Saturday, July 16th 2016:

 
Moneglia

 

Legend has it that it was placed there by the angels, who wanted the unfortunate tale of two lovers, killed by the
pirates, to be remembered for ages and therefore dropped a cliff with the shape of a bell over the sea. According to the legend, the treasure of said pirates is sunken in the sea, somewhere around the cliff.

Given that the temperature fall should allow us to have a pleasant hiking experience this Saturday, shall we tread the trail to the Asseu cliff (i.e. the legendary bell shaped cliff), starting from the “jewel town” of Moneglia? Since we never tried it and we like mysterious paths, I would take the “two rhombi” path that connects Moneglia to the peak of Mt Moneglia. From there, we’ll head down to Colle del Lago and then, along a very panoramic ridge, on to the tower of Punta Baffe that served, more than 500 ys ago, as a watch tower to spot pirates (and avoid more tragedies to be consumed and bell-shaped cliffs to be dropped on the sea).

Trail should take around 3,5 hours, has a vertical gain of 520 metres and is rated as T/E (easy/medium). Upon arrival in Riva Trigoso, we’ll take a detour to reach the waterfront path that leads to the cliff.

Return will be from Riva Trigoso, probably around 5 or 6 pm. Needless to say, a swim is definitely advised!

You may read more about the hike on:
http://www.vannacalzature.it/Itinerari_paesaggistici/Itinerari_escursionistici.htm (map)
http://www.magix-website.com/mppo19/50/5C2/5C317D0069D211DFBD3EA059BCD81AB9.pdf (we’ll only do the trail between Moneglia and Riva Trigoso)
http://www.trigoso.it/Baia_d’oro.htm (the legend behind the Asseu cliff and the golden Bay)

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How to get to Moneglia, and how to come back alive:

Let’s meet at 11.00am at Moneglia station

Suggested trains are (on Saturday, July 16th):

* for those travelling eastwards *
REG 2137
Genova Piazza Principe 09:15 (Genova Brignole 09:24)
Sestri Levante 10:30

followed by REG 23603
Sestri Levante 10:48 Moneglia 10:58

* for those travelling westwards *

REG 2296
09:50 La Spezia Centrale 10:06 Levanto

followed by REG 23602
10:41 Levanto Arrivo 11:01 Moneglia

* for those travelling southwards *

Reg 2137
07:25 Milano Centrale (7:32 Lambrate / 7:38 Rogoredo)
Sestri Levante 10:30

followed by REG 23603
Sestri Levante 10:48 Moneglia 10:58

In case you didn’t notice it, (at last!) you can now buy a regional ticket on Trenitalia by specifying whether you wish to rely just on fast trains, only on slow trains or on a combination of both.

As for the return ticket, remember that it’s from Riva Trigoso!

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(*) For those who happen to be over 60 or under 26 (or have a travel buddy):

For going back, you might want to catch the bus (or regional train) from Riva to nearby Sestri Levante and then the IC train from Sestri Levante to Milano, as you’ll get half price throughout July and August (provided you book the ticket before midnight of Thursday). Remember that you need to have a Cartafreccia card in order to use the 60 special offer (in the unlikely case that you don’t have a Cartafreccia card yet, let me know and I can send you an invitation… in which case we’ll both get a 10 euro coupon 🙂 )

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As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)