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Saturday, 15th September 2018

La Spezia

The summer holidays and the Recco celebrations may be over, but a potentially interesting event is happening this weekend, as the far-east side of Liguria gets ready to celebrate San Venerio, patron of lighthouses. Venerio, a hermit who was born on the island of Palmaria some 1500 years ago and spent his last years on the island of Tino, lighting fires at night to provide sailors with a reference point, celebrates his name day on September 13th. Because of that, Tino (which normally is off-limits as it’s a military base) is open to the public on the weekend following September 13.

Shall we seize the chance and visit it? I doubt there will be much hiking to do: since it’s a really tiny island, I read that the whole loop takes… 40 minutes. On the other hand, with a (visitable) lighthouse on top and two lookout points with 360 degree views over the sea, there should be enough ingredients to make this trip rewarding.

You may read about Tino island on:

https://www.magpedia.com/it/tempo-libero/isola-del-tino-visitare-escursione/
http://www.verdeazzurroligure.com/index_htm_files/09l-Isole%20del%20golfo%20new.pdf
https://www.gazzettadellaspezia.it/cultura/item/89096-la-marina-militare-partecipa-alle-celebrazioni-in-onore-di-san-venerio

Will it be possible to swim? From the very few clues availables, it seems so!

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How to get to Tino island… and how to come back alive:

On Saturday, 15th September, the idea is to catch the 10:40 ferry from La Spezia to Tino island. Should that fail, there’s also one at 11:50. Should the situation be chaotic (i.e. if there are legendary queues, because the whole city of La Spezia wishes to go to Tino island) we might consider catching a ferry to Palmaria Island and having a hike on Palmaria instead (in which case, the hike will be much more demanding… although still fairly easy and definitely fulfilling)

*** getting to La Spezia ***

Suggested trains are:

IC 35505: Genova Piazza Principe 08:51 (Genova Brignole 09:00) La Spezia Centrale 10:04 (*)(**)

From Pisa and Parma there should be one connection at least, from Milano you’ll need to hop aboard the 6:30 regional train (the Thello train is a bit risky) in order to catch the connecting train at Genova Principe.

There’s plenty of trains back from La Spezia. If you come from afar, don’t forget there’s the 2×1 ticket! (if you plan on swimming or sightseeing in Portovenere, you should book a train after 6pm)

********************************

(*) 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 30:

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:-) ). Also, ticket should be booked before 11:59 of Friday.
********************************
As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text/call me at +39 329 7203364

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next hike (2/2)

Sunday, 5th August 2018

Camogli

Wrapping up season #8 of the Ligurian hikes is the Stella Maris, the event that sees countless candles being placed on the sea, as a token of gratitude to the Star of the Sea, i.e. the Madonna that protects fishermen when they sail out of Camogli.
Since most of the festival takes place in the evening, I suggest meeting in the afternoon, at 3pm at Camogli station. From there, we’ll take the classic loop that leads to Punta Chiappa and the altar of the Stella Maris.
Hike takes around 2,5 hours (1,5 hours for going, 1 for coming back), it’s T/E (easy-medium) for going and T (easy) for coming back and is well described on:
https://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/it/da-camogli-o-san-rocco/22-camogli-san-rocco-punta-chiappa.html (the way back; for going, we’ll walk via Guardia, as it’s visually more rewarding)

You may read more about the festival on:
http://expatinitaly.com/stella-maris-in-camogli/

Unlike Saturday, you won’t need to bring much water, as there’s plenty of water taps along the way.
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How to get to Camogli, and how to come back alive:

On Sunday, 5th August, let’s meet at 15:00 opposite the entrance of Camogli railway station (under the relief of the Madonna with Child)

Suggested trains are:

If you are travelling eastwards:

either
REG 25731 14:10 Genova Piazza Principe
(14:19 Genova Brignole)
14:56 Camogli-S. Fruttuoso

If you are travelling westwards:

Reg 25714 + Reg 25716 La Spezia 13:38 – Camogli-S. Fruttuoso 14:59

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

If you have a travel buddy, you can have 30% off by buying the “Insieme” special ticket before midnight (11:59pm) of Friday.

*********************************
(*) For those who happen to be over 60 or under 30:

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, please use AMICO110423712 as referral code when signing up… and we’ll both get a 10 euro coupon:-) ). Also, ticket should be booked before 11:59 of Saturday.

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

next hike (Saturday)

Saturday, 4th August 2018

Moneglia

With the secret fried fish festival on Saturday and the Stella Maris on Sunday, we might throw in two hikes over the weekend, so as to end season #8 of the Ligurian hikes in a sizzling way. Since the sun will be high and the temperature quite warm, I would stick to hikes that are short yet fulfilling: who’s up for returning to the emerald waters of the secluded craggy coast of Valletta (Moneglia)?

Reaching the emerald waters of Valletta is not straightforward, as it involves a T/E (easy/medium) hike, with 300 metres of elevation gain, followed by an ending trail, that could possibly be E/EE (medium/hard), since you need a slight amount of climbing to get into the water. It takes around 2,5 hours for the complete loop from the town of Moneglia and back.

Should the temperature be unpleasantly high, we can take an easier 2 hour loop (via La Secca beach), that’s more in the shade.

You may read more about the trail on:
http://luoghidasogno.altervista.org/Mare/Liguria/RivieraLevante/Moneglia/PuntaMoneglia.htm
http://www.costadeonde.com/sentieri/ (trail #4)

Please remember to bring plenty of water, as there are no fountain taps!
You can expect to be back in Moneglia around 3pm. This means there will be plenty of time for icecream, beer or a second swim in the shallow waters of Moneglia beach,

As for the secret fried fish festival, assuming it’s taking place (it’s so secret that they usually publish it one day before!), it will start at 7pm in Santa Margherita Ligure. If it’s confirmed, those who travel back to Genova or Milano might well consider stopping there to grab a dish of fried fish, before catching the train back home.

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

On Saturday, 4th August, let’s meet at 11:05 at the entrance of Moneglia railway station

Suggested trains are:

If you are travelling eastwards:

either
REG 25697 09:22 Genova Piazza Principe (09:30 Genova Brignole) 10:36 Sestri Levante (could be crowded)
OR
REG 24733 08:56 Genova Brignole – 10:18 Sestri Levante (should be empty)
+
REG 24737 10:46 Sestri Levante – Moneglia 10:56

If you are travelling westwards:

REG 24452 – 10:15 La Spezia 11:05 Moneglia

If you are travelling southwards:

REG 25697 07:20 Milano Centrale (07:27 Lambrate 07:33 Rogoredo) 10:36 Sestri Levante
+
REG 24737 10:46 Sestri Levante – Moneglia 10:56

********************************

(*) 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 30:

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, please use AMICO110423712 as referral code when signig up… and we’ll both get a 10 euro coupon:-) ). Also, ticket should be booked before 11:59 of Friday.

*****************************************

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

next hike

Saturday, 21st July 2018

La Spezia

August may be getting closer, but we can’t possibly go on holiday before having two more hikes, one for swimming and one for the fish: kicking off this Saturday is the “piscina naturale” event which, as every year at this time, takes place in Portovenere. The idea, of course, is to follow a path leading to the Infinite trail, then head down to Portovenere and swim to Palmaria island.

For the uninitiated: this Saturday’s big event consists in 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 and waterproof way to carry your belongings with you). So that you know, the distance between Portovenere and Palmaria is around 200/250 metres.

As for the hiking part: let’s meet at La Spezia around 10:20am (I know, it’s early, but evil Trenitalia announced a strike, that starts at 9pm on Saturday and ends at 9pm on Sunday, so we shouldn’t take too much risk!) and head to Acquasanta (by bus). From there, we’ll hike up to Campiglia and continue to Portovenere along one of the most wonderful 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 Acquasanta to Campiglia should take 1,5 hours, while the trail to Portovenere requires 2 hours. Should we have some extra time, we might possibly have a short detour to the lookout point called “Salto della suocera”, i.e. jump of the mother in law(!), which is a cliff falling in a sheer drop into the Ligurian Sea (think of a Ligurian version of Norway’s Pulpit Rock)

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

You may read more about the Infinite trail on:
https://sentieridautore.it/2015/11/25/seguendo-minerva-a-portovenere/

and about Piscina Naturale on:
http://www.eventiportovenere.com/2017-2018/2018/piscina_naturale_luglio.html

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How to get to La Spezia… and how to come back alive:

On Saturday, July 21st, let’s meet at 10:20am outside La Spezia Centrale railway station, near the red human pyramid monument

Suggested trains are:

IC 35505: Genova Piazza Principe 08:53 (Genova Brignole 09:05) La Spezia Centrale 10:11 (*)

From Pisa and Parma there should be one connection at least, from Milano you’ll need to hop aboard the 6:30 regional train (the Thello train is a bit risky) in order to catch the connecting train at Genova Principe.

There’s plenty of trains back from La Spezia. If you come from afar, don’t forget there’s the 2×1 ticket! (if you plan on swimming or sightseeing in Portovenere, you should book a train after 6pm)

********************************

(*) 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 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:-) ). Also, ticket should be booked before 11:59 of Friday.

next hike

Sunday, 1st July 2018

Chiavari

The weather forecast looks quite favourable for hiking this weekend, which is good since we will otherwise have to wait 4(!) years, before a Montallegro festival falls again on a weekend. This year the anniversary celebrations of the apparition of the Virgin Mary on the Rapallo mountains take place on Sunday+Monday+Tuesday, so let’s have a hike on the first of the Montallegro days.

The idea is to walk on the classical Chiavari-Montallegro trail. We haven’t walked along the first half of trail for quite some time now, so it might be the right time to try it again. As usual, there will be the dilemma whether to take the direct route (via the churches of Sampierdicanne and Maxena) or the scenic route (via the churches of Madonna delle Grazie and either Madonnetta or Campodonico). Depending on the choice, hike may take 3 or 4 hours; it will mostly be under the woods, so no worries about the sun! Vertical gain is around 600 metres, difficulty is easy/medium (T/E).

Highlights of the hike include: the Montallegro shrine, featuring the Byzantine portrait that the Virgin Mary herself supposedly gave to a peasant on July 2nd 1557, and is behind all celebrations; the Anchetta Pass lookout point, where we stopped countless times to have a picnic or even eat a proper meal; the church of Madonna delle Grazie (if we take the scenic route), that features another miraculous painting as well as some impressive frescoes.

You may read more about the hike on https://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/gb/from-rapallo/51-rapallo-montallegro-chiavari.html (in super-scary English)

By 4:00pm we’ll likely be at Montallegro, where we can choose whether to hear the vespers or take the cable car down and have a swim.

For those staying in the evening, the fireworks are scheduled at 10:30pm. Apparently, there’s also a concert at 9:30pm as well as candles in the sea.

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

On Sunday, 1st July, let’s meet at Chiavari train station at 11:36 am.

Recommended trains are:

* if you travel eastwards

Reg 24745 – 10:39 Genova Brignole – Chiavari 11:26

or

REG 24747 (treno del mare, watch out as it might be packed!) 10:24 Genova Piazza Principe – 11:36 Chiavari

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* if you travel westwards

REG 11368: La Spezia Centrale 9:50 Chiavari 10:33
or
IC 666 – 10:35 La Spezia Centrale – Chiavari 11:30

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* if you travel southwards:

REG 24747 – 08:26 Milano Lambrate (08:44 Milano Rogoredo) 11:36 Chiavari

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Return will be from Rapallo station.

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

next hike

Saturday, 16th June 2018

Framura

While waiting for the Montallegro festival (2 weeks from now), the weather forecast predicts for the upcoming weekend plenty of sunshine and the first heat waves: shall we have a hike&swim in the snorkeling paradise of Framura?

The idea is to hike along a loop, from Framura to Montaretto and back. Meeting point will be at 11am, at the train station of Framura: from there we’ll do some beach hopping, walking along the beaches of Torsei and Arena (via the seafront promenade) before crossing the atmospheric hamlet of Anzo. This will allow us to visit one of 5 hamlets that made Framura one of the most beautiful villages in Italy (see http://borghipiubelliditalia.it/project/framura/ and https://www.buzzfeed.com/marietelling/49-italian-villages-that-should-be-on-your-bucket-list )

From the medieval genovese watchtower, the hike will begin, as we’ll follow the green-azure coastal trail until we reach the historical village of Montaretto. Incidentally, the gattafin festival is taking place this weekend. As usual, it’s a mystery whether we’ll actually be able to taste the gattafin (i.e the herb-filled fried ravioli, that can only be found in the Levanto region), since we’ll arrive before the party begins. Nevertheless, the place is always worth a stop… and maybe we can try to convince the organizers to make some for us!

The way back to Framura will be along trail 660. As we never tried it, it’s hard to anticipate anything except that it’s supposedly easy and leads straight to the Framura lava-stone beach of Porto Pidocchio.

Total hiking time is approx 3 hours, vertical gain is around 300 metres. You may read more about it on http://www.comune.bonassola.sp.it/c011005/zf/index.php/servizi-aggiuntivi/index/index/idtesto/34 (in Italian)
http://framura.eu/en/foot/ (in English)
http://www.sentierialevante.it/mobile/map2/descr.html?cod_sent=660&dpx=15 (trail 660)

By 3:30pm we’ll likely be in Framura, where we can either swim in the snorkeling paradise of Porto Pidocchio or have a swim&beer at the beach of Torsei, just below the train station.

In case we fail to get gattafin in Montaretto, I believe there’s also the S.Erasmo festival in Santa Margherita Ligure (it was supposed to be last week, but I see now that it got postponed). Should we be hungry, we can stop there, on the way back home: I believe they’ll offer to everyone the so called fisherman biscuit (a sort of tasty bruschetta, with tomato and anchovy) at 6-7pm.

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

On Saturday, 16th June, let’s meet at Framura train station at 11:00 am.

Recommended trains are:

* if you travel eastwards

Reg 33875 + 24459: 09:22 Genova Piazza Principe (09:31 Genova Brignole) 11:00 Framura

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* if you travel westwards

REG 24452: La Spezia Centrale 10:15 Framura 10:53

——–

* if you travel southwards:

Reg 33875 + 24459: 07:25 Milano Centrale ( 07:32 Milano Lambrate 07:38 Milano Rogoredo) 11:00 Framura

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Return will be from Framura station, around 5-6pm.

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For those who are catching IC trains:
(***) there’s the Special 2×1 offer, provided you buy the ticket before 23:59 of Thursday

(**) If you’re younger than 30, you should be eligible to have a 30% discount, if you catch the IC train and registered to the (free) Cartafreccia program. In case you haven’t registered yet, send me a message and I can send you an invitation (of course, you can also register on your own… but an invitation would grant us both a 10 euro voucher 🙂 )
In order to get the discount, remember to buy the ticket before 23:59 of Thursday

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

next hike

Sunday, 27th May 2018

S.Margherita Ligure

Is anyone up for a short but (slightly) demanding hike? Since 4 years have passed, since the last (and only) time we hiked to Cala degli Inglesi, I would return there this Sunday… and, with the water being around 20 degrees, possibly have a short swim?

The idea is to hike from bay to bay: we’ll start from the emerald bay of Paraggi (which we’ll probably reach via bus, although walking is also possible) and head up to the Vessinaro pond, before descending to Cala degli Inglesi, a secluded bay that lies somewhere between Portofino and S.Fruttuoso and hides some secrets (according to the guide, a Canadian ship sank here some 50 years ago, in its waters there’s not just fish but sometimes even dolphins). One word of warning: the way down is labelled as “EE” (i.e. for “expert excursionists”). As far as I remember, it’s not so dangerous or exposed: the first half is even considered as easy/medium, but extra care needs to be taken in the last part of the trail (which is secured with chains and rather steep, you can get an idea from the photos on http://www.cralgalliera.altervista.org/calainglesi010.pdf ).

You may read more about the hike on (scary English warning!):
https://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/gb/trail-map/17-portofino-cala-degli-inglesi.html
(we would start from Paraggi)
https://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/gb/from-santa-margherita-ligure/62-santa-margherita-nozarego-olmi-portofino-paraggi-cappelletta-delle-gave-smargherita-ligure.html
(the way back, it’s half of the trail indicated on the map)

Overall, the whole hiking loop takes around 3 hours, has 400 mt of vertical gain and is rated as T/E (easy/medium) and EE (hard, along the trail to Cala degli Inglesi)

Return will be from S.Margherita Ligure. We’ll probably arrive there around 5pm. So, in case you’re interested in some focaccia (the focaccia festival is taking place in nearby Recco, till 6:30pm), you’ll likely still be in time for it!

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How to get to S.Margherita Ligure, and how to come back alive:

On Sunday, May 27th, let’s meet at 11:02 am at the entrance of S.Margherita Ligure/Portofino railway station (by the infamous taxi telephone).

Suggested trains are

if you travel eastwards

REG 33871: 10:27 Genova Piazza Principe ( 10:35 Genova Brignole ) 11:02 S.Margherita Ligure-Portofino

– if you travel westwards

REG 11368 – 09:50 La Spezia Centrale – 10:45 S.Margherita Ligure-Portofino

– if you travel southwards:

REG 33871 – 8:17 Milano Greco Pirelli (08:26 Milano Lambrate) (08:44 Milano Rogoredo) 11:02 S.Margherita Ligure-Portofino

or

IC 35033: 8:10 Milano Centrale – 10:14 S.Margherita Ligure-Portofino (*)

Return will be from S.Margherita station

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

If you have 1 or more travel buddies, you can buy the “Insieme” special ticket before midnight (11:59pm) of Saturday (if I’m not mistaken). It’s a “get 30% off if you’re at least 2 people” offer. In order to get the discount, remember to buy the ticket one day in advance.

If you’re younger than 30 or older than 60, you can again get 30% off, provided you registered to the (free) Cartafreccia program. In case you haven’t registered yet, send me a message and I can send you an invitation (of course, you can also register on your own… but an invitation would grant us both a 10 euro voucher. In order to get the discount, remember to buy the ticket one day in advance.

***************************************

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