Isola d’Elba!! Though I am half Italian, I never knew that this little archipelago off the coast of Tuscany in the Mediterranean Sea even existed!! The shame, I know!!! Thankfully my dad did as he suggested a weekend trip there to explore the little land and its numerous beaches!! From his house outside of Florence it took about 4 hours to get to the dock at Piombino where we drove on to a ferry-boat (called MOBY) and headed to the port in Portoferraio on the island of Elba. Though the weather had been very sketchy for several weeks prior to our trip, and though it even rained on the ferry ride over, we got two full days of sun on the island and only had cloudy days on the day we arrived and the day we left:) Seriously lucked out since it was toward the end of summer/early fall that we went to begin with!
Our hotel (hotel Gabbiano Azzuro- hotel Blue Seagull) was located in a town called Marciana Marina on the North Western section of the island. The town itself is a cute little quaint place with the usual shopping, restaurants, beaches, marinas and hiking trails from here to there. The hotel, while really not terribly impressive inside offered quite a delicious breakfast including some of the best brioches I’ve personally ever tasted! They were filled with Bavarian cream… YUM!!! Just looking at them however pretty much capped my daily allowance of sugar intake… lol!! I should probably clarify that the hotel itself was quite clean, the people very nice, the location an easy walk to/from the town center, but the rooms were not that big and while they boasted that each room had a private balcony, the majority of those balconies looked on to an abandoned building and you could only see a sliver of a nice view. However, we were not there for the hotel… we were there for the BEACHES!!!
As far as beaches are concerned, I seriously didn’t think the ones in San Blas could be topped but the ones on the Island of Elba sure do give them a bit of a run for their money!!! The colors of the water surrounding the island at the various spots are out of this world beautiful! I found myself literally taking the same exact picture 3 or 4 times over just to make sure I was properly capturing the colors!!
The beaches are quite different from one another and some were even different from any I had previously been on before. While I’ve mainly been used to beaches with sand, many of the beaches on Elba consisted of stones!! I wasn’t expecting this aspect at all!! The stones are like river stones, therefore not sharp in any way, but smoothed out from years of sea water sanding them out. While they weren’t that comfortable to lay out on, they weren’t completely terrible either and it was due to these stone beaches that the colors remained so crisp and lovely, even when in the water!
Needless to say, after mapping out several beaches for us to visit, the next few days were spent just going from one beach to the next, sunning and tanning, swimming and snorkeling and generally just loving the water and life! It was a great and relaxing time to be sure!! Even more of a bonus was that we were still in Italy so dinners were to die for!! I Love Italian food!! The last day was spent driving almost all the way around the island, taking several pictures along the way before heading back to the ferry and then home.
On to Return to Treviso
The day trip to Cinque Terre and Portovenere was mainly just for a viewing of each place. It had been a while since I had been to either spot, so it was time to reconnect, even if just for a day. Portovenere, which means the port of Venus (in my first version I said “door” of Venus, hence the comment below, lol!!) is another lovely seaside town located not far from the Cinque Terre in Liguria. The cutest of its features in my opinion is a little church at the end of the town that is built up on the rocks jutting out to sea. It is a very popular place to get married, and in fact while we were there, one wedding was just ending and as another bride was making her way up the steps for her turn, lol!! Portovenere also has a grotto and often times the waters of the area are blessed with pods of dolphins!! Unfortunately for me, the day after we were in Portovenere, a pod of 50 dolphins was spotted!! Oh well! It was probably just as well because otherwise I would have jumped in the water to chase them, lol!! Anyway, as the trip to Portovenere was really just for a quick reconnect, not a ton happened aside from wandering around and taking pictures. So enjoy them while they’re hot! 😉
For those who personally know me, the next sentence won’t come as a surprise, but for everyone else… I am fortunate to have been born and raised (for the first 7 years or so) just outside of Florence. My dad has been living here for several years now, and since it has been 4 years since I’ve been back to Italy, why not #1 spend some time with my dad, #2 use our home in Italy as a base to explore other European countries and #3 make the eventual trip to Thailand not such a painful one from a flight perspective:)
I know, I know, I sound totally spoiled. But I can’t help where I was born, I can only recognize how fortunate I am in many ways and most importantly to be thankful for what I am able to do and to have such an international family!!
Now that that is cleared up, I am currently still in Italy writing furiously to catch up on this blog from the years past travels so that I can write about more recent adventures and ones that are still to come:) I arrived here in Italy at the end of August (2014- I know, I’m really almost caught up with blogging about my travels to present day!!!) at the Florence airport and was greeted by my dad at the airport with one of his famous “daddy” pick-ups, as we call it in my family. That is simply where he insists on parking the car so he can go into the airport and greet the new arrival from the gate, instead of waiting outside in the car for the new arrival to walk out of the airport:)
We had a lovely dinner at a pizzeria near where my dad grew up and has been going for over 40 years!! Let me just say, for the record that, in my opinion, there is no better pizza IN THE WORLD than the pizza in Italy, and more specifically the pizza in Tuscany!!! The thin crust is to die for!! Now the further South you go in Italy, the thicker the crust gets… Just a warning for those going South wondering why I’ve described the pizzas as being thin-crusted:) Oh and the ham too… I’ve never tasted better ham either (on my pizza of course!!) than in Italy!! Ok, I better stop talking about food for now… I’m making myself hungry!!
We headed to the house (about 40 Km outside of Florence) after dinner and turned in for the night. The next few months were spent catching up, hanging out, hiking in the National Park that we back onto, exploring several surrounding cities, reconnecting with Florence, a trip to the Island of Elba, going to Salzburg, Austria for a few days together (then I left to explore more of Europe on my own), entertaining some friends from Scotland, blogging (for me:)) and now we are getting ready to head out on a cruise that the family organized for my dad’s 75th birthday present!!
It’s been a busy few months for sure!! Not to mention that while I’ve been here I’ve been making sure that my dad has stayed busy making me homemade lasagna, limoncello, meat sauce, arista, crostate di more, pasta with the favorite sauce (can’t tell you the recipe it’s a family secret:)) focaccia, pasta fagioli, and on and on!! It’s a miracle I’m not obese!! Lol!! Actually, it’s not a miracle… I workout vigorously everyday to counter the calories I indulge in while here:)
Oh… I should mention I’ve cheated a teeny bit on the pictures… All are current except for the Florence pictures… They are ones from winter 2010… But in coming posts of Florence I will have pictures from this trip, I promise!! Just wanted to give you a little teaser to start;)
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