Portovenere and Palmaria Island

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May 12th 2017
Published: June 2nd 2017
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Nobody else wanted to get in this photo with me?
Day Two of hiking brought us our first variation from the Trip Notes suggested itinerary. We were to take a train to La Spezia where we were supposed to take a city bus to the medieval town of Portovenere. We followed the directions to the bus stop but there happened to be a huge outdoor flea market that day in the area of La Spezia where we were to find the bus stop. Traffic on the roads in that whole area was limited to one direction and as a result the bus route must have been modified. We did figure out that we needed to buy tickets for the bus at the Tobacco Store which we did but it was still unclear where the bus stop was relocated to. After a couple hours of chasing buses down the crowded street, standing outside the bus door at stoplights pleading with the driver to let us on, plowing over a few flea market shoppers in pursuit of the "P" bus, and a near meltdown by Ralf in the roadway, we hoofed it back to the train station where we'd seen cabs lined up at our arrival and took one to Portovenere. Crisis averted and time for some pizza and wine! Portovenere was a really pleasant little seaside village built into a hillside with alleys running perpendicular through the village, each one lined with cute little shops and restaurants (gelato awaiting at every turn!) After exploring a bit on foot, we took a boat tour of three islands, including Palmaria Island. One of the highlights of the day (for the boys at least) was our near death experience with our boat captain taking us into a cave with access from the water. Okay, maybe I am being a bit dramatic, but I had to practice a little deep breathing to stay calm through that although I will admit, only after the fact, that it was really beautiful. Upon returning to Portovenere, we did a bit more exploring, including hiking up to the San Pietro Church where we met the sweetest little kitty cat who scaled all the walls far above the sea with such agility. The views were absolutely breathtaking! Fortunately, the bus heading back to La Spezia was a bit easier to locate. We ended the day with a stop at the grocery store back in Sestri Levante to pick up a supply of fresh cheeses an

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