Pisa to Genoa-verse

Pisa to Genoa-verse

Marina di Pisa´s a bit of a wreck
The Arno is dirty and brown
But the day livens up when we jump on the bus
And explore the old Pisa town

The leaning tower leans precariously
A carnival is staged
And Galileo,the town´s brilliant son
Thumbs his nose at the church he enraged

If you´re thinking of buying a super acht
Viareggio´s where you should look
But don´t expect less than 100 feet
And bring a substantial cheque book

When we sailed into Portovenere
We were met by Russell and Lee
Tall houses look over the old town port
To watch sailors returning from sea

Take a ferry to Riamaggiore
Then walk the 5 hours back
It´s a steep climb out of the village
Then a challenging rocky track

Then try sailing into Vernazza
And mooring just off the town square
In the heart of the Cinque Terre
This is travel with adequate flair

In the old church square in Rapallo
The bell ringer chimes his notes
But for real people and its market
Santa Marguerita got our votes

In Portofino we moored quite appropriately
Right beside a gigantic cruiser
The ormeggiatore came and moved us on
He had attitude-that of a loser

The buildings in Portofino town
All resemble a Hollywood set
A beer costs a mere 7 euros here
The meal cost?You´d rather forget

Genoa presents an attractive mixture
Of elegance,age and vigour
Columbus´s 15th century house
Wouldn´t work for anyone bigger

On both sides of via Garibaldi
The sumptuous palaces stand
The narrowly winding alley ways
Are lively though not so grand

A highlight was wending our way out of town
In Porto Antico´s hire car
To the old Bruxaboschi trattoria
For our best meal out so far.

July ´09


4th. July 2009 (cont)

We tie up in Porto Antico, in the heart of the old town. this is a large city and seems such a contrast to the much smaller towns we have just been visiting.
We are interested in the architecture of the old , elegant buildings, many with frescoes and the history here. Most of the places we have visited recently have been under Genoese rule earlier in their history.
We explore the fascinating narrow alleyways with the very tall buildings either side of them, making some of them dark, but cool. The city centre is large and grand with the famous street, Garibaldi, branching off it. Here we pass several mansions and visit Palazzo Rossi, which is now an art gallery and is holding a free musical soiree'.

Via Garibaldi

We see two weddings with the brides wearing very elegant gowns.
Tonight we enjoy a delicious dinner sitting outdoors at the recommended restaurant Garibaldi.

Align LeftAlign LeftAlign Left5th. July 2009
Ross gets up early this morning to walk around the city to become better acquainted with it.
We hire a marina courtesy car. It is tiny and black, like a Noddy car. It proves very handy for parking. Ross drives and Russell navigates to venture up to the small village of San Desiderio for lunch at Bruxaboschi restaurant.
Getting there is a real challenge. Streets end abrubtly to become one way, and some streets aren´t named. We have many stops so Russell can ask for more directions, even though we have a print -off map from the computer.One very helpful man we ask invites us to follow him on his motorbike through a particularly difficult part.
Russell and Ross do a wonderful job and we arrive before the appointed time, so have a wander through this tiny and delightful village up in the hills above the city. The setting and cuisine for lunch are sensational. It is al- fresco under two very old horse chestnut trees trained over a strong trellis structure like vines. Many of the dishes are local and several of the specialties have unusual varieties of mushrooms.

Bruxaboshi Restaurant

This has been a long established family run restaurant for 148 years.We meet Granny who is 94 and cooked here until two years ago when she broke her hip. Our charming waitress is married to one of her grandsons. Sadly they are looking to move to Canada as they say there is no future in Italy now for their two daughters aged 8 and 11. They generously give us one of their recipe books for each couple. They claim they have never had Australians there before.
Coming back into Genoa we are trying to find Christopher Columbus´house where he may have been born, and definitely lived. This proves to be very ambitious but our intrepid driver an navigator get us there. Ironically it is very close to where we walked yesterday! Then we see some of viam20th. September, the main street with its grand buildings, archways, and its paths, some made with marble and some with mosaics.
Ross is really tested getting from here back to the port. We re so close, but so far with many one way streets and blocked off roads for pedestrians. Often he has to back in the narrowest of alleyways, with Russell out of the car guiding him. He is glad to have the car parked safely outside the marina office.
Early evening we take the boat from this part of the harbour to Marina Genova Aeroporto, about 4 n.miles north to tie her up there for 2 weeks..
We have had a wonderful time and so much fun with Russell and Lee. They certainly brought the best possible weather with them, and Impulsive didn´t miss a beat

6th. July 2009 .10th. July
This morning we leave with Russell and Lee for Wales to see the first test match in Cardiff. This certainly will be different from sailing.
We have an hilarious time (in hindsight!) at the airport booking into Ryan Air. We all assume our luggage limit is 20kgs. when in fact it is only 15kgs. Ross is the only one just over, so Lee,Russell and I have to all try and fit some into our hand luggage., or we will be charged heavily for excess weight. Repacking at the airport isn´t the best fun, but we all manage to get by with no extra charge.
It is exciting flying over the English channel and then across to Stansted airport, seeing all the fields looking green and manicured.
We are driven for 3 hours from Stansted to Wales to Russell and Lees´friend´s home. Maggie and Alen are overwhelmingly hospitable. Chris and Bruce are arriving tomorrow and we are all staying at this magnificent property. We have a fabulous few days here and meet lots of people who were very welcoming.
Tuesday is a day for relaxing and enjoying the available facilities here, including the cricket machine and par 3 golf course. Tonight Maggie and Allen host a wonderful party with a marvelous entertainer, an accomplished pianist and singer. We particularly enjoyed the dancing. (There was scheduled a dinner tonight where Shane Warne was expected to speak. Unfortunately he didn´t honour this commitment but let the organizers down and accepted something else. This was thought of very poorly by many people.)
Wednesday is the first day of the test . There is quite an excitement when all the men head off for the first day of play.
We girls set off with Maggie and her friend, Connie for a day of exploring the south of Wales. Connie grew up in these areas and has a wealth of knowledge. It is lovely to see her relive her childhood as she takes us through all these places. Gary, our driver, also grew up in this area so adds "life" to some of the stories too.
We set off through the south of Wales, going west, through the old mining areas. We pass through the industrial Rhonda Valley, to the Neath area which is less industrial. We pass by many old stone, arched bridges on our way to Swansea, which was very industrialized but a lot of it has been reclaimed. There are scars and signs of the old mines along the way but Connie explains that the reclaimed areas have now mostly greened over.
The last national mine closed down in the 1980´s, with Margaret Thatcher and the power of the various strikes. The last private mine closed down last year.
Swansea was obliterared in the war, but is mostly rebuilt now.There is a lovely view over Mumbles bay from here, even though the tide is out.It is very tidal here and we are lucky to see the tide in here on the way home. We pass the well known St. Helen´s cricket ground, and many lovely parks.
We spend sometime in the Gower area, a peninsular which is a National Park. An icon of the Gower is the "Three Cliffs" on the Bristol Channel.

The three cliffs

There are many delightful, small villages. We enjoy driving along the narrow, winding lanes with their trimmed hedges, and the wild buddlhea and lilac growing everywhere. The countryside through this area is so picturesque.

View from the lane back along the coast

We have lunch at Worm Head in a small cafe overlooking a magnificent long stretch of surf beach, with some horses and riders cantering and galloping along.

The cliff top walk

Our next stops are Oxwich, a walk from Caswell Bay along the scenic cliff tops to Landlan Bay, and finally to Cowbridge for dinner at the Bear Hotel. This last town is lovely with lanes lined with small cafes and gorgeous flower pots everywhere.
Today we all go to the cricket and thoroughly enjoy the perfect weather, the hospitality and a great day´s cricket.
Ross has had a wonderful 2 days of cricket with the usual ups and downs including a classy century from Ponting.
Ist. ball of the 2nd. day of play

Australian supporters!

We have dinner tonight at the downtown Bay. This water was closed off 10 years ago and the waterside has been renovated with cafes and bars. It is now a very popular place in Cardiff.
We have a leisurely morning enjoying this lovely home before heading off in the train for London.


11th. July, 2009
Having lived in London years ago we both enjoy revisiting this vibrant city. This afternoon we wander through St. James Park, past Buckingham Palace , through Green Park and via Hyde park, through some of Mayfair to Shepherd´s market. Being Friday evening this area is buzzing with people spilling out of the attractive pubs. We follow this with dinner near Picadily at Langans.

Buckingham Palace

12th. July, 2009
Setting off this morning we see part of the changing of the guard as they march down from Buckingham Palace. The young men look so impressive in their red jackets and black busbies.

Changing guard

We have always been fascinated by John Harrison´s development of the chronometer so we have an excursion down the River Thames to Greenwich, past many famous landmarks eg. The Tower Bridge and Lord Nelson´s house where he lived with Lady Hamilton.

The Tower Bridge

Greenwich is a very attractive town. We find lunch in the market and enjoy a picnic on the nearby lawns, before wandering up to the observatory. It is marvelous to see the chronometer presented in its different intricate stages of engineering. It solved the long standing and extremely costly problem of not being able to determine longitude. It is interesting too to see the "Time Ball" and the Greenwich line of the prime-meridian.

The "Time Ball" and Greenwich line of the prime-meridian

Tonight we go to the theatre to see the musical "the Jersey Boys" (the Four Seasons), and it is fantastic. Apparently it is coming to Melbourne soon.
It is fun to have a late supper in this theatre area.

13th. July, 2009
Walking up New Bond Street past the top label shops and galleries, and then via Oxford St; to Marylebone Lane is full of contrasts. As we pass into Marylebone High Street we come across many small cafes and pubs all just starting to open.

Marylebone High St.

Canal leading up to Little Venice

Strolling through Regent´s Park and along the nearby canal to Little Venice is very pleasant. Lunch at a small restaurant over the canal is perfect.

Little Venice

This afternoon we head off to the National Library to the Henry V111 exhibition. It claims " to tell the story of his reign from his own perspective". It certainly is well presented.
We decide to venture back to Shepherd´s market for dinner tonight for a Lebonese meal of delicious mezza.

14th. July 2009

Today is one of excitement as we are off to meet up with Scott, Jeanette, Augusta and Lily.


13th. July 2009
Provence - with Scott, Jeanette, Augusta and Lily
We fly from London to Nice where Scott meets us and drives us directly to their cottage in Claviers, one and a half hours n.west of Nice.
What better way to soak in the atmosphere of Provence than to stay here for a week with Scott, Jeanette, Augusta and Lily just enjoying being with the family and relaxing with them in this beautiful area.


Ross and I enjoy our morning snuggles when the girls come into bed with us. Then each day we take them for a long exploratory walk while it is still cool and crisp. The surrounding area is beautiful with views through to a nearby village, Bergamon, lovely homes and gardens, terraced land, olive plantations, orchids, the smell of freshly cut grass, forests, many wildflowers and a nearby river.

An early morning walk

Flowers we find on an early morning walk

The day warm up quickly, averaging about 30 degrees, and soon it is very hot. We have many hours sitting by, and playing with Augusta and Lily in their small pool. This is great fun and a lovely way to spend time with the girls.

Fun in the pool
We also do some gardening together.
We dine and wine very well here. Jeanette produces some delicious and beautifully presented meals, and Scott is the barb-e.que king.
The nearby town of Claviers is a charming little village. We like taking the girls to the bakery here. It is very quaint and the madam and monsieur are lovely with the girls, and show them how the bread is baked. Apparently if they run out of bread to sell, they just close until they make some more. There is also an interesting art gallery, in an old church. The game of boule is very popular in the main street and fun to watch.

Art gallery converted from an old church

Claviers Village

Le Muy is a larger town quite a drive away. The market is wonderful for fresh produce, cheeses,meats, seafood and clothes. Jeanette and I find some pretty and very inexpensive dresses for the girls. There are several wine "caves" on this route which we visit, and an attractive restaurant for a local produce lunch. The tomatoes here at this time of the year are so rich in flavour and colour.
Le Muy market

The old olive mill, still used today, on the road to Bergamon

Bergamon is the other nearby village we visit, and has a lovely relaxed atmosphere about it. The old, narrow and cobbled streets are lined with attractive houses, all with their shutters, and many places are now turned into galleries.
One night we stay up into the wee hours playing 500 with Scott and Jeanette. Somehow Ross and I win despite Ross´outrageous bids. We are all looking forward to a return game.
Another night we see a fireworks display across the way from Bergamon to celebrate Bastille Day.
Tina, Simon and their daughter Vicca, aged 6, are the other owners of the cottage. They come for dinner and to stay on our last night here. Ross and I have met them on other occasions in Copenhagen, but most recently when they visited Australia with Scott and Jeanette earlier this year.This is another perfect night, balmy warm with the sky filled with bright stars. We have been fortunate to have perfect weather for our very special time in Provence.
This morning Ross and Scott have a challenge to pack the car to fit us all in, with all our luggage for our trip to Nice. Ross sits between Augusta´s and Lily´s car seats, and I have a comfortable "bed" to lie on across the luggage in the back. The look on Scott´s friends faces is a study as we all tumble out. We are staying with Helene and Francois for one night in their wonderful cliff-top home set on 3 acres with magnificent views across the water to Cape Ferrat. This area is famous for some of the finest houses and gardens along this coast. What a treat to be here with these very generous and hospitable people.

Views from the gardens

The acres of gardens which stretch down to the waterfront are magnificent to walk through, with their manicured paths and different areas of plantings eg. they even have an Australian section. Scott, Jeanette, Augusta and lily are staying in the Fisherman´s cottage, and Ross and I are in the Artist´s cottage. We hope it gives us some inspiration! Both are tastefully renovated with flare. It is a joy to be here to experience this amazing place.

Coastal walk in front of the house to Ville Franche

20th. July 2009
After a relaxed morning and a swim we all bundle into the car again. Our arrangements are very complex. Scott drops Jeanette and me in the centre of Nice, Ross at the station so he can catch a train back to Genoa to tend to boat issues, and to drive himself and the girls to the airport so he can return Augusta and Lily to their mother. They are not allowed to sail with us until the can swim which is quite understandable.
Jeanette and I have a marvelous time browsing in the shops. She is an excellent shopper so we have some success as well especially as the sales are on everywhere with up to 70% off many items.
All goes well until 6.30pm. when we decide we had better find somewhere to stay. We felt we couldn´t ask our hots last night for advice as it would look as if we would like to stay there again. We try to decide whether to go to a 2 or 3 star hotel (the 1 star hotels looked a bit below par), and whether to have a room each or a twin room. These thoughts proved to be only academic as we soon realize in the height of the season in Nice. After walking for sometime with no success a third hotel say they are fully booked. The receptionist here kindly makes a few calls for us and finds two hotels with only one room left. One is ridicuously expensive, so we take the other. We are very pleased to have a comfortable bed overnight. Before dinner we have a walk along the promenade, and enjoy people watching. We also have lots of fun.

Hotel garden in Nice

21st. July 2009
Scott returns at lunch time and drives us to Genoa to meet Ross at the yacht. There have been the usual frustrations organizing the boat . This time it is the insurance assessor who changes his appointment. However when the assessor finally comes tomorrow he is very thorough and taxing, but understanding (we hope). There is more damage than we first realized and we have a temporary repair done here to prevent more water coming into the stern of the boat. Also the headsail was torn in a 55kt. wind while we were away - so much for the quiet Mediterranean.
This evening we return to Bruxaboschi restaurant just out of Genoa, and again the atmosphere and cuisine are wonderful. We use a GPS so the drive is much easier than when we last did it.

22nd. July 2009 - Sailing from Genoa to Monaco
By midday we are all pleased to finally be setting off on Impulsive, on another glorious day, with enough wind to motor-sail most of the five hour trip with just the headsail up. Scott has been looking forward to swimming in the Mediterranean Sea so we stop the boat and have a refreshing swim in these incredibly crystal clear and turquoise waters, and 80 m. deep. Luckily there is very little swell.

Jeanette learning the knots!

It is a pleasant surprise to find there is no problem about space to come into this marina at Loano.as It is already reasonably developed under its massive reconstruction. It will soon be a very attractive place to have a boat tied up.
Tonight we have a barb-e-que on board which is always relaxing and easy. (Ross did all the provisioning in Genoa so we could get away today. Apparently it was quite an exercise involving the dinghy and a long walk - we are very spoiled).

23rd. July 2009
We discover this morning this very appealing small town with its cobbled narrow alley-ways still has some of its architecture and buildings from C14. Having a cup of coffee near the centre is a lovely way to soak in the atmosphere. It seems to be a place many Italians come for their holidays.
Ross plans to leave by 12.30pm. as we have another 5 hour sail ahead to San Remo. Being the height of the season there is always the uncertainty of securing a place in the marina, especially on this exposed coast where there always seems to be a swell. This makes anchoring uncomfortable and difficult. The other issue with anchoring outside in this area is the greater depths close in to shore.
Ross always tries to radio ahead but rarely do the marinas answer along the riviera . We also now have the added challenge of finding somewhere to leave the boat securely tied up for 6 days as Ross has to return to Sydney for a case. We can return to Genoa but that seems unnecessary if we can avoid it. Some places will only allow a maximum of 3 days, so we are relieved to find there is space here at Loano. I will be staying on the boat so this would be a lovely place to be. (Ross has emailed and radioed previously to all these places some time ago, but with no response).
There is more wind today so we are pleased for Scott and Jeanette to have a decent sail. We have 10 15 kt. winds mainly S.E. which is perfect for the spinnaker. Ross and Scott have it out ready to fly when the winds change to 15 to 20 kts. SE to ESE. It is wonderful to sail peacefully without the engine on along such a beautiful coastline.

We are able to tie up to the wharf outside the marina. ( as Phil suggests might be possible - they are now a few weeks ahead of us so are forwarding some handy tips). This is a difficult manoeuvre as there is a strong cross wind and not much room between the two neighbouring boats. Ross does a great job getting Impulsive in, but unfortunately the kind man from the port - side yacht doesn´t tie off the stern line we throw him firmly and with the testing wind it now takes time and strength to make her secure. Even though the bow line is in place we keep being blown down onto the port side yacht. We certainly appreciate Scott and Jeanette´s help in this situation, and Scott´s extra strength.
Jeanette speaks fluent Italian which has been a wonderful advantage. She helps solve our connection to the power here by conversing in Italian with the same man who helped us tie up. There are many gesticulations and lots of laughter!
Jeanette translating

There are two benefits of tying up here. Firstly it is free for the first three nights, which is a surprise because most of the Italian Riviera is very expensive, as is the french we gather. Secondly it is just outside the centre of town.

San Remo

We enjoy the walk into the centre and choose a restaurant outdoors in the square for dinner, where there is live music and singing. This is our last Italian meal as tomorrow we cross the boarder into France. San Remo is very lively tonight so later we walk down to see the casino passing by many of the elegant old buildings. None of us have ID to play but it is interesting to see the architecture of the building and "people watch".

24th. July 2009
Ross and I walk up along the board walk to look at the main marina in San Remo. This is the home of many super yachts. Unfortunately they will only allow us to stay here for a few days when Ross goes home.

Walking by the sea San Remo

We pass by some lovely gardens on the town side and well cared for beaches on the other. We are trying to find a large flower market we read about but it is only for wholesale buying which is all finished by 8am.
As we set off over the amazingly blue sea again we all agree we have thoroughly enjoyed this section of the Ligurian coast with its history, natural beauty, beautiful waters, cuisine, perfect weather and happy, helpful people.
Our skipper plans to leave early today hoping we may get a berth in the very small
Vieux Port at Menton. There are two berths available but the capitanaire suggests if the wind and swell come up as suggested they may not be comfortable or safe. We decide to anchor just outside with a wonderful view over Menton, at the French/ Italian border. Having just organized all this Scott quietly tells us Jeanette is feeling quite seasick. We are aware the swell makes her feel unwell but apparently the movement of the boat when anchoring does too. She dives overboard to solve the problem as once she is in the water she feels instantly better. ( with the swell yesterday we stopped the boat for her to have a swim and again she felt better). However Ross and I realize we can´t stay here overnight as there is already a slight well and she would be miserable.

Scott diving overboard

Ross ventures over to the nearby and larger Menton-Garavan marina in the dinghy to enquire about a space there. He is advised there is so we up anchor and go in as Ross understands we should and that someone will help us with directions as usual in a tender. No-one appears and space is tight for manoeuvring, so we just back into a pen that looks available. It is about 3pm by now and Ross is feeling tired, hot and bothered, especially as we haven´t had lunch yet. He decides he should pay the usual visit to the marina office first though to show the boat registration papers etc. Apparently he received the rudest tirade he has ever encountered. Up until now we have never encountered the rude french behaviour we have heard about. The guy actually threw the papers back at Ross as well as being outrageously verbal. Obviously there was a language problem and we were supposed to pull in near the fuel dock to be advised as where to go. So we have to move again and the guy at the fuel dock is very rude and arrogant too. However they both have their "power" trip and we settle down but are not impressed. We certainly won´t be enquiring if we may leave the boat here.
Menton is very attractive town and we can see why it is a most popular holiday destination. The beaches here are lovely .The old town itself is a little touristy in parts but there are still narrow streets full of charm.

25th. July 2009

Ross wants to leave in good time to give us a chance to find a berth for tonight. He comes back from paying the Menton marina office much happier. There has been a change over in staff and he finds the young woman involved particularly helpful. He amazes us by saying we can leave the boat here when he returns to Australia . This is a great relief as we would be very ambitious to hope to get a berth at Monaco, and there would probably only be a space at the marina in Nice out near the airport.(this didn´t sound very exciting for me to live on the boat by myself so far out of town and in a very industrialized area).
There is quite a swell this morning and Jeanette feels a little sea-sick, so we stop the boat and again she feels much better after a swim. She decides to try the wrist bands with the acupuncture points and is amazed how well they work. She is resisting taking medication because she doesn´t want to feel drowsy. We motor-sail with the headsail up.
As we leave we encourage Ross to radio ahead to Monaco. (He has called and emailed several times before with no reply at all). The main port is fully booked but we have good luck at the marina at Fontvieille. (A bird did a dropping on our windscreen this morning and Ross found a €10 note - our good luck for the day). We cannot believe how fortunate we are to be here, in this beautiful, small port, tied up opposite the Prince´s yacht and beneath his palace. And the most protected port possible. All this land has been reclaimed.

Leaving Menton

Sailing to Monaco

25th. July 2009 (cont.)

Our good fortune continues here. Ross meets the english man, Tony, on the boat behind us. He has lived in Monaco for many years and is very friendly with the capitainerie of the marina. He offers to call David to ask if we may keep the yacht here while Ross returns to Sydney. Ross meets with David who agrees to this.
We aren´t expecting to enjoy Monaco, but we do very much, and in fact we have a wonderful eight days here.
Provisioning at Fontvieille

The Prince´s yacht (Fontveille)

View from the bow of Impulsive

Fontvieille- view up to the Zoo and the Palace

Monaco, along the CoteDÁzur, is a very attractive and well ordered city, with lovely grand style buildings and architecture. It is one of Europe´s most luxurious resorts and is famous for its Monte Carlo gambling centre, international sports car races and beaches. The population here is 32,000 , with only 7,000 of Monegasque descent.
There are many policeman about, usually in plain clothes. Scott and Jeanette saw two young men being asked to put their tee-shirrts back on. You must not be bare chested or bare footed. It is completely safe for women to walk around anywhere at any hour of the day or night. We feel our boat is very safe here as the area is under strict surveillance for the prince´s yacht. Swimming is forbidden anywhere near it (which someone did one night and caused a stir).
We see amazingly well dressed people, incredible boats, cars and dogs. It is interesting just to sit and watch. There is one eccentric older woman in the marina who parks her soft apple green rolls royce car at the stern of her large super yacht (cruiser). The decor of the stern of the boat is over the top outrageous, with a strong asian influence. She sits there for hours playing cards with a different group of women each day and night. One evening she was sitting playing as usual and had a steady stream of guests arriving on the boat. She kept playing cards , acknowledging her guests, but later at the same time as all this was happening she had the hairdresser there doing her hair!
I have to admire her though, as I do an older woman two boats from us. They organize their boats and crew and get on with it.
There are many highlights here. Tonight we are invited to Danielle´s apartment for drinks looking over the main port and Monaco. We met in Melbourne some time ago. It is always special to go to someone´s home when traveling, and this is extra special having Scott and Jeanette with us, and Danielle has her son and daughter with her, and two other friends from Melbourne. After this the four of us have a fabulous dinner at a restaurant recommended to us by Danielle.
The following day we motor sail along the coast to the bay at Villefranche which is past Cap Ferrat and gives us a wonderful view from the sea where we all stayed in Nice. This is idyllic having lunch on the yacht and swimming. There are hundreds of boats out on the water, which is delightful to see.

View of where we stayed in Nice, from the water, Road de France

Swimming off the boat at Road de France

This evening Paul and Jocelyn( parents of Heather´s friend, who we also spent time with in Melbourne) come to Impulsive for a drink and then take us all out to dinner to an Italian restaurant at the marina. How spoiled are we! They have their grand- daughter Vicky with them which is a great help for translating. We appreciate her efforts with this as we know from Heather how taxing it can be. It is marvelous to speak with people who live here as it gives us a much deeper knowledge of the place.

Paul, Jocelyn and Scott

Our final day out sailing with Scott and Jeanette is very relaxed and pleasant. Now Jeanette wears the wrist bands she has no problems with sea sickness. We have another magical day to motorsail to Eze sur Mer, a lovely small town and beach. Being a Monday there are very few boats on the water today. Ross and I walk up the steep incline to the fortified hilltop town of Eze.

View from our walk up to Eze


A garden at Eze

Scott and Jeanette decide to make the most of the swimming in the beautiful waters and sunbaking before leaving for Copenhagen tomorrow.

The colours of the water off Eze-sur-Mer

View from the anchorage at Eze-sur Mer

A house by the sea at Eze-sur -Mer

Anchored off Eze-sur Mer, and view up to the town of Eze

Oceanique Museum as we come into Port Fontvieille

We have our last dinner together for a while on Impulsive. Salad nicoise is always a favourite on a hot night.
Scott has a business meeting here today so Jeanette, Ross and I go exploring. We catch a local bus up to the Casino area and do some window shopping. Some of the jewelry is amazing. We enjoy the cliff and harbour front walk, looking over the sparkling sea, and having glimpses of the super yachts here.

View from the gardens near the Casino

The Casino

Sadly the time comes to walk with Ross over to the helipad for him to fly to Nice and then back to Sydney for a case he has been involved with for a long time.

Seeing Ross off

I just get back to Impulsive in time to walk to the bus to see Scott and Jeanette off. They are catching the train back to Genoa to pick up their car to return to Copenhagen. They very generously offer that I may go with them, but I know they will be very busy after being away and if I have to stay somewhere by myself I couldn´t be in a safer place.
We have all had the most wonderful two and a half weeks, and I plan to get the journal up to date and catch up with our photos which will all bring back happy memories of this time.
It is no problem staying on the boat by myself. I have been well trained ! I do have to move her early the day Ross returns because the owners of the pen are returning , but the guys say they will help me with the lines.
At dawn and at dusk we hear loud high pitched chattering and squawking from the zoo built into the cliff top above us. One evening I wander up to have a look and decide it is the larger parrots and some excited monkeys causing this commotion.
Incredibly, the head office of our insurance company for the boat happens to be at this marina. All our claim is finalized except for the dinghy which is difficult because they need a signed declaration form from the officials in Italy. Ross thought he had given them enough information before he left but they are insisting I return to Italy to obtain one of these forms. On Thursday and Friday I spend many hours in their office sorting this out. They are very friendly staff and fortunately Nicholas speaks fluent italian. He understands my problem about catching a train to the nearest coast guard authority in Italy, as they suggest I do, only to find there is no-one there, as is often the case. Secondly try and imagine explaining what I need with my very simple Italian if someone is there.
Finally we sort out where Ross first reported the dinghy missing. Nicholas calls this office and the man who answers remembers dealing with Ross at the time. It is agreed if we can supply the information he needs to verify the situation by fax he will send the company the required form, signed. Of course with the time difference in Australia I can´t speak with Ross for some time, but now all the information has been faxed and we just have to wait.
This is the worst weekend for traffic on the autobans because it is the main time for changing over holiday rentals. Apparently it is chaotic on the roads and very slow. One of the girls in the office is debating the best time to leave, by car, for her vacation in Barcelona, which is usually a six hour drive. it is chilling to hear the other women saying her husband had been killed in an accident with a truck.
I hear from several people that business is down in Monaco , and was last year too because of the economical downturn and also the new tax laws being brought in.
Danielle is keen to see the yacht so she comes for dinner on Friday night. It is a beautiful evening to dine out in the cockpit. It has been very reassuring to have her mobile no. while Ross has been away. Also one of the young crew members just two boats away gives me his mobile number and offers I may call with any electrical etc. problems, as did Tony. Fortunately it´s not necessary but I am very grateful. Electrics are not my forte.
It is Saturday and Ross arrives back this afternoon. It is wonderful to have him "home". He just needs some long, deep sleeps.
We wander up around the palace , the cathedral and the cliff top gardens with their wonderful views out over the sea, and on to the Oceanique museum. This museum has a very well set up aquarium and another large section devoted to the changing environment problems of the Artic and Antartic areas. It claims that they are experiencing the most radical climate changes there have ever been and that animals like the polar bears might not be able to adapt quickly enough to survive. This museum is of great interest to the prince who is very involved with it.
Ross is suddenly overcome with jet lag which isn´t surprising so we head back to the boat. We have a slight drama on the way because his cards won´t work to with draw money and nor will mine, and we have very little cash. We try again and Ross is refused again but the machine actually took my card.
We figure out maybe Ross´ has been stopped because he has used it in several different countries in a short space of time. After calling the bank we know this is what happened and they are able to unblock it. We recovered mine the following morning.
Tonight Ross agrees to go to a concert Danielle has invited us to . It is the first night of the Menton music festival, which she is involved with organizing. We have dinner first in the town square at Coquille dÓr.

The old church where the concert is held

View over Menton from the church

The setting for the concert is magnificent in the courtyard of the old church set high up the hill, on yet another magic night. We hear the American opera star June Anderson sing, and she is accompanied by the "Orchestra Cannes-Provence Alpes Cote d´Ázur". This is a wonderful performance.

The drive along the coast, to and from the concert, is picturesque. Having seen it from the sea it is lovely to now see it from the land. there are some stunning houses here.
We are looking forward to seeing Danielle next time she visits Melbourne.

Favourite recipe this leg:
Pasta dish with spinach, rocket and lettuce leaves

Cook required amount of soba noodles
While still warm toss them in dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, squeeze of lemon juice and 1.5 teaspn. grain mustard)
When cooled toss with washed salad mix of lettuce, rocket and spinach

When ready to serve add: cherry tomatoes - halved
cucumber - sliced finely
blanched snow peas
smoked salmon - cut into thin strips
freshly cooked and cooled asparagus cut in half
thin slices of avacado

Garnish on top with coriander

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