An early start this morning and onto Italy, on board the 8.15am Nice to Milan as far as Genoa, and from there a short journey southwards to the Lingurian coastal town of Rapallo.  The route hugs the coastline for much of it’s length, although there are long tunnelled sections, especially around Sanremo after you’ve crossed the border into Italy. The train arrived in Genoa just after 11am.

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The 8.15am from Nice

I took the opportunity of an hour or so before my train to Rapallo to wander through Genoa. The route from Il Principe station to Brignole station took me along…. I can’t keep saying narrow streets….. lanes of restricted width.  The experience was very authentic Italian, small markets and shops with proprietors whose first language seemed to be wild gesticulation. After passing Piazza Ferrari I arrived at the imposing Brignole station.

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The train to Rapallo only took half an hour and after being immediately impressed by the harbour I arrived at my hotel opposite the Castella Di Rapallo. My hotel was Hotel Italia e Lido and I was upgraded to a double room that could scarcely have been better – my balcony directly overlooking the small castle that’s the symbol of this little town.

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View from my balcony

The temperature was nudging 30C so looking down at the clear blue sea below my room I decided to go for a swim. The hotel has a private terrace with steps down to the water, and I spent the afternoon swimming in the cooling waters and catching some rays on the rocks.

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Beer and a swim (not at the same time)

In the evening I headed into town. I’d been a bit worried it might be quiet in the evenings but not at all. Several excellent bars lined the lanes of restricted width, and I was immediately taken by the aperitivo culture in Italy. Which is that when you order a drink you get tasty nibbles and a cold platter. An Aperol Spritz and some ham and bruschetta was a winning combination.

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Also impressive was the beer menu available at the bars, several of which would not have looked out of place in the hostelries of Ghent I visited a few months ago. There seemed to be no need for dinner as every new beer I tried was accompanied by something to nibble on.

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I made my way down to the waterfront as the sun set, lest my intake of strong beer and tasty nibbles were to get the better of me. There’s something very soothing about the sound of waves lapping against the rocks in the fading light. No doubt it would be very romantic had I not been here on my own (I’m going for the sympathy vote here).

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A quick wander through the town and a glass of wine with yet more nibbles and I decided to retire for the evening to my balcony. A bottle of something white and wet and that view of the castle.  Perfezionare!

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