Friday, July 8, 2016

Rapallo & Portofino | Italy

Our next port of call was Genoa, Italy and we scheduled an excursion to visit the city of Rapallo and Portofino. I read about Rapallo and it promised a 16th century castle and some fun sights along the water. Well, we were un-impressed by the city of Rapallo. While the shoreline was gorgeous, the castle was not what I imagined at all. We were then brought to a small coffee shop where we could enjoy free coffee and treats, but we arrived at the same time as like four other tour groups from our cruise so the lines were crazy long and the tables were full. It was very poorly planned by the tour companies. Once we were done with our coffee, we decided to venture out on our own instead of follow the tour guide. We walked through their outdoor market where we were able to buy a cute elephant backpack and a wallet for Richard and his brother. The market was the only fun thing in this small city.
^^16th Century castle. Yes it is pretty, but it not what I had in mind when I think about a castle.^^
^^Coffee shop. Richard did really enjoy that at least.^^
^^I love the elephant backpack :)^^
After we met back up with our tour group and loaded onto the bus, we drove to another cute little town called Santa Margherita. From there, we got onto a boat that would take us to the gorgeous city of Portofino.
^^Boat ride to Portofino.^^
^^Initial view of Portofino from the boat.^^
The city of Portofino was just amazing. We walked around and explored for quite sometime and I could not get over its beauty. I loved all the colorful buildings and the paved roads and everything else there was to view. 
We decided to ditch our tour group again because we were just really tired of tours at this point. We walked up to the church of St. George. The church was not all that impressive, but the views from all the way up there were just incredible. On the one side there was a huge cliff that lead to the Mediterranean sea and on the other side was the bay that Portofino was situated on.
^^The walk up to the church of St George on the left and Castello Brown on the right.^^
^^The Church of St. George^^
When we were done with checking out the views, we decided to go into town to find some food. There were a whole lot of pizza places and we figured that would be a safe choice. We did not have a whole lot of time left on our tour before we had to meet again, so we had to find a place quick to eat. We were a little nervous about missing the boat back, but it ended up working out fine. While we waited for our food to come out we took turns waiting in the extremely long lines for the bathroom. I can only imagine what this place looks like on a day when it is not overtaken by a very large cruise ship. Everywhere we looked there were people with the little stickers that meant they were on the same cruise as us.
When we were done with lunch, we went to meet up with our tour group. As we walked I decided to stop at the waters edge to take a picture. Well, I stupidly dropped my lens cover to my camera into the water and swore loudly as I did it. Whoops. Luckily, the lens cover floated on top of the water and Richard, the amazing man that he is, laid down on the ground and reached into the water to grab my lens cover before it floated away. He was definitely not happy with me and I made sure to keep my lens cover in a safe place from then on.
^^Castello Brown on the left and the Church of St George on the right.^^
The boat that was supposed to take us back to our bus was of course late and we ended up waiting for it for over thirty minutes. By the time it came we were tired of standing and tired of annoying tourists that cannot follow directions. When we got on the boat I made sure that we sat on the left side so that I could see everything along the shore as the boat made its way back to where we were originally picked up.
^^The water really was that blue!^^
^^Back in Santa Margherita.^^
When we got back to Santa Margherita, we only had about 15 minutes to walk around before the bus came to pick us up since the boat was so late. That was kinda a bummer since we paid to be able to explore this town too, but I am grateful we got more time in Portofino since we really enjoyed that city.
After our quick walk around Santa Margherita, we loaded up the bus and headed back to the cruise ship. While, our tour guide for this tour was not our favorite, we enjoyed seeing all the sights and essentially used the guide and transportation and it was totally worth it. Portofino was one of our favorite spots on the whole trip and being able to travel there by boat just made it all the more fun. 

Oh and an interesting side note. When we had wifi again Richard wanted me to look up a way to print panoramic pictures and found this website and their picture they used for advertising was a picture of Portofino. I thought it was so cool that I recognized the place they used as a stock picture. The city really was so picture perfect.

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