Main Page    All Journeys    Travel Tips

 INFO & DIARY  1   

Diary 1 2

 GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
The Italian Republic is an unitary parliamentary republic which covers 301.338 square kilometres. It is home to around 60.674.000 citizens, of which 83% are Christians, 12% have no religion and 4% are Muslims.
The currency is Euro, worth 7,46 Danish Krone. The GDP is US$1.850 trillion.
The climate varieties, but it the north were I go, the climate ranges from humid subtropical to humid continental and oceanic. The coastal areas of Liguria, Tuscany are generally Mediterranean.
Italy has the highest level of faunal biodiversity in Europe, with over 57.000 species recorded, representing more than a third of all European fauna. Among the more interesting larger mammals are the Crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata), Alpine marmot (Marmota marmota), Wildcat (Felis silvestris), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), Common genet (Genetta genetta), Golden jackal (Canis aureus), Italian wolf (Canis lupus italicus), Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Marsican brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus), Eurasian badger (Meles meles), European otter (Lutra lutra), Boar (Sus scrofa), Wild goat (Capra aegagrus), Alpine ibex (Capra ibex), Mouflon (Ovis orientalis), Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) and Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra).
Like the fauna, the flora offers a lot. Around 5.500 of plants, of which I have no special preferences.

26/4. I arrival in the early morning from Monaco, and head straight for Ventimiglia and its Giardini Botanici Hanbury; a botanical garden. Well, I have to go around 15 kilometres through France as, but then I'm at the border -which is symbolic. It is a murky day, and I get a bit of a drizzle from time to time. The road passes through forest covered mountains and a lot of settlement.

When I finally reach the botanical garden, it is closed for at least two more hours. From what I can see from outside through the fences, it might not open! I am not going to wait two hours here in the drizzle to pay 9 to see more like that.

The next stop is at Portofino, which should be a little harbour town, where the rich play: I want to join. I get to already on the way to there; the 200 kilometre toll road cost me 21, and the parking anywhere in town is 5,50 for each started hour.

Despite the murky weather, it is a nice drive through the limestone mountains. Most are overgrown with forest, but here are strangely enough houses everywhere. One tree is flowering white everywhere. I have forgotten its name, but I think it have a fault sent, and it is strong in some areas.

The autopista follow the sea pretty close - although I rarely see it. It is mountain and, and here are an pearl string of tunnels. At one point, I can see through the next three, from the one I'm in. Others are several kilometres long, and bends.

I pass the big town of Geneva, but I have not found a reason to leave the autopista. When I do, it is because the minor coastal road starts. It leads though several rather rich towns, with a lot of marina life and nice buildings. I do a few breath stops, but the last on in line should be the best, and I save my breath.

Portofino is real cosy town is found around a natural harbour, on the steep mountain sides. All the houses are nicely painted, and with lots of decorations. And it is pretty crowded with tourists; I even hear Danish and Swedish spoken.

I walk around the harbour, and passes a strange museum. Outside, a rhino in natural size is hanging, while a line of pink Suricatas in oversize is watching the harbour. I don't dear (or bother) to have a look inside. As usually, the major part of business is restaurants.

As the sun breaks through, it all get even better. Ten I realises; there is something odd with the shadows. It turns out the walls are flat, and all the decorations are painted on! They have really done a great job with the entire town, and it does not really spoil the atmosphere.

On the way back along the coast, I stop a few times to capture some of the views and buildings. One is on an isthmus, and look so great. Now I see the buildings in the other beach towns also are painted.
Not everything is limestone. Some look like beach gravel, glued together. Guess it is kind of natural mortar from the limestone.

I pass an old bridge again. It is slender, but easily span the double road. It look great from the other side, but on the sunny side, flowering Wisteria adds.
I head a bit inland through the endless forests to get to a real twisted road through Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre. Here are still a few mountain villages, but fewer than before.

I stop several times to botanise, and enjoy the magnificent sea views. Small villages sit high over the sea, but right at it. The inland is worked into terraces, and I guess vine is the major crop.
Here are only a few roads, but the one I have chosen end at a concrete block. Guess not only one, but both lanes have gone in a landslide.

My GPS want to go a huge detour, as it lack around 100 meters of road in one place. I go there anyway, and her is a nice road like the rest. Then I'm back at the most coastal road and some real great nature.
I stop in Vernazza; one of the idyllic villages along the coast. Here are a lot of tourists, but also some nice buildings and some great surroundings.

Due to the mountains, I am kind of on a peninsula, and have to head a bit back north. That mean I can spend the night in Legnaro. Instead of taking the same coastal road back, I head inland through the forest covered mountains. Quite a detour, but here are so nice with all the small, light green leaves on the trees. 

The camp is fare the most expensive so far, and nothing special. If this keep up, Italy will be expensive with roads and camps. But is have proven interesting and beautiful so far.

Photos   Map & Plan   Diary 1  2