20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy

20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy

A city a day keeps the wanderlust at bay...
20 DAYS. 20 CITIES. 6 COUNTRIES.
AUSTRIA • SLOVENIA • BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA • CROATIA • MONTENEGRO  ITALY

THE FINALE, DAY 20: RIVIERA REALNESS IN PORTOFINO, ITALY

Reminiscing the end of a mini era with a post about the Italian Riviera...

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I pen this post, the final entry of my travel diary series 20 Days in 20 Cities and 6 Countries. Not just because writing these chapters has been the most fun I've had with Posh, Broke, & Bored this year; but also because this post marks the end of a era - travel-wise and also on a more personal level. At the ripe age of 31 I can hardly describe myself as being marked by "the loss of innocence" but even so, at every and any stage of life certain events bring with them upheavals of hitherto heaviness. Without going in to too much detail, you may have read between the lines from my presence on social media that I'm currently fighting some battles, hence the recent short blip from my blog. And I would've taken a longer break from writing, if not for my #TRAVELLINKUP sisters and brothers' posts about journeys reminding me that all is transient and that the only way is forward. So thank you for inspiring me to write this final chapter, to move forward, and to take one last look at my epic summer road trip across Austria, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Italy.





Picking up where I left off in Cinque Terre, the drive from Riomaggiore to Portofino for an afternoon (before moving on to Pisa where I would depart for home the next morning) was as stormy as my mood was tempestuous. Heavy rain lashed down, making the usually-2 hour drive around narrow, winding mountain paths even more treacherous. But the drive, now twice as long thanks to poor visibility and slippery roads, was made less tedious and more atmospheric with a playlist of Guns 'n' Roses greatest hits and with sweeping views of the Italian Riviera, albeit sprinkled with rain.



THE CHARACTERISTIC COLOURFUL HOUSES OF THE PIAZZETTA...
...AND THE RED CARPET LEADING TO...
...THE CHURCH OF SAN MARTINO.
CACTUS, YOU NEFARIOUS CREATURE, WE MEET AGAIN...
STIRRING UP A STORM: THE RAIN FOLLOWED ME TO PORTOFINO...
...AND SO DID THE MOST APPROPRIATE FRAGRANCE I PACKED FOR THIS OCCASION. 

THE LUX AND THE LANGUID: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF PORTOFINO

I felt right at home in Portofino: a neat, petite, and ready-to-eat village with my kind of flavour combination - shiny and luxurious in some parts, yet rustic and rural in others. I've always been drawn to an aesthetic best described as "crumbly European chic meets New Traditional" ie. genteel decreptitude and faded grandeur brought into the 21st century with a few new glossy accents. Portofino captures that contradiction beautifully; with upscale fashion houses and yachts making up a playground for the international jet-set in this tiny coastal village on the Italian Riviera. Off the bat, it's obvious that Portofino was destined for a reputation of exclusivity based on its geography alone - the crescent-shaped village sits on its own peninsula, bound by the Natural Regional Park and Marine Reserve.

Portofino has two faces. The iconic Piazzetta, the meeting-up point for the international jet-set, is the symbol of the village's glamorous side; while the port with its famous pastel-coloured houses is the icon of Portofino's maritime heritage - whose inhabitants were so skilled at sea navigation that the ancient Greeks and Romans called them delfini (dolphins). The two sides of the coin form a sea resort with encapsulate both the distinctive 'Mediterranean luxury' and 'Riviera romance' personalities that have inspired so many artists, writers, and composers.


20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy

I didn't have a great deal of time to enjoy Portofino as much as I would have liked, and my brief spell in this captivating coastal village was further dampened by unseasonable showers (itself a running theme in this trip - my face, above, says it all). I'd love to return in Summer for the 'season' - that's when it all kicks off, from regattas to religious celebrations. Till we meet again, Portofino...

20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy
BAG DOLCE & GABBANA


That said, for all its ups and downs it was a thrilling 3 week ride. The sights, the sounds, the flavours - it all made for an unforgettable journey, one that I feel incredibly privileged to have not only experienced but also relived and to have shared with you.



20 DAYS, 20 CITIES, 6 COUNTRIES:
MY SUMMER ROAD TRIP ACROSS THE BALKANS



Thank you for coming along for the ride, and I bid you goodbye...for now. 
November 07, 2017

20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy

A city a day keeps the wanderlust at bay... 20 DAYS. 20 CITIES. 6 COUNTRIES. AUSTRIA  •  SLOVENIA  •  BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA...