It's October and summer is now officially over. It has been rainy and cold for the past three days and yesterday I went on a rainy hike through the pineta (pine tree forest along the sea) and was reflecting on what an amazing summer it has been.
June we went to Portofino, the pearl of the Mediterranean, for a weekend. It is the most famous harbor in Italy known for it's elegance, yachts and for being a popular celebrity vacation spot. (Elizabeth Taylor to just name one!)
One of my favorite things when we travel around Europe is the hotel breakfast in the morning, they are much nicer than any American hotel breakfast I have ever had. Tables dressed with white linens and a buffet of platters full of a selection of pastries, fruits, cheeses and cold cuts. Our hotel had a restaurant with a view looking over the seashore and I remember feeling so happy to be sipping my cappuccino in the morning while watching the sun rise over the water.
We had a nice time together here exploring all the boutiques, art galleries, cafes and restaurants that line the tiny streets. We walked a lot along the riviera coast through the forested hills and had stunning views the entire time. It felt like we were the only ones in town because there were not many people as I had expected there to be knowing how famous Portofino is. Every corner you would turn was another picturesque view.
About thirty minutes from where I live is an island called Elba and it is a common vacation spot here in Tuscany. On a clear day you can see it from the beaches here in my town. We decided to spend a weekend there with our friends so we rode to the port to take the ferry for a weekend of island fun.
The great thing about being on an island is that there are so many beaches to choose from. We would start out at one beach and then after lunch decide to visit another. Pictured above is Spiaggia Di Zuccale. (spiaggia means 'beach' in Italian)
On our last day we decided to rent a boat and it was an absolute blast. It was a small enough boat that no special boat license was required and it was just the four of us all day. Something about being in the middle of the sea just puts you at ease. I definitely recommend it when coming to Elba Island.
Riding on the back of E's vespa and this was my view 90% of the time - hearts in my eyes! I finally convinced him to stop so I could take a snapshot.
A good place to grab a lunch or an appertivio is Tonnina, a darling little spot located in Porto Azzurro where they serve very good drinks in cute little mason jars. Here is their facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/tonninabistrotmediterraneo
After a few Mosow Mules at Tonnina, we hiked up a cliff and walked down along the side of it while the pink sky fell into the sea until we reached Le Viste, a seafood restaurant we had gotten a recommendation about. Talk about a killer view! I had a delicious lobster stuffed ravioli and we passed white wine around the table and enjoyed each other's company for our last night on the island.
End of July we had planned a trip with another couple friend of ours to go to Formentera, an island in Spain. It was my first time hearing of this island and I didn't know much about it at all. I'm sure most people have heard of Ibiza, but Formentera is much smaller and less populated but very close by. In fact, we actually flew into Ibiza and then took a ferry to get to Formentera.
We found an apartment in a villa to rent for four days and it was in the best location and a very relaxing atmosphere which is what we like best when going on vacation. Although the villa has many apartments for rent, it never became too noisy. The terrace is laid out with palm trees and foliage from the area, equipped with a pool and hot tub. There was a breakfast buffet every morning with fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries and even jams and marmalade made in house. Here is a link to their website; http://www.espasformentera.com/en
Es Caló is the first beach we went to because it was the closest to the villa. I had to pinch myself the moment I saw it! The beach was hardly full of people at all and the water was so clear I could see all the way down to the sand. This island is known across Europe for it's pristine white beaches.
On the last day our friends wanted to spend the day over in Ibiza so they took the ferry out earlier but we decided to stay on Formentera and spend the day together at the beach. The beaches here are breathtakingly beautiful but there is one thing I couldn't quite get used to and that was all the topless sunbathers! Formentera has been a popular destination for hippies since the 1960's and most of the beaches on the island nudity is allowed.