Perfect Portofino

We woke up early this morning to find ourselves at anchor off the picturesque fishing village of Portofino, Italy.  We had been here once before 10 years ago, on the Marco Polo, so it was nice to be visiting again.

After breakfast, we took the liberty boat for the 10 minute ride across.  All the waters around the French and Italian Rivieras are pretty shallow, so the larger ships have to anchor.

Portofino has a little harbour tucked away in a small bay, so there were many large and small boats moored up, and the waterfront was dotted with small boutique shops selling stylish clothing and shoes.  The prices were not very much in evidence, but in a place like Portofino, if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.

Overlooking the harbour from high above is Castello Brown, an interesting looking castle which also houses a museum.  As the weather was pleasantly warm, but overcast, we decided we would take a leisurely climb up the narrow winding hillside paths up to the castle, in search of some fantastic photo points from which to capture the picturesque little port.

The path was not too steep, thanks to the zigzag design which wended its way up the hill.  We passed several private homes on the way, perched on the side of the hill overlooking the harbour, and we wondered how on earth they got their furniture up there; there certainly wasn’t any access to vehicles.  The paths were leafy and we could smell the evocative scents of herbs such as sage and basil.  Sometimes grapevines would twist and twine in trellises overhead.  It certainly was a pleasant walk, despite the fact that all the free booze we’d had yesterday (at the airport lounge, on the plane and on board) was taking its toll.  🙂

When we arrived at the top we had a superb, unimpeded view of the harbour.  We sat for a while on a rustic bench and enjoyed the view and the scented air.  We then walked a little further along to the lighthouse before taking a gentle stroll back down again.

Once at the bottom, we browsed among the little shops and cafés and bought ourselves some delicious home-made ice cream. Well, we were in Italy after all!  🙂  Then we decided to take the boat back to the Azamara Journey in time for lunch.

Once again we decided to eat at the poolside grill.  I had a delicious home-made burger with lots of fresh salad and a free glass of house wine. 🙂  Later we just spent the rest of the afternoon pottering around the ship before having a pre-dinner nap, then getting ready for dinner.  Sometimes on a cruise you can feel as if the whole holiday consists of eating! 🙂

The evening entertainment was actually very good; better than last night’s!  It featured the Cruise Director, Canadian Eric de Gray.  Despite his highlighted permed hair and orange tan, he was actually a very talented singer.  He did lots of numbers from West End musicals, and did a cracking Phantom of the Opera.

Then it was off to the Mosaic Café for a nightcap.  They had a bloke on the piano singing Elton John songs who was slightly annoying, so we only had the one drink and then off to bed.

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