Sunday, June 3, 2012


Summer has yet to come to this part of the Italian Riviera but this morning the sun was trying to shine. After a quick capuccino and a flying surprise visit to a friend, we drove back down the mountain to San Remo. In the sixties San Remo was one of the places where the beautiful people gathered. Of course there was the lure of the very ritzy casino. Today it doesn't have quite the glitz of times past. We wandered around the very busy pedestrian streets looking at the shops, many the same as in other big cities. Then it was off to the market.

If we thought the shopping area was busy, the market was worse. We could hardly move. This was made worse by the number of illegal hawkers selling watches and goodness knows what. There are lots of stalls with beautiful cashmere and leather purses of every colour. Unfortunately, there are a lot of tacky goods here now, certainly more than I remember.

Finally, we went inside the food market with huge pieces of parmesan reggiano on display. I will certainly be buying some of this. Wrapped in tinfoil it lasts for a very long time. There were zucchinis half a metre long, porcini mushrooms for €30 a kilo, brilliant red tomatoes and lovely fresh fruit. We bought some sun-dried tomatoes and some fruit and olive oil from one of the ladies from Ceriana. We even managed to congratulate her son in Italian on his upcoming wedding this week.

It was back up to Ceriana for lunch at the home of one of our friends. The table was set up outside with two huge bottles of red wine made with grapes from their vineyard, and bread. A huge plate of pasta with home made pesto and a two kinds of sardinara were served. Sardinara is a kind of pizza, special to the province of Liguria. One was topped with anchovies and the other more traditional with tomato and olives.

All this with pastries from San Remo for dessert. The setting was lovely with beautiful roses surrounding us. Now the only wrinkle was the weather. Instead of bright Italian sunshine this area has been cloudy and foggy. Our lovely outside lunch had to move indoors just as we finished because it had started to drizzle. It was a lot of fun with seven Canadians and the Italians at the table all laughing and telling stories. Someone translated when it becomes too complicated in either language.

In the late afternoon we said our good byes knowing that on Monday night we were all reuniting with even more people for pizza.

In the early evening we went to look at the new pasticcheria (pastry shop) opening tomorrow. It didn't look too different from the old one but big things are expected. In a town of a thousand people this is the highlight of the day. Ceriana used to have over seven thousand people living here working the land but the younger people moved out leaving Ceriana with less and less people and many abandoned houses. Even so I thought the main street was a bit more vibrant than at other times we have visited.

We decided to go back to San Remo tonight as there just isn't much to do in Ceriana in the rain. First we visited Morgana, an upscale restaurant and nightclub, where one of our friends used to work. In fact he was there with another of our Canadian group. Then we walked along the promenade overlooking the marina with many gigantic yachts. Who said the economy was bad? Finally we met up with another friend who had spent a couple of summers in Canada. She is a beautiful, sophisticated young lady now attending the University of Milan. Then her mother joined us and then her father. We adjourned to a restaurant not far from the port for drinks and nibblies. You can only eat so much in one day. Once again there were many stories and much laughter with some translating going on. Dino, an older friend from Ceriana, has many stories about life in Ceriana that we all know quite well, whether in English or Italian. These caused even more laughter as we all laughed with a one word cue because we knew the stories so well. After fond farewells it was back up the windy road to the desolate main street of Ceriana. Tomorrow we are looking forward to a relgious procession in the main street and some sunshine we hope.

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