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Saturday, August 20, 2011


After taking a long buffet breakfast in the hotel, we went into Chamonix Town for a quick shopping, then packed all our belongings and left this beautiful place at around 11.30 am.

Everything went on smoothly except that, we have neglected the traffic situation near the Mont Blanc Tunnel. In weekends, this time is normally the peak hour and traffic will be so congested that the users will need to wait for 60-90 min to get to the tunnel's entrance. So, there we were, sitting in the car and waited for 60 min before it's our turn to get into the bottle neck.

This time, husband had decided to use the express way to go to our next destination. The estimated driving time is around 3.5 hr. I told the boys to sit back and relax. After 1 hour driving or so, both of them had fallen asleep. That's really a good thing to the 4 of us, cause we would feel less stressful along the way.

I guess one of the reasons the boys could fall asleep fast is because this isn't an usual drive way. There are too many tunnels along the road, probably more than 200 tunnels or above. Basically, soon after we get out from one tunnel, we get into another tunnel again within a few minutes time, and this cycle repeat for a bloody long time.

So, I guess this repetition had created hypnosis effect to the boys. Personally, I felt hypnotized and couldn't help but to fall into sleep myself too. Only the driver was immuned.

Although we didn't make any stops along the way, the driving time was longer than our expectation. End up, it took us more than 5 hours to reach our destination.

After crossing many mountains by tunnels, finally we arrived at an Italian coastal town, Rapallo at around 5.30 pm. We checked in to the hotel, and off loaded all the baggages, then husband drove us straight to the harbour front.

Rapallo is the largest Italian Riviera seaside resort town, located in northern Italy.

Husband has chosen to stay in Rapallo because it makes a good base for visiting the rest of the Italian Riviera as it's well connected by public transportation and has a fair number of moderately priced hotels.

Before departure, we have browsed the internet to get to know the place in advance. Rapallo seems to be a place with a pictureque castle in the sea, a small harbour and seaside promenade, pedestrian shopping streets in the historical center, and good seafood restaurants.

And Rapallo has turned out to be the exact same place as we expect it to be.

The bridge that connect one side to the other.

The small harbour as view from the bridge.

Although small, the harbour was packed with all sorts of boats & yachts.

Walking towards the promenade...

That area is obviously a private owned....

This side of the beach is obviously opened to the public. People slept on the stone-beach like no body else's business.

I just couldn't help but to compare her with the mermaid statue in Denmark.

Rapallo has been known for its climate that made it over the years the winter residence for most of the affluent Italians living in the North West of Italy. Its proximity to the coast makes mild winters where people can enjoy easy strolls on the sunny promenade and the golfers can enjoy one of the oldest courses in Italy, opened in 1930.

Finally, we got to see Rapallo Castle, the landmark for this place.

We wanted to walk near to that end to see the castle. The boys who have been caged in the car for too long couldn't wait but to run to that direction.

Well, as usual, I was not in a hurry...

I noticed the sea water is especially blue if compared to many oceans.

The Chinese restaurant across the street had captured our attention. Strange thing is, the Chinese foods in Italy is quite cheap if compared to local foods. Husband said we should come back later for dinner. Sounds good.

As usual, this street is very Italian feel.

On the way to the castle, we bumped into a seemingly super model's competition.

Later, we get to know this was a rehearsal of the Miss Italia beauty pageant. Although we have no idea what's the MC was talking about, its theme song is very catchy though.

The Latin candidates to go for Ms Italia, not bad.

After 15 minutes or so, we walked near to this small picturesque castle in the sea.

This castle off the coast of Rapallo, is one of the national treasures and a symbol of the city in which it resides. This ancient fortification was built in 1551 to guard the city from frequent attack by Turkish pirates.

The Castello sul Mare (Castle-on-the-Sea), includes a small chapel dedicated to St. Cajetan, built in 1688.

Looking at the boys, I can imagine how the ancient Rapallo people defended themselves against the attack of the pirates.

I bet the kids would love to take part in the fights, if their parents have no objection.

Nice shot...

this too...

Well, I'm sure the Turkish pirates had all gone for a long time. Now, the castle is 'attacked' by all sort of visitors.

Ok, who cares anyway. Italian people just want to enjoy every piece of their beaches to the fullest.

Feeling hungry, we walked away from the beach and went to the city center.

Yes, very Italian feel.

This fountain is very extra ordinary. See, most of the water fountains in European were built after some great men or legendary warriors, but octopus? Never before. Very humorous.

We have visited and seen too many towns in Europe these years, that Rapallo doesn't seem any special to us.

Anyway, I still love to stroll on their streets, regardless of how many times I have seen this.

I was checking the boys if they knew what the local foods are in Italy? In order to enhance their memory in Italy, we decided to settle in this local Italy Restaurant instead of the Chinese restaurant which we have met just now.

The time was still a bit early for dinner. So, we could sit wherever we like.

We choose a table put on the open street, so that we could see all walks of life.

Hawkers on the street, watching their business while taking their dinner.

Gosh, William's lips condition has became worst from worse. Blisters & cracks started to show up, that none of the ointment we had brought could help to alleviate his symptoms.

Both of us, looks tired after a long driving day.

As usual, waiting time is long. Luckily, the waiter had brought us the breads and sticks to fill up our groaning tummy first.

We ordered Coke instead of red wine, which is the best drink to the boys.

20 minutes later, our foods were served on the table one after the other...

I always like tomato sauce more than chesse sause. And Italian's tomato sauce had never failed me.

This dish is very safe, always good.

Still waiting for the Pizza to come....

Finally, the pizza.

Frankly speaking, we all prefer Pizza Hut's pizza more than the original Italian pizza. Husband and I had criticized how Italian people should have improved their pizza recipe as time pass. Italian's pizza had made me feel that not all the original food is good & precious, ok.

The boys are great fans of pizza, but after taking one slice, they gave up.

The time was nearly 8 pm by the time we finished our dinner. We followed the same promenade to walk back to the car park.

Seaside promenade - Lungomare Vittoria Veneto, a traditional red-brick promenade lined with palm trees, skirts the semi-circular harbour. Along the promenade are art nouveau buildings, restaurants, bars and hotels.

The sun hasn't fully set yet at that time, and the whole city looks especially gorgeous in golden color.

We sat on the bench for a while to admire the beautiful sun set..

So romantically beautiful.

Rapallo is indeed a very charming place.

A very big cactus "tree" I've spotted somewhere along the promenade. Never seen the cactus flowers like this before.

Besides the flowers, this cactus tree also got its own fruits as well. Now I know...

2 days later, we went back to this promenade again to take boat for island hopping.

In the morning time, Rapallo looks radiant and energetic.

Many of the villas are built in the hills that rise immediately behind the city to protect them from strong northern winds.

So long, Castle on the sea...


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