Wednesday, August 13, 2014

yours truly, from Camogli

I was looking forward to Camogli for the obvious reasons, but also to have a chance to relax and breathe for a minute. I’d been jumping around so much, and only staying two nights at each spot was starting to catch up with me. But I had to get there first.

Per usual, I got off the train in Camogli with absolutely no idea which direction to walk in, or where anything was. The difference here though, was that I was looking for an apartment that I had rented through airbnb for the two nights, and not a recognizable hotel. I took a guess and started off, slowly with my giant suitcase that I had just lugged down two flights of stairs. I was hoping to myself that all these stairs were going to pay off in the form of a nice tight ass when I returned back to the States. The focaccia and pizza had different ideas though.

After a few minutes I realized I needed to head down more stairs to get to the main drag along the water. Forget the tight ass, I didn’t care if I never saw another set of stairs again.

I did one pass of the main strip and didn’t see the street I was looking for. I asked one person, they didn’t know. I did another pass, and asked someone else, and they pointed where I just came from. Still nothing. I stopped one more time and this person seemed to know. I rounded the corner, and finally, the tiny little alleyway of a street was there. A woman popped her head out of a window above. “Ciao!” she said. This must be Antonella, the woman who had the keys to let me in. A sight for sore eyes. I went up again another flight of stairs and finally dropped that bitch Bertha off. It only seems appropriate at this point that I give my suitcase a name. Bertha seems fitting. Any actual Berthas out there… nothing personal.

Antonella had to clean the place, which I knew before arriving, so I set out for a café. I deserved the largest beer they had. Antonella said to just yell her name from the little street when I came back in two hours, and she’d let me back in. Of course, how else would I get back in?

It was just as I’d hoped. Camogli means "houses close together." Colorful buildings dotted the coastline of the town, shining in the afternoon sun. The cute little shops and beachside restaurants looked adorable and welcoming now that Bertha was gone. 

notes of love in the marina, Camogli

The first store I spotted was called Poppy, and I knew Camogli had stolen a piece of my heart forever..

I settled in a chair at a café in the main square overlooking the marina filled with fishing boats that bobbed gently in the water. They didn’t sell giant beers so I ordered a Corona and it was refreshing. 

The two hours passed quickly and I could feel the tension melting away thanks to the Corona and the view. I packed up my laptop and went around the corner back to the apartment. I yelled, “Antonella!” and right on cue she popped her head out of the window. She didn’t speak English, and I had only gained a few more Italian words so navigating any instructions for the place was comical, but she was so nice and I kind of loved her.

The apartment was a studio, and very endearing. It reminded me of apartments I’d had in New York City, but without the mice and cockroaches. The kitchen had such a cute little charm to it that I wanted to put it in my pocket and take it home. It was in a perfect location for walking around town and it would definitely do the trick for quick two-night stay. The only thing missing was wifi, and perhaps a fan, but I'd survive. There were café’s steps from the apartment that all had wifi though. I’d just have to order a lot of Corona’s to get some writing and research for my next stops done. The owner had been so gracious, giving me a great last minute deal, and helpful in arranging it, so I was happy.

I found a wine bar overlooking the beach, and ate a large and in charge salad to make sure my stomach would stay on track, all while watching a gorgeous sunset. I was exhausted, and the next day was my one day to make the most of Camogli.

I woke to a bright sunny day and found a tiny little nook to put my beach mat and towel down by the water. It was tight. People were laying elbow to elbow. I knew this would most likely be my last chance to check off “go topless on a beach” from THE LIST. With the encouraging words from my best friend playing over in my mind from our earlier phone conversation, I ventured to the beach. "I once showered naked in a Japanese hostel and I felt so free..." her words echoed in my head.

I took a gander around, and saw not even ONE woman with her top off. What the hell? Maybe in a bit people would start taking them off? I wasn’t about to be the only one letting my “melones” hang out in this crowd. I had come prepared too, all lubed up with sunscreen so as to not set my nipples ablaze in the hot sun. The girls hadn’t seen daylight like this, in well, almost never so they were white as can be.

I swam in the sea, and took in the view. It really was a scenic beach town. Like a postcard.

Every so often I looked around probably creepily to see if anyone had lost their bikini tops. No such luck. I was going to have to skip this one, or find a good substitute later in my trip…

Maria had been to Camogli many times and e-mailed me some “must trys.” That’s right, I ate three pieces of focaccia over the course of 24 hours. And it was all delicious. I tried the four cheese and the spinach at Focacceria Revello. I tried the traditional plain from Focacceria in Scio Canto. I can’t choose, they were all fantastic. 

Then for dinner I had gelato from Maria’s favorite place. I know, I have a problem.  

I was ready to park myself at the café again to do some more trip planning. Only problem was, I was running low on cash. I asked the same waitress who had been working there every time I’d gone and asked if they took credit card. She said, “yes, but not for 4 Euro.” And walked away. Well with that attitude I’ll go spend my 4 Euro elsewhere! I went to a different bar two places down and although it was a bit more expensive, my drink came with many little snacks! Score!

I took a lazy stroll down the main street by the beach, and was surprised and delighted to see all the buildings lit up! This is cliché, and I hate using cliché’s, but sometimes they really do hit the nail on the head…but it really was magical to see. I only wished I had someone to share it with. Camogli would not be the place to find a guy to check off some of the more risqué items on my list. It was simply a place where families and couples go on vacation, so choices would be slim to none.

I spent most of that night preparing to check off another item on THE LIST. This would be my last chance to send out my message in a bottle, as I’d be leaving the coast after Camogli. Only problem was I didn't have any paper. I asked three different cafe/bars, tried a bookstore, and finally a tiny little shop just gave me one piece of paper. I better not mess this up! 

I planned to toss it out to sea the next morning, enclosed in the bottle that Maria had given me before I left Lucca.

I set out to where I figured the best spot with the most likely chance my message would have to get out to sea, and hopefully not boomerang, and end up on the beach in Camogli. I decided on standing as far out on the giant rocks as I could. First I’d have to climb out to them. With as much grace as a baby hippo, I managed to get myself to a rock just at the edge. 

I stretched out my throwing arm, as if it would help, and I made a wish, (do people wish on these things?) because it seemed like the right thing to do. Then I tossed the bottle as hard as I could, and it went a measly distance. Well, I did the best I could, now I just had to hope it wouldn’t crash into the rocks minutes later. Oh well, I had done it, it was out there, and it felt liberating.

I’ve included the letter, since it only seems fair if you’ve come on this journey thus far with me. If you’re confused by the whole “Lawrence Breederton” thing, don’t worry, I am too. The letter explains it the best it’s going to get explained. So here goes:

This is in fact an old school message in a bottle. It hails from Camogli, Italy where I tried my best to launch it out to sea. If you are finding this, and you are in Camogli, please send it back out. Maybe from somewhere else that looks like it might find a different destination? I trust you. Thanks.

My reason for sending out this message in a bottle is silly, but I’ve taken it seriously, as you can see. This is one thing on a list of many that I’ve had to complete before returning to New York from a summer trip to Italy to teach, and travel, by myself. This list is meant to be funny, serious, push me to do things out of my comfort zone, and fuels the blog that I am writing as I go along on this adventure., which if you’re really interested, is This now makes this a new-age modern message in a bottle. If you’ve made it this far, you might as well keep reading. After a year of heartache, big changes, and a lot of questions, this message goes out to whomever my future “Lawrence Breederton” is.  I’m skeptical that he exists out there, but long story short, Lawrence Breederton is my future someone, my “other half”, according to my younger sister and brother in law. So here goes…

Dear Lawrence,

Whoever you are..I need you to be patient. It will take me a long, long time to trust anyone again and you’ll have to be willing to work for it. I used to believe in true love, marriage, and trust, but now I question if these really exist, can happen at all, and last.
I hope you love dogs, and share at least a slight distaste for cats. They’re sneaky. I hope you like kids, and they like you too. You have to make me laugh. This is really important. You need to like to travel, and to eat loads of snacks on road trips, like pringles and gummy worms. You’ll have to like sweets too, because I love to bake. You should also be healthy and try to take care of yourself.  My family has to like you. It helps if you can make a good omelette but it’s not a deal breaker. You have to be willing to be silly sometimes, and not care so much what other people think. You can’t take longer to get ready than I do. I hope you like some sort of sports. I hope you're a gentleman but don’t mind challenging me in a burp contest. You have to be willing to fight for me. Although I can take care of myself, you should want to protect me and want me to feel safe, always. You have to give good hugs. You should probably think I’m funny sometimes. I hope you like the unexpected sometimes. I hope you can tell me good stories, and don’t’ mind if occasionally mine are too long, like this letter. Most of all, you have to be honest.

It’s only fair now that I tell you a bit about me.

I like good surprises, but it’s hard to surprise me.
I can do cartwheels.
I still use slip and slides.
I broke my elbow at my high school graduation.
I’m kind of a klutz at times (obviously see above).
I can’t wink without looking creepy.
I made my own beanie babies when I was 11 with my best friend in my basement, sweatshop style.
I don’t like scary surprises like when someone jumps out wearing a mask.
I don’t like being chased.
If you watch a scary movie with me, you’ll likely have to come with me everywhere for weeks afterwards.
If I’m comfortable with you, I’ll sing in the car to the radio.
I’m deathly afraid of tornadoes.
I am a sensitive soul.
I’m totally random. A lot.
I’m starting fresh.
I love puppies and want to get one like yesterday.
I love trampolines.
I love taking photos.
Sometimes I prefer to eat just dessert for dinner.
I love horses but I call them all ponies, even the big ones that aren’t actually ponies.
I have never smoked a cigarette, or anything else ever in my life.
I like to drink.
I can be pretty straight up.
I like to be around people that make me laugh.
I’m thoughtful.
I like to give and get cards still for occasions.
I’m trying to do more things that scare me.
I don’t like being alone, but am working on that too.
I’ve always wanted an over the top romantic gesture to happen to me.
I hate going on ferris wheels.
I love to read, and can sometimes be consumed by a book.
I love to cuddle. I know it’s cliché, but I do.
I hate wearing pants at home.
I have a dream to spend an entire day doing nothing but watching movie after movie (with no pants on) and eating chinese food in bed.
I’m small, but freakishly strong.
People always approach me on the street and ask me directions and I don’t know why.
I’m really bad at common sayings/idioms, I always mix them up. But I try to use them anyways.
I like lists.

This is just the beginning..
If you do not think you are my Lawrence Breederton, please put this message back in the bottle, seal it up, and send it back out to land somewhere else.

but if you think you might be my Lawrence Breederton, and you are MALE, take a chance, email me and tell me your story..

and hell, even if you’re not Lawrence Breederton, and you want to tell me you found my message and where, let me know!

Lo B

Message in a bottle? CHECK!

Now after all this bottle throwing action I was hungry for breakfast. I had one last thing to try from Maria’s suggestions and it seemed as good of a time as any. I went back to the first focaccia shop I had tried, where they housed something called Camoglieses. It was a ball shaped confection and I had no idea what to expect, but it was about to be my breakfast. I ordered two, one that I think was Amaretto flavored, and one that was called Gianduja, which I think was chocolate. I perched myself by the beach and took a bite. It was so good. They were a chocolate and something else coated flaky pastry with crème filling. Amaze balls, literally.

It was time to head out yet again to my next destination. 

As much as I loved the coast,and Camogli, I was ready to be done with being on crowded beaches with people walking by me and kicking rocks into my head whilst listening to children screaming in Italian. I was about to head a bit north…

Lake Como here I come.

**If you're interested in going to Camogli and would like to use Airbnb to rent a place, I suggest checking out the apartment I stayed in:

1 comment:

  1. Correction… this girl was still working in a sweat shop making beanie babies till 4AM… at 18!