As soon as I stepped out of the station I saw a car braking its speed all of a sudden for an elderly lady to cross the road. The result was some abuses from both ends, vigorous gesticulations and a traffic jam for a good 15 minutes. Ah how I loved it! I was back in Italy after a good two years and I had almost forgotten how different the feeling is, stepping into one culture from another. Entering Italy from France is quite convenient and easy, especially when vacationing along the French riviera. One gets to experience a different culture on a day’s jaunt from another. How could I let the opportunity pass?
A short train ride from Nice landed me in the first point on the Italian riviera – the town of Ventimiglia. A short bus ride from there can take one to the medieval village of Dolceaqua. The only indicator of a bus stop was a lot of old ladies with carts standing next to a pole. I guessed that was the stop. Soon, a bus came by and I was on my way.
The village is a cute medieval one with a bridge that connects the old part of the town (1600’s) with the newer part (1800s). I went to the older part first and found the whole idea of delightfully stepping into another culture just on a day trip from one to be quite fantastic. There is nothing to do in any medieval village that would tick off some “must sees”. Experiencing slow life and soaking in the atmosphere, discovering cubbyholes of artists, crannies into which cuddly kittens wander into and sipping a cuppa are pretty much what one would be doing, sauntering around the cobblestoned pathways. I liked the whole setting of the village. Very quaint and not in your face advertising.
I spent a couple of hours wandering around, had a quick lunch at a small family run café in the newer part of the town and was ready to go back to Ventimiglia. The return was a horror. In what was over an hour and a half of waiting time (by which atleast 5 buses should have passed as per schedule), I finally got to see my bus back to Ventimiglia. Oh well, part of travel in different areas I suppose.
This gritty part of Italy is actually quite overlooked. I liked the feel of the place. There’s no sense of artificiality here that can be felt in some of the towns on the Riviera. It was a Friday so the weekly market was up. I wasn’t too interested in it so I just walked past the things on display and went across the bridge, walked up to the shore and made my way back to the station. On my way back to the station I randomly stepped into a café. I ordered a cappuccino and yes, a Tiramisu. What a piece of luck! The tiramisu I tasted was THE BEST Tiramisu ever…. the best things in life are simply perchance and off-beat 🙂