lunch in portofino

so, yesterday, with no plans, we decided to drive to portofino for lunch.  according to the rental car people (our best friends at avis), and howard’s careful perusal of the map, he had decided that since we were leaving at noon, we should be in portofino at 1:30, just in time for lunch.  an hour and a half on the autostrada, going 120 miles an hour, it should be a piece of cake.  with howard singing along to an italian radio station, and me hanging on for dear life, we took off.  of course, us being us, we got lost.  and, of course, us being us, getting lost turned out to be a beautiful drive along the coast from recco to rapallo to santa margherita to portofino.

we arrived at 2:30 and sat down to lunch, right at the harbor, at the splendida mare, the seaside restaurant attached to the gorgeous and VERY expensive resort, la splendida, on the top of the hill.   lunch, a club sandwich (you heard me, the first american food we’ve seen in three months), a plate of seafood pasta and two diet cokes, came to a grand total of $150.  the cost of lunch was outrageous but the view more than made up for it.  after three months in this amazing part of the world, i have totally run out of adjectives.  words are inadequate to describe the setting, the smells, the soft air and the sunlight on the blue green water.  i hope howard’s photos can give you even a hint of how beautiful it was.

around 5:30 we decided to start heading back.  we thought that on our way home to lucca we would stop, one last time, at forte dei marmi.  there is a restaurant there that howard is in love with, and the night-time scene in forte (that’s what those in the know call this town) is not to be missed.  we pulled into town at around 7:00 and, being still full from lunch, we settled ourselves at a sidewalk cafe, ordered two glasses of wine, and watched the world go by.  the world, in this case, consists of the most beautiful, half-naked young women and the very, very rich men who foot their bills.  everyone, i mean everyone, gets by on bicycles, but these are not just any old bicycles, these are the  rolls royce of bicycles, with custom seats and custom paint jobs.  one was more fabulous than the next.  i guess in forte, if all you are wearing is a bikini, your bikes become your status symbol.

at 9:00, still on the full side, we sat down to share a proscuitto and melon and a pizza.  the night-time outfits were even more fabulous than what the women sport in the day.  we had whiplash by the end of the meal.  we were back in lucca by 11:30 and fell into bed. knowing we have so few days left has made us very anxious to get as much done as possible, and yet, we have both decided that for the next two days, we will just hang out in lucca and begin the judi and howard good-bye tour.

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