Porto Maurizio - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

November 3, 2018

Porto Maurizio

Rachael and I passed through Albegna 25 years ago, and if I remember right even spent the night here.  Not knowing what was here though, we missed the reason to come here.  I think we stayed in a lodging outside of it’s tiny walled historical center, and didn’t even know it existed.  The entrances aren’t too easy to spot if you’re not paying attention, and I think we biked right by without knowing what was inside.

It’s a remarkable little place, with a well preserved center that still has its road structure in place from Roman times.  There is a great concentration of attractions inside the walls, in an area not more than about five blocks across.  A perfect one night stop.

And, we stopped at the perfect place within this perfect place - a palace that lets a few rooms as a B&B.  It’s run by the aging, retired owners, who live  onsite.  It’s the family home, and has been in the family for generations.  Josepha, our hostess, is very open and enthusiastic, interested and interesting.  She is fluent in several languages (of course - she’s European and well educated), but English isn’t one of her strengths.  She does fairly well though, and well enough for it to be obvious that she has some terrific stories to share.

The elegant dining hall in Palazzo Lengueglia B&B. Terrific place, charming hostess. Stay here.
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Preparing to leave our palace of the moment
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Josepha, our delightful hostess in Albenga.
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Isn’t this a beauty! And zoom in on the reverse mounted hand breaks - I’ve never seen ones like these. A pre-WWII antique that she still rides to the market, she inherited it from her mother. She said that her mother insisted that her husband buy one for her when the war started because they wouldn’t be able to get petrol for the car.
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Saint Michele Cathedral, and the three XIII century towers clustered around it. This photo is from our dining hall. Josepha showed us a photo of the piazza from her 3rd floor bedroom, which is even better - it must be about the best view possible.
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In the Piazzetta dei Leoni, the little plaza of the lions. There are three lion statues here, brought from Rome in 1606.
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In Albenga
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We’re not sure, but we think this is the current bishop, arriving for his retirement celebration after 25 years of service here. Josepha explained something about this, and that her husband is involved in the event somehow, but we didn’t understand everything she was trying to say.
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Today’s ride comes in two parts, each about twenty miles long.  The first is along the coast to Imperia, mostly riding again on SS1, the coast highway.  Like yesterday, we see many bikers out today, cruising along comfortably with the modest coast traffic.  Every few miles we come to a dramatic headland, round it, and arrive at another small resort that looks like an attractive spot to stay for the night.  The weather is mild and comfortable, the towns uncrowded, and along the waterfront people are relaxing, sitting on benches in the sun and looking at the sea.  With each passing day we’re becoming more impressed with what a fine time it is to be cycling here.

Leaving Albenga, looking north up the Centa River
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Albenga Island, off the mouth of the Centa River
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Looking west at the next headland past Albenga. On the far side of it, hidden behind the headland, is Alassio - a small resort that looks like would also be a great spot to stay over.
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Entering Cervo. In our original plan, we would have stayed here after biking down to the coast from the Piemonte.
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It looks like this all along the waterfront in Cervo, and several repair crews are at work. I imagine this must be the aftermath of the big storm a few days back now.
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We rode the SS1 most of the way to Imperia, but for the last few miles there’s an abandoned old road at the base of the headland.
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In Imperia, we use up a half hour trying to find a store that Rachael had researched last night.  It’s listed as a GoPro vendor, and she called them to confirm they have one in stock.  It’s frustrating to locate them, but obviously worth it.  The battery is barely charged so there’s nothing to show today, but watch this space.

In Imperia. We had a terrible time finding this Surf Shop, but it was worth the effort. They have the new GoPro in stock!
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The second half of the day’s ride is a loop into the interior from Porto Maurizio, where we’ll spend the night.  It’s in some way like our day ride from Genoa - brilliant, once you get inland and away from the coast a ways.  We follow a narrow loop, climbing up the east side of a ridge before crossing over and dropping back the other side.  Today, we ride mostly through olive groves, with colorful small villages dotting the hillside.  It really looks like you could strike out inland away from the coast anywhere here and find wonderful riding.

After lunch we took a twenty mile loop into the interior before returning to the coast and our hotel. For most of the way we climbed up through old olive groves, many with their netting unfurled like this to catch the crop.
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Bringing in the olive harvest. We saw several small work crews like this as we climbed away from the coast through the olive groves.
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You don’t have to get far from the coast here at all to find yourself in a different world. Here, we’re looking back at Porto Maurizio, where we’ll spend the night.
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These hills are riddled with villages only a few miles apart, each with its own church and bell tower, many with their own olive oil mill. This is Vasia, one of the larger ones on our short loop.
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I briefly fell in love with the church in Pianavia, a beautiful wreck of fading paint and crumbling stone and plaster.
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This bold lady walked straight up to me. She’s following her owner home, and maybe warning me back to protect her.
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We eat at the restaurant associated with our apartment tonight, on the Porto Maurizio waterfront.  It’s a family affair, and we like the couple that runs it and their free range dog.  The meal is a bit much though, literally - quarto servings, and we both roll out stuffed to the gills.  We could have split the appetizer and maybe even the main and walked out satisfied.

Last dinner in Italy!  After over six weeks here this time, we aren’t tired of the place yet.  But we’re not too sad about it - we hear that southern France has a lot to offer too, and are optimistic.

The family mascot at our restaurant is pooped after doing the rounds and has returned to his quarters. He looks like he’s getting on in years, which may be why he sports a doggy diaper.
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In Porto Maurizio
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In Porto Maurizio
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Ride stats today: 41 miles, 3,300’; for the tour: 2,162 miles, 12,700’

Today's ride: 41 miles (66 km)
Total: 2,162 miles (3,479 km)

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