We’ve been looking back at some in-between lockdown memories, reminiscing on our mini-adventures from 2020 and feeling nostalgic for better weather and (slightly more) freedom.
It was the end of October, summer days were fading into our memories, and further lockdown restrictions seemed imminent. My boyfriend and I knew that this might well be our last weekend of freedom before a long, dark winter of staying cosy indoors under blankets. We’ve been living by the coast in Liguria for the most part of the year due to the pandemic and other than several weeks spent in quarantine during September and October, have spent our weekends becoming familiar with the local surroundings.
This was it though, our last chance to leave our immediate surroundings and venture a couple of towns away to enjoy the last thrills of freedom before we were confined to our small local area. We decided to truly make the most of it, why just bike when we could also hike? Why only hike when this might be our last opportunity to swim?
We prepared our packs with plenty of food, water and swimming things and set off early on our bikes along the coast to San Rocco di Camogli, a small village perched on a cliff overlooking Camogli and the Mediterranean Sea. The coast road is as winding as it is hilly, making for an arduous ascent. My biking experience is limited to childhood adventures and city commutes and so I couldn’t help but feel equally exasperated and determined as the masses of lithe, tanned, lycra-clad bodies swiftly passed me by on the long, never ending uphill from Recco to San Rocco. Relief came only at the turn to San Rocco when the uphill petered out and peddling was no longer obligatory, taking me back to those childhood adventures, whizzing along and enjoying the freedom of letting go.
upon arrival and after an essential focaccia pit-stop, we chained up our bikes, wiped our sweaty brows and set off on our hike to San Fruttuoso. Here there are two hiking options, and since this was our last blow out, why not do both?! We set out on the more exposed, longer and more difficult route which made the most of the morning sun and took in the best views, working up a sweat for our last dip of the year. A few hours later we descended into San Fruttuoso, catching a glimpse of the turquoise waters sparkling in the sun, longing to jump into the clear waters to wash away our hike.
The sea was cold, but not biting; after a few strokes it was enough to keep warm. We swam around the bay, diving down and immersing ourselves in the cool water, knowing that we wouldn’t be back here for a while. The beach was still relatively empty and those that were there were enjoying the fresh water, clear and clean from a lack of traffic. We soaked up the sun and appreciated the moment of rest, recovering from our early morning activities. Once warmed up and dry we changed into our hiking clothes and set off on the circular route back to San Rocco, where our bikes were waiting for us. With the thrill of the swim behind us, we set off from our little paradise, hiking up into the woods where the leaves were on the floor and there was a chill in the air, unbelievably close to where we had just felt like summer. We came across people wearing jumpers and down jackets, whereas we were still in our t-shirts with our salty, wet hair. After piling on some layers, we headed back along the path through the woods, enjoying the change of scenery.
Out of the woods, we meandered down through the outskirts of San Rocco, past houses perched over the sea and olive nets hanging out, ready to catch the year’s bounty. Our bikes were still intact, enjoying their view over the ‘Golfo Paradiso’, and after another couple of hours of hiking, my legs were looking forward to the long downhill. I layered up with my windproof jacket and let my bike lead me down the hill to Recco, then after just a little bit more uphill, which involved some serious determination on my part, we were on the home straight. We finally climbed off our bikes, my legs wobbling, and pushed them up the last hill of the day, reaching home with heavy legs and happy memories to take us through the winter months.
Love, Emily x
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