Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recco Part One: The Storm Before The Calm

It’s a beautiful day today in Lodi and the warming sun gives me hope that soon summer will be here! The change in temperature as well as the impending start of this year’s Formula 1 season reminded me that it is already time to make plans for this summer and to purchase my Canadian Grand Prix tickets. Among the destinations that I want to see are Rome and Pisa, but there are also several Italian towns that are already familiar to me that I would like to return to even if it is only just for the day. At the top of my list is the Liguria town of Recco, which is located on Italy’s north-west coast, only a short distance away from Genova. This past summer I had the pleasure of spending several days in the little-known beach destination and discovered that it was the perfect place to relax and soak up the Italian sun.

It was mid-July and I had only a few days off of work and very little money to my name. Still, I craved to be by the water and began to research Italian beach destinations that were located within several hours of Lodi. When I stumbled upon Recco I knew instantly that it was the ideal weekend getaway for the North-Italian tourist on a budget. At only 2 hours away from Lodi, it was close and the cost of a train ticket was less that twenty Euros, an absolute bargain when you can imagine that tickets to Venice can cost over forty Euros!

Therefore on a Tuesday morning I set out for Recco in fine spirits with a bag containing several bikinis, a pair of jeans and loads of sunscreen. The trains in Liguria, as I soon discovered, were not at all like the trains in Milan. They operated on their own time schedule and when I had to change at Genova, my connecting train never turned up. Luckily for me a friendly local woman directed me to the appropriate platform and explained trains departed for Recco all of the time. It was quite chaotic, but it worked and in just over two hours I arrived at the Recco train station ready for my beach holiday to begin.

Unfortunately on that particular day clouds had engulfed the small town, which is known for its cheesy focaccia bread, and by the time that I arrived at my hotel I was soaked to the bone and a little bit fed up. After drying myself off and wallowing in self pity for several moments, I decided that it was time to make the most out of my short stay in Recco and explore the area, whatever the weather!

My hotel itself was exactly what I had hoped for and the view was spectacular. Overlooking one of Recco’s most famous beaches, the Hotel Elena* was practical, affordable and comfortable. The staff were also extremely friendly and as I left to explore the shoreline, which was located only meters away from the hotel, the receptionist told me that I was welcome to borrow her umbrella so that I would not get wet while walking around. This was one of several very thoughtful gestures that made my stay there pleasant despite the terrible weather on the first day.

The town of Recco is nestled at the foot of an absolutely gorgeous mountain which is lush, green and dotted with colourful houses. The shoreline was extremely breathtaking, with large rocks and high cliffs stretching out as far as the eye could see. On that initial afternoon, the horrible weather had the positive side effect of creating photo opportunities that were both dramatic and unique. The wind was very strong and the normally calm, turquoise waters turned into frothy waves which crashed violently as they hit land. The Hotel Elena was situated right at the top of one of the shoreline’s cliffs and the stone steps that were carved directly out of the rock and lead to the waters below inspired a childlike curiosity in me. As I explored different passages and dared myself to get ever closer to the raging ocean, I forgot that I felt like a drowned rat and began to enjoy myself.

In my travels, I noticed that all of the flags, which were positioned outside of the various lifeguard stations that I encountered, were red. When I asked the receptionist back at the hotel about them she informed me that this signalled that the water was far too dangerous to swim in. Apparently Recco was experiencing some of the worst weather that it had seen in years and several swimmers and surfers had already disappeared because they had ignored the warnings. The colour red told those who were foolish enough to enter the water that they did so at their own peril, no lifeguard would be able to swim against currents that strong and it would be almost impossible for helicopters and rescue boats to find bodies amongst the rocks and dark waves.

As I looked out upon the restless ocean from my hotel room, I hoped that the morning would bring blue skies and still waters. After all I didn’t come to Recco simply to take photographs, I came to Recco to swim, sunbathe and relax in general. I left the windows open that night and fell asleep to the sound of the cool breeze and the animated water below. Even at its worst, Recco was wonderful.

To be continued…

Be sure to check out my blog in the coming days for part two of my Recco experience!

*If you would like to know more about the Hotel Elena, you can visit their website at the following address:

No comments:

Post a Comment