Day 5 - From Monaco to Italy along French Coastline
Starting point: Peillon
Distance: ca 200 km
I did not leave the place until 11:45 that day. I ate my breakfast in silence, since my mind was completely occupied by thoughts of a totally different matter. At 10:00 am, I had a phone conversation for over an hour, and only after that, I was able to pack my stuff and be ready to leave the place.
Helga stayed with me till the last minute observing how I slowly pack one item after the other. Forty five minutes later I started the engine, pressed the button of my camera to start recording, bade farewell to my hosts, and slowly got back on the road. About 100 meters further, I stopped and wanted to adjust my jacket. I wanted to put the motorcycle on its stand, but I realized too late that the main stand was up. I tried my utmost to support it with my leg. But gravity won and the Harley slowly toppled to the ground. I felt very embarrassed when I saw the car of my hosts coming towards me. I had just left their place, and 10 minutes later, my motorcycle was lying on the ground. I felt really blond. Christina just grinned, went to the closest house, knocked the door, and asked a guy, who had shown up at the door, if he could help lift the motorcycle. 15 minutes later, with a smile to cover my embarrassment, I profusely thanked them and this time, with no other surprises, left the town.
I have a real weakness for baked sweets. And I truly admire the artistic appearance of French Cakes. The previous day, I had found a small Pâtisseries in La Turbie, and I could not resist it. I had to go there again and eat one of their sweet pastries. I parked my Harley in front of a cafeteria called "Cafe de la Fontaine". I wanted to go in, sit and drink a cup of coffee. The waitress, however, did not like my biker clothes, and when I asked where I could sit to drink a cup of coffee, she told me that the place did not offer it! I asked her, what the lady sitting next to us was drinking ??! The answer was: "Yes, but she also ordered a dessert..." I expressed my hurt feelings with two words, left the place, and spent a few minutes writing an opinion about it.
I arrived at the parking slot reserved for tourists that was located under Oceanographic Museum, and where I could park for free :). I spent a bit more than an hour there. I drove directly to the centre of Monaco, and, for about 2 hours, explored the city streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine around the harbor of the principality of Monaco. The cities were very crowded with different kind of tourists, some who were chilling out on Monte Carlo Bay, and some visiting all the available museums and gardens. Glittering tunnels and the harbor with perfectly parked high-end Boats showed the glamour of this luxurious place. This country, a Tax Haven, cannot expand horizontally, so it does vertically. High, and well-maintained buildings, stand along narrow one way streets. Constant traffic forced drivers to stop every few meters, which for me, was the most disturbing, specially since I had my full gear on, and with 30+ degrees, it was simply very distracting.
From Monaco, through the French Riviera, I made my way to Italy on the Via Aurelia - the road built by the Romans. The road along the coast line cut over a bluff with deep ravines on one side and the lapping sea on the other. Leaving the sun behind, I drove towards Savona - an Italian seaport in the northern Italian region of Liguria.
Since I had left Monaco around 7 pm, it was already dark when I arrived at Savona, and still had to drive inland towards Quiliano. I arrived there at around 10 pm, and rang a door bell, but no one showed up. Even though I could see lights inside. I was getting frustrated, because my phone was just about to die...again. It turned out that GPS coordinates were pointing to the wrong house. I called my next host, and asked to pick me up from that place. In the middle of nowhere, in complete darkness, I could hear a truck coming towards me. A man in his 60´s, with grey beard and a Rollie in his mouth arrived from, what I figured out later, the neighboring hill. He looked at me, and motioned that I needed to follow him. My innate survival instincts sharpened all senses, I took a u-turn, and drove up to the top of the hill to a large house surrounded by apple, lemon, orange and mandarine orchards. One side was dedicated to vegetables and salads, the other side to melons, and tomatoes. All of this was located on a slope with a view of the harbor. Upon my arrival, Giacomo showed me a place, where I could leave my motorcycle and started to laugh. I looked at him, and wondered what was so funny. I was hungry and tired, and this combination is very dangerous, because it pushes the Red button that triggers sarcasm, irony and anger at the same time. He couldn't stop grinning, watching me, walking around me and my bike, talking to himself, smoking one cigarette after another. Finally he said... "You are real! I thought this was a joke". First I did not get what he meant. So he continued: "I received a message from a girl, - I am traveling around Italy on my motorcycle, and it would be nice, if I could stay at your place for one night. And you are here, and you are real, so I hope you do not mind, but I have decided I will give you the best room I have."
And he gave me, instead of a small room pointing towards a forest, a room with a large comfy bed with a view towards the Sea. I was really shocked. I left my stuff in the room. Giacomo took me to the kitchen, and asked which, out of six pizzas, I would like to eat. He had prepared a Tomato-Mozzarella salad, fresh fruits, a glass of wine, and a Cake. I couldn't believe it, like in the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale about Hansel and Gretel (Little Brother and Little Sister), I was asking myself where is the trick ? I ate a slice of pizza, a plate of fresh mangos, chocolate cake and tiramisu on a terrace chatting with my host and listening to the deep, booming croaks coming from hundreds of bullfrogs.
He said at one point: "You are crazy and Beautiful. You can stay here forever". "Well, that´s quite the opposite of what I am doing", I thought. I was moving not staying. I locked the room that night, just in case.