Photos are now available on flickr.
And the final route:
Not shown: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
We departed Seborga at about 8:00 AM and I dropped off Lobo and Alcalde at the Terminal 1 Kiss & Fly of the Nice airport. There was no kissing, but they were able to fly anyway. Apparently the airport is flexible about these matters.
It took me awhile to get back on the A8, due to the strange and occasionally impossible guidance of the car’s navigational system. I was halfway up the mountain behind Nice before I finally got suspicious. I eventually made it out of the city through the selective veto process that had worked fairly well with Lobo’s GPS.
I managed to find my way back to the Starbucks in Monaco and got a Ristretto Bianco and wrote a post card to my mom. It already had Seborga and Italy stamps on it, but now I was in Monaco, so if I wanted to mail it, I needed a Monaco stamp. I started wandering around Fontvieille (in the opposite direction than we had gone before) and came across the Monaco stamp museum, which sold me a stamp and mailed the card for me.
I walked around a little, then took off for Chamonix.
I stopped for gas just outside of Monaco — €77.76 to fill the tank! Pulling out of the gas station, I nearly t-boned a Rolls-Royce. I wonder how understanding they’d be getting hit by an American in a rental car with Swiss plates. Probably not very.
But I made it back to the Grand Corniche and the nav system guided me through Italy for 4+ hours without incident, except for occasionally beeping to tell me that I needed a break. Like I’m going to take orders from a car. I did take one break to get a doppio macchiato and use the restroom at an Italian rest stop, but otherwise I ignored the break notices. Stupid car.
The nav system became hopelessly confused once I got into Chamonix, and Google Maps wasn’t any better. The car has a British accent and Google Maps has an American accent, but neither one can pronounce French, and some of the streets they guided me to do not seem to exist. I finally gave up and parked, then walked around looking for the hotel. It took me about two minutes to find it that way.
Hôtel Le Chamonix is across from this church.
The hotel is a creaky old wooden building that has just what I need and nothing more. My room is on the second (i.e., third) floor, but to go up the stairs I have to step over this dog.
I spent a couple hours wandering around the village (which is bigger than I was expecting), had pizza provençale sans anchois for dinner, located the t-shirt place recommended by Lobo, and returned to encapsulate the day in this blog post.
The Mash (and Mash it clearly was, despite some peevish braying from the less adventurous) has concluded, and the Mash attendees have gone their separate ways, better for the experience, except possibly for the experience of watching Dondi, which was even worse than expected.
Seborga is beautiful and charming and slightly odd, and almost exactly as I remembered, except that the weather was much nicer this time around. Lobo’s choice of a house was perfect, even to the point of accidentally renting from someone I had met and talked to 16 years ago.
We rented the top two stories of the house in the center of this photo.
It has beautiful terraced grounds.
We parked the car at the upper corner of the steep driveway. (Note the Seborga flag.)
See also: The R4TS4&T2TWH Mash in Review.
We nearly couldn’t decide what to do today, but then Lobo started going on and on about focaccia–and not for the first time, I might add–so we drove down to whatever the Lower Corniche is called in Italy and found an Italian bakery that sold focaccia.
And Lobo bought a croissant.
Actually, we all bought croissants, which are not particularly Italian, but at least I got a real Italian capuccino. Lobo and Alcalde got Americanos.
But it didn’t matter, because we were sitting at a cafe on the Mediterranean on a beautiful Fall morning, wondering how far beyond help a person would have to be to pass up a trip to the Italian Riviera because he’d rather stay home and watch TV.
But we had no time for people who can’t keep up, so we continued down the coast to San Remo. Alcalde redeemed himself navigationally by efficiently directing us to a Carrefour, where we stocked up on groceries. Lobo, appropriately chastened, even sprung for a bag.
We wrapped up the morning by getting some doner kebabs at a little place down the street and headed back to watch Birdemic 2, Sharknado 3, and other masterpieces of modern cinema.
After the day’s meanderment, we took a short break to allow Alcalde time to recover and then went to dinner in Dolcedo. Lobo had stayed in Dolcedo with his family in 2009 and recommended it as a typical untouristy Italian town. It was about an hour from Seborga.
We ate at La Fontanella, where we ordered pizza from the charming waitress Emmanuela. Alcalde ordered the house specialty pizza; Lobo ordered one that was intended for children.
Then we wandered around for a few minutes and drove back to Seborga.