Tag Archives: seborga

Seborga to Chamonix

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.

  • Final toll for crossing Italy: 50.10
  • Toll for driving through the 11.6km Tunnel du Mont-Blanc: 44.20.

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.

R4TS4&T2Mash and TWH Recap and Riviera Notes

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.)


Further notes:

  • Motorcycles and motor scooters in both Italy and France pass on both sides wherever and whenever they feel like it. Almost nothing they do would be legal in the US, but here you can just ignore them and it seems to work out.
  • The toll roads are pretty darned expensive.
  • Limoncino is tasty, but very strong. I was going to get a bottle, but thought better of it. I’d probably drink the whole bottle and have to be treated for alcohol poisoning. Besides, who wants to carry a glass bottle through the Alps?
  • Nice is nicer than Cannes.
  • The most useful languages to know in this area are French, Italian, and Donkey.
  • That song from Birdemic is always funny, and it always will be.


See also: The R4TS4&T2TWH Mash in Review.

Final Afternoon in Seborga

The Quest for Al really took it out of us, so we drove along the coast one last time, ending up at the same Doner Kebab place in San Remo for lunch. After lunch we bought some gelato and walked down to the harbor. It was a beautiful sunny day, as it has been almost the entire week.


In the afternoon we did laundry and hung around the house. Lobo cracked a cascarón that he’d been saving for 35 years on Alcalde’s head, as one does.


We had our final dinner at Marcellino’s, with a final round of limoncino shots, although we had to buy them ourselves this time.

The Quest for Al

We hadn’t heard as much braying as earlier in the week, but we knew Al was out there somewhere, so we decided to embark upon a Quest.

We started by driving off randomly with no real plan, and quickly found ourselves halfway up the mountain on a dirt road called Passo del Bandido. We searched high and low, but did not see anything that looked donkey-like, so we drove randomly some more.

We didn’t know where Al was, but we knew we were on the right path.


Eventually we found ourselves down a valley road with a truck blocking our way. No one was in the truck, so Lobo went to find the driver. We thought he was going to ask him to move the truck, but instead he asked him if he knew where the donkey was, making donkey noises to get his point across. The man directed us to a farmhouse/B&B down a long gravel road, but there was no indication of a donkey. Lobo knocked on the door and we talked to the proprietor, who spoke some English and told us that:

  • He had no donkeys, only sheep.
  • The sheep were “on holiday.”
  • The donkey was “on the other side,” on Via Casette.

We set off to the other side of the hill, looking for Via Casette. If we’d heard any braying, we might have had an easier time, but Al was curiously silent, so we had to use our investigative skills and gut instincts. Working as a team, Lobo and I quickly lost track of Alcalde, who was using Google Maps. Lobo talked to some people in the post office, but they didn’t know what he was talking about, so we walked a little farther and then split up, circling around the village from opposite sides.

When we circled back to the car, Alcalde was waiting for us about 50 yards away, at the corner of Via Casette. We had parked within sight of it, and, as a team, we had managed to triangulate on it, each bringing our own individual skills to the effort. “The other side” turned out to be the other side of the valley, not the other side of the hill.

Working as a team, we walked down Via Casette until we saw a fenced area with a stable.

And there was Al.


See also: The Dramatic Search for Al and Burro Hunting and San Remo (Again).

Seborga Circumperambulation

In the afternoon we ambled down the road to Seborga.


There was a dog.


And narrow passageways.


Lobo tried to hide behind a pillar near the church, but he wasn’t fast enough.


We discovered that the previous prince’s house is for sale, and Lobo went to the real estate office to find out the details. Because Lobo does things like that. It’s €1,500,000, so if we save out of the housekeeping money…


Then we bought some souvenirs, but nothing for Al. Maybe tomorrow.

We had dinner at Marcellino’s, which Sabina had recommended to us. There we met Carly, from Santa Rosa, whose mother is an artist who lives in Seborga. Sabina was also there, and comped us to limoncino shots. On the walk back to the house, we talked to a German couple who had been in the restaurant. They asked, “So do you prefer Clinton or Tr…” and we all went, “Aaauugh! No! Aaargh!” by way of expressing our subtle and nuanced thoughts on the election. So we talked about the weather in Germany instead.

See also: Strolling Through Seborga and Seborga Day 4: San Remo and Return.

Cena a Seborga

We walked down to the village for a late dinner. Il Principe, the restaurant Lobo and I remember from previous visits, has closed down for some reason. Sabina recommended Marcellino’s, but it wasn’t open. There was an incomprehensible sign purporting to give the hours, but that was unhelpful, and the place was clearly closed, so we went to the one remaining restaurant, which didn’t appear to have a name.

The waitress/owner/dueña spoke no English, and none of us speak Italian, so we communicated using mangled French, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, English, and arm-flailing. We all got ravioli, but Lobo and Alcalde got salads, whereas I got rabbit and french fries. So apparently that’s what we ordered. There was also wine, Wasser mit und ohne gas, and some limoncino* shots.


*Or limoncello, if you prefer.

Meandering to Nice

Lobo showed surprising maturity by not waking me up by blowing the bugle. I slept for over eleven hours, so it must have been a struggle for him. He did it right away after I got up.


We had to pick up Alcalde at 2:40 PM, so we set off around 9:30, thinking that we could get some breakfast at an Italian bakery or something, and maybe stop at a supermarket to get some basics for later in the week. We drove through some Italian towns on the coast, getting lost repeatedly, partly due to the uselessness of Lobo’s GPS and partly due to our own ineptitude. At one point, Lobo saw a bakery and got out and ran in while I drove around the block and he got back with some breakfast. Only it wasn’t a bakery, it was a butcher shop, and it was sort of a quiche thing that was pretty good, but he only got one and there was only one fork. And we didn’t find a market. But other than that it was a success and we drove on to Nice.

Lobo’s ancient GPS continued to be useless, constantly recalibrating and sending us in weird directions, but we found a parking garage in spite of it, and from there wandered around downtown Nice and had lunch and strolled along the promenade.




It was pleasant, but eventually we had to pick up Alcalde. We drove to the airport and went to terminal 2, which is where I had come in, so that made sense. After parking and walking in, we found that his plane had come into terminal 1. He had texted me to say that he was at the gate, so I asked him if he was at terminal 1, and he didn’t know. So we headed to terminal 1, which was not as simple as simply walking from one terminal to the next. No, we had to drive in circles and up ramps and Alcalde texted me to say that he was terminal 2. So we looped back around to go to terminal 2, even though the flight had come into terminal 1, so how did he get to terminal 2? Anyway, we went there and drove into something called “Kiss and Fly”, which was some sort of departure area and Lobo got out to look for him and then Alcalde sent another text: “Uh-oh. I think I’m at terminal 1.” Okay, so back to terminal 1 and the Kiss and Fly there, which was laid out differently, and this time Lobo was able to find him and drag him back to the car.

We stopped at a Starbucks so Lobo could get a Nice mug, then at a market in Ventimiglia (which Alcalde found with no trouble, using Google Maps) to get groceries. The market did not include bags, although you could buy them for a nominal fee. But Lobo was too cheap to buy one, and we had to carry everything out in our arms. And there was a lot of stuff to carry.


But we made it back to Seborga and had some IPA (Italian Pale Ale) as the sun went down.


See also: Saluti de Seborga, Nice, and Seborga Sunrise.