Porto Venere

Without realising just how close things were together, we booked to stay in La Spezia for our last night on the Italian Riviera. In hindsight, we could easily have just stayed in Manarola, but in the end it worked out pretty well. We met up with our pal Fiona who was also staying nearby, and took a half day boat trip out to Portovenere, alleged favourite hangout of English rascal Lord Byron.

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There was a bit of typical Italian fannying about to get onto the boat, but we fought back against our polite impulses and made sure we got some good seats to enjoy the view.

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The town itself turned out to be a fairly beautiful wee spot, with the now familiar sight of brightly coloured buildings greeting us as we arrived into the harbour.

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One thing that struck me was the number of St. George’s cross flags that were flying around the place. They were everywhere.

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and I mean, everywhere.

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It turns out that St. George is the patron saint of this area as well, which was a pretty cool thing to find out. The English flag has garnered a reputation as being symbolic of so many distasteful things that it was refreshing to see people taking pride in it for completely different reasons.


It turned out that this was where the locals would go to kick about by the beach, with very few English speaking tourists about.


Or as Fiona put it, “This is where the young team come to hang out and check out each other’s asses.”


There really wasn’t anything else to do around here unless you hopped on a boat and went somewhere else, so fair play to them. I can imagine far worse places to be stuck as a teenager over a long summer.





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In true Mediterranean fashion, there was a whole chunk at the end of the main street that was dilapidated and falling apart. The Italians had made their feelings on the matter quite clear though. Apparently the graffiti in the picture below translates to something like ‘Raped landscape’.


There was an old church and a castle on a hill to explore, but it was ridiculously hot – and we were fed up of walking. Instead, we grabbed some lemon drinks and let the world pass by before it was time to fight our way onto the last boat back to La Spezia, and then onward to the mountains the next day.


All shot on a Leica M6 with Jupiter 35mm f2.8 or Voigtlander 21mm f4 Color Skopar lens.

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