If It's Tuesday: Portofino



If it's Tuesday ... This must be ... Portofino

Playground to the rich, the famous .. and .. in 1996.. Me!! Well at least for a day trip or two!! After a long long overnight train trip from France, hungry and tired, I arrived in Santa Margherita in the wee hours of the morning. Little did I know it was a public holiday weekend [Ferragosto - Assumption Day] and that every Italian in the region had flocked to Liguria for their vacation..

Trudging along baggage in tow we systematically went into each hotel in the area trying to find a room... only to be told there were none available. Finally we came upon what seemed like our last chance.. a beautiful old villa, partially restored to it's former beauty with large formal guest areas and a beautifully shaded garden out the back. A well groomed gentleman was carefully sweeping the entry as we showed up, dishevelled from the trip, dressed in denim cutoffs and looking like.. well typical Australian tourists... my friend pounced on the guy and asked in her loudest English if he had a room available... The answer in Italian, accompanied by firm waving of the hands in the direction of the gate.. was quite firmly NO.. no rooms were available.. So then.. in her LOUDEST voice possible.. my friend asked again!!! Why do people do that? Speaking louder is not going to improve the situation.. As you would expect he ignored us and walked away.

Out of pure desperation and sudden urge for breakfast, I went back in alone and requested in my politest broken Italian ... 'Mi scusi .. Ho bisogno di una camera per due ... per favore?' Amazingly... he replied in perfect English... "Oh yes we may have a room available later in the day.. you are welcome to rest in the garden until it is available'... Bingo!! ha ha ha... Moral to this story.. always try to speak a few words in the native language... it's called 'respect'. Would you want someone screaming at you in a foreign language?


I had a similar experience a few days later when we went separate ways for the day. I had tried to buy something from the chemist [hairspray] but had trouble remembering the word for hair ['capelli']. Somehow I confused it with the word for Horse! ['cavallo']. So there I was pointing to my ponytail and saying Horse Horse... whilst making hairspray noises.. 'psssshhhh'... 'pssshhhh' .. These two little old ladies were buckled over in fits of laughter.. They sat me down, made me a cup of coffee and proceeded to explain the difference. It was a good day!!! I got my hairspray... I got coffee and I entertained the locals. Getting back to the hotel later we compared stories... My friend has apparently had the worst day, two rude ladies in the [only] chemist in town had not been very helpful!! Case in point!

So .. how does Portofino come into this. Apparently, the famous Portofino was only a boat ride away. Somehow I overlooked this fact in the Lonely Planet guide, so lucky for me we met some nice Italians boys that were more than willing to show us around! Sadly I don't have any photos of the gorgeous hotel where we stayed, but I did manage a few of the famous Portofino. My only regret of this particular stay, was bowing to pressure and missing Cinque Terre. Oh well.. a good excuse to go back I say!


So.. it's been a while since I've posted 'If It's Tuesday'. I will try to get back into the habit. Even if it's Wednesday or Thursday.. after all ... What's the point of having a blog if you don't use poetic license?
Now I know a few of you had the chance to meet the lovely Meredith in my last post. But seeing I was anxious to get my 'Tuesday' post up 'on a Tuesday' .. some of you may have missed out. If like me, you enjoy your life in FULL colour!! [well I do like white also!!] pop over to Meredith's - Count It All Joy blog for a fabulous drool worthy post on her famous Rainbow Cake [here]..

Julie b

IMAGE SOURCE: ALL Text, Photography and photo editing by me - [Being Ruby]


Jeanne Henriques said...

Wonderful post Julie. I love your traveling tales... I love everything about Italy and appreciated this little slice of life. Your pictures capture the colours beautifully and with that special Julie touch they are just magic!
Jeanne :)

Berta F said...

..... Hi Julie..... I love... I love... I love Portofino .... ¡¡¡¡¡¡it is so Mediterranean ... so elegant ... so nice ... we share the same tastes ... and your photos ... once again BELLISIMAS ....¡¡¡¡¡ Besos Berta

LenoreNeverM♡re said...

another wonderful post from you...
It's so great to learn new things everyday!

Laura @ 52 FLEA said...

No point at all! Love, love, love this photo....and your artistic license as well as your poetic license! I have many of those language stories but I think part of the fun of traveling is to learn and try to communicate in the language of the community.....plus I don't mind making a bit of a fool of myself especially if it brings a smile! I think that if you try...no matter how you butcher the language...you appear a bit humble and even charming! Love hearing these stories!
Take care! Laura :)

Ange said...

Coming from the girl who was meant to write the Paris episodes (in your honour no less) once per week and who has let it drift off to - to -, well, who's counting? I say poetic license has a dreamy travelly feel to it and must be encouraged;-) Now hang on there while I jot down those Italian phrases so I can enjoy myself as much as you next time I'm in Portofino!

Gypsy Purple said...


Greet Lefèvre said...

What a nice story! I really don't speak any words of the Italian language! But I so want to go to Portofino some day!
The pictures here are so beautiful!

Mise said...

Absolutely, it's always best to give the language a go and no one minds if you add in a lot of energetic hand-waving. I think it's especially true of English-speakers, as English is such a dominant language that it's all the more rude to assume that everyone has to speak it. And the raising one's voice as to a simpleton habit is unforgiveable.


(Julie, will you show us your pillow collection?)

Dash said...

What a great post, it just goes to to show, politeness and curtesy, get you a long way, in life. I have never been to Portofino it is on my very long list of places to go. your photos, as always are beautiful.

Blondie's Journal said...

Your pictures of Portofino look like postcards. You have me sold.

You came out very lucky with the room. My motto is "kill them with kindness" Have you heard of that?? I got a great laugh over the horse hair...I have made many mistakes like that. You must have a very sweet face!


1 Funky Woman said...

Gorgeous, too funny your friend and her loudness! Glad you went back and used what Italian you knew! I am Italian from my father's side. My grandfather is still alive and is 94, I will have to ask him what he knows about this place. I love to listen to him speak Italian. I don't care if he says, "I have to go to the bathroom", it sounds beautiful no matter what he says!

Giulia said...

I'll come back later...but wanted to say hi to Portofino (& you:) To someone above...Italians so love it if anyone so much as says one word in Italian. Then they start with, "Oh but you are fluent! Yes!" That happened when I took my youngest sister on a Rome/Florence trip to visit friends & do research some years ago. It was hilarous. I wasn't much better but struggled along with French & waving my hands & the 500 Italian words (incl. food) I knew (toddler level) at the time. Problem is: if one is a good accent mimic (I am), that only confirms their hunch that one is being linguistically modest & concealing a fabulous fluency that will blossom...if only you will try. It's really quite sweet. Back to lie down but will take laptop & try to catch up.


word verification: "preest" lol

Susie said...

Julie - love your travellers tales & your beautiful images - made even more special by your touch of magic...gorgeous & thank you for this little trip - just what I needed on (another) wet and grey Tuesday x

Tamerie Shriver Halliday said...

I found that even if I didn't speak the language very well, or at all, if I asked in their language if they spoke English, I got a much nicer response and was treated better than if I asked in English if they spoke English. The only place I lived that didn't follow this 'rule' was Greece. If I asked something in Greek, I was answered in english and if I spoke English, they would pretend they didn't speak English and answer me in Greek. It happened all the time. Oh well, still loved living there. I always made it a point to learn the language of every place I lived. I may not have been fluent but like several of the comments above, it is polite and courteous to learn the language of the places you visit and live.

Anyway, it sounds like you had a wonderful time and I love seeing your pictures from your travels.


Unknown said...

Oh you have brought back some memories....some good-Italy and some not so good....my friend (maybe they are the same person) was the embodiment of Ugly American, pushy, loud, brash, and OMG so irritating...I almost crawled under a rock a few times....Oh well, next time maybe we will go together. smiles.

desde my ventana said...

Nice history Julie so you " parla italiano molto bene"...I adore this language and the Italians and the whole Italy that I know. I was not in Portofino but some day I will go,tuesday or sunday or...
Your images,like always.

Luiza said...

I edmit!!! This time I didn´t even read your post... Your images are wonderful!!!

wish you a great week!


Les Cotrions said...

Ciao Julie! I just adore Portofino! So nice and funny adventures you had there! Surely speaking some words in Italian is much better...we are often so proud and not very clever speaking other languages! Next time you'll visit Cinque Terre...they're enchanting!
A nice Wednesday to you!

Carole said...

You make your travels come to life. It isn't the things you visit but the experiences you have with the locals that you always remember.
I love the story about your friend.....I wonder if she ever learned her lesson and if you ever traveled with her again?

You take all the poetic and artistic license you want.....I loved this post and these photos!

Viera said...

Next year June. Portofino wait for me.
Beautiful photos, Julie

ceecee said...

I'm captivated by travel stories, and yours was a good one. It's a must to try to speak the language. I can make myself crazy trying to learn as much as I can before crossing the ocean, but it always pays off.

Thanks, Julie. And Thanks for your visit, too!


Renée Finberg said...

i would give a body part to be in Portofino for a few years.


Angie Muresan said...

Julie you are so hilarious! By golly, you need to write a travel book. It would be so entertaining and so well written. Hugs!!!

Elaine said...

Lovely photos of Portofino. I have only been to the Portofino Hotel in Orlando, Florida and I have to say they did an amazingly good job of replicating the feel of Italy.

Your photos are fabulous. Love the colors. I hope to see the real Portofino someday. for now, I will live vicariously through you!

Sue said...

Honestly, the pictures are postcard perfect and almost make me wish I would fly. What a gorgeous spot. I think I'll just look at my computer screen and pretend for a little while!

red ticking said...

i have never been... i need to go... someday, very soon!

you are such a bright spot in my life... so please go claim your sunshine at my blog... xoxo

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous! Love your little Tuesday tours. It is beautiful - è bello!

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

So funny..., the speaking louder thing in the hopes of being heard (understood). I catch myself doing that (on rare occasions!), but only with my husband, haha!! And cheers to Portofino, the fabulous!

Jane said...

Hi Julie!
I love hearing about your travels. Your words paint such a real portrait...almost like being there with you. This is a place I would love to visit. Some day.... For now, I'll just travel vicariously with you. You're a great companion!
Jane (artfully graced)

myletterstoemily said...

i became so excited over your lovely friend's rainbow cake
that i almost forgot to tell you how jealous i am of your
trip to portofino.

brilliant of you to use your italian.

whenever i visit my friend, anci's swedish blog, i try out a
few swedish phrases.

Fifi Flowers said...

OOooh Portofino looks soooo BEAUTIFUL!!! Awwww someday!

simon said...

Brilliant! Found myself talking too loud in Spain once. I was not aware of it until my pommie mates pointed it out.

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Oh Julie...(sigh), simply stunning...to spend a summer here would just be bliss...As always, gorgeous pics...I want to step into them...Dzintra♥x

Sahildeki Ev said...

Wonderful pics as always. I am always dreaming to travel all the romantic places after your travel posts, but I will keep in mind to learn some local words..:))

vicki archer said...

Love, love, love your Portofino....xv

Corinne Phillips said...

What a fabulous photo - magical and inspirational!

simon said...

re bushwalking comment- Well Julie the idea is to "rough it for a few days" then spend a night in 5 star accomodation to recover. Its what we do here and OS! ;o0

Sarah Klassen said...

Just beautiful!

Opening your page is such a treat -- your writing combined with your photos? Fabulous! I want to live in that photo...

Thanks so much for the lovely comment, also. Your stay sounds amazing :)

Wishing you a splendid week, Julie!

count it all joy said...

Oh Julie, your photos are beyond breathtaking and your writing is hypnotic. I could swear I witnessed that incident at the hotel gate with the two Australian girls - one so gauche and the other refined. While I've never been to Europe in the strictest sense of the word, I have been transported there via Ruby Airways! Hope your week has behaved itself. Meredy xo
p.s. Sending you a virtual slice of the rainbow cake ;)

Laurie Blaswich said...

Love your thought provoking photography!!! I found you through Bella Rustica, I will be back to visit! Stop and visit if you get a chance, I am new to bloging it's so much fun!

Exquisite Accessories said...

Ooohhh I so love Portofino Julie & how you tell the story is great you have just brought back some great memories for me, I used to love going there when working for P&O Cruisies, had some lovley lunches in the cobbled square & got a great tiffany tea set from a devine shop, which is no longer there, still another lovley shop replaced it though. Your pictures however are far superior to my ones :)