During my beloved’s recuperation from his broken leg, we’ve had an ongoing joke that I’ll deserve a break when he’s finally back on his feet. I haven’t yet decided when or where but I’m toying with Route du Sud in mid-June. So when my beloved enquired whether I’d like a two-day break at the Grand Hotel in Alassio which has a Thalassotherapy Centre I knew exactly what he meant. He wanted to go there. I played along with the charade and said that would be lovely and would he be okay on his own for three days? To say his face fell was an understatement. I then said he’d better come with me. I could tell that was exactly what he hoped I’d say.
Alassio’s a favourite destination of ours for a day trip for a spot of la dolca vita but I hadn’t been since I took my sisters over there for lunch last April. We first stayed in Alassio back in 2009 on a trip with our cycling club, was charmed by the place and have since stayed there a number of times over the years, as well as enjoying day trips for lunch and a spot of shopping. Alassio has the advantage of being just 90 minutes up the road, and what a road! The motorway offers views all along the coast and whether the sun’s shining or not, it’s always a fabulous vista.
We left after my beloved’s morning physio session and drove as far as Ventimiglia before stopping for a seafood lunch beside the azur blue sea. Ventimiglia’s another regular haunt. We frequently drive over to shop in its large covered market and adjoining shops before enjoying a spot of lunch. My shopping is roughly 30% cheaper in Italy than in France, as is lunch. Mind you, any saving is swallowed up in fuel and tolls.
Sated we drove to Alassio and, once I’d unpacked, I took my beloved down to the Spa where he spent many happy hours in the salt-water pool and adjacent steam rooms while I took a wander round the streets. I know the area well, it’s largely pedestrianised and a pleasure to stroll around. It was warm so I stopped for refreshments and by the time I got back to the hotel my beloved was in our room looking forward to an apero, or in his case, an Aperol spritz. Drinks often seem expensive in Italy but not when you take into account their ample accompaniments. We dropped into another favourite spot, Café Mozart, where the nibbles included a faro salad, fried fish, farinata, crisps, nuts and olives. On top of a generous lunch, this was more than enough for dinner.
The following morning we were first into breakfast before we both headed to the Spa. I’d booked my beloved a massage. To his delight his therapist was Russian, we always find Eastern Europeans to be highly trained and very knowledgeable. She soon sorted out all his blocked muscles and any little niggles as well as suggesting a few exercises for him to do in the pool. She’d also taped up his back with that coloured physio tape you often see on professional cyclists. He was happy as Larry. We lunched in the hotel, outside overlooking the sea. I find the sound of waves crashing onto the sands so restful which is probably why I fell asleep after lunch!
Later, my beloved returned to frolic in the water while I went food shopping: broad beans, peas, artichokes, fennel and asparagus for a spring vegetable casserole. A mixture of lettuces and tomatoes for salad, foccaccia, vegetable pie and various Italian biscuits for a treat. I also popped into a local wine shop to replenish our Prosecco stocks – running dangerously low- and some local Ligurian white wine. We were all set for a feast on our return home.
For dinner, we returned to where we’d dined the night before for another range of tempting snacks and more Prosecco. We were beginning to realise that maybe two nights hadn’t been enough and resolved to return soon. The following morning we again breakfasted early to make the most of the morning in the Spa before lunching in the hotel. All good things sadly come to an end and we drove back to Nice at a slow and steady pace, largely on account of the Easter holiday traffic, but nothing could disturb our serenity after a relaxing couple of days.