Portofino: Finding My Ability to Travel Alone

For years I was desperate to visit Portofino, so much so I was trying to get my family on a boat from Cinque Terre during a storm in 2015 to take me there. Alas, they wouldn’t come with me. So it seemed fitting that my first visit was by myself.

The trip I made has been one of my favourite travel moments, and most memorable, in more ways than one. It was my first trip to a non-English speaking country on my own, ever! It began with sitting on the plane for 2 hours before it got the go-ahead to leave, then circling before landing because there were birds on the runway in Genoa

See for me, things tend to end up a little disastrous. I am known as a scatterbrain, I am the youngest and most spoon fed child of six. My family refer to me as Dosie Rosie, and they are spot on. But through the strains and the stresses, I enjoy it, because when things aren’t always straightforward, you accidentally end up somewhere even more exciting.

I rose early on a warm October morning and walked to the train station in Genoa, I got lost along the way but let’s move on… Trains in Italy can be somewhat, surprising. And by surprising I mean they turn up when they want to turn up, not when they are meant to turn up. But that is something I love about Italy, the confusion and the chaos seems perfectly ordered to the Italians themselves. The country is so beautiful it doesn’t really need to be particularly efficient, that’s not why people travel there.

I got on the train with excitement in my belly, it was finally time to see Portofino with my own eyes, a place I had built up in my head over so many years!
It’s important to note that Portofino doesn’t have its own station, instead you will need to take the train to Santa Margarita, you can then walk (if you feel like a long walk), or get the bus. I got the bus, the excitement was too much and I didn’t want to wait any longer if I’m honest. But also, the strap had broken on my top when I was meandering my way through Genoa when trying to find the station, so the less the public saw of me, the better.
I’m not usually a bus kind of girl, I hate having to stand up when it moves, but I managed to actually get a seat on this one. As the road winds round into Portofino you still have no idea what’s coming as it’s hidden in a small bay. Only when you walk down the hill to the waterfront can you really start to appreciate the place.
I always thought Paris was the best place to people watch, but I was wrong. If you want to see how the other half live then get yourself to Portofino, where a Diet Coke and a bowl of crisps costs €10. But don’t let this put you off, you don’t have to spend a penny if you don’t want to. Earwigging into other people’s conversations and admiring the view doesn’t cost a thing. So that is what I did (other than the Diet Coke and crisps…).
If you want to see this multicoloured village at its finest, head up to Castello Brown, a beautiful manor house set above a cliff overlooking the entire bay. From here you can see the way the old fishing houses circle their way around the coast, and you can watch the super yachts sail in and out, dodging ferries as they go.

To sum it up, Portofino was as beautiful, if not more so, than I imagined. It is one of my favourite destinations not just because it was attractive and I liked watching other people go about their day, but because I mastered it by myself. My family wouldn’t come with me the first time, so I took it upon myself to go there anyway. Since then I have been on another European trip by myself, as you may have seen I went to Belgium and Amsterdam this Spring and loved every minute of it. The great thing is I no longer have any hesitations in travelling solo, and I look forward to planning more trips in the future, just for me! I will always be thankful to Portofino for offering me that realisation that it is okay to go solo, it’s okay to get on a plane by myself, I CAN do it and I can do it well! Had I not had that push to pack my bags and leave Alex at home keeping our house together, I’m not sure I would be so confident about going abroad by myself in the future. It was a proud moment for sure, and one that worked wonders for my confidence.

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