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Jan 07 2023
The new year is already a week old and most of us have returned to our jobs and are back in the rat race!
Patrik and I spent Christmas in Sweden with his family. We flew on December 23rd to Copenhagen and from there by train and ferry to Helsingborg.
After five we finally arrived at the beautiful Vault Hotel! And what an amazing hotel it is, we were literally taken aback! Not only the hotel itself is fantastic, but the friendliness of the staff was outstanding too! LOVED ALL OF IT 100% 💖
The next day we strolled around town for a bit, but sadly it was freezing cold (no snow at least).
We spent Christmas eve with Patrik’s parents, who live nearby. It was lovely and cozy and we enjoyed each-others company, since it was quite a while we saw them.
Around 11 p.m. we were back at the hotel, tired but happy!
On the 25th Patrik’s friend Lars drove down from Gothenburg. Actually, my girlfriend Mia and her husband Lars (another one 😉) should have joined us as well, but he had some health problems a few days before, so sadly they skipped the trip 😥
Lars arrived at the hotel in the evening and we went out for dinner at a Lebanese restaurant, with a lot of blablabla 😊
Unfortunately, I caught the flu over night and stayed in bed the next day, while Patrik and Lars visited a huge shopping mall *bugger*. At least I could make some tea and the bed was VERY comfortable. But what a shitty situation, having to spend your holidays sick in bed! 🤧
In the evening Lars had to do some work and, actually, Patrik and I were invited for dinner again at his parents. Well, he went of course, while I spent the evening coughing, freezing and dozing in our room….
The 27th arrived and I didn’t feel better. Patrik had bought some drugs for me, but it didn’t seem they helped quick enough, damn! In the evening we were invited at Patrik’s sisters house in order to celebrate a belated Christmas with them. Her husband was also sick before the holidays started, and she caught pneumonia! That’s why we couldn’t meet on the 24th.
But meanwhile they felt much better and weren’t infectious anymore.
I wasn’t sure about myself, though! Everyone wanted me to come, since we would fly home again the next day. But how smart was it to eventually give my flu to someone and/or I would feel even worse tomorrow…..? Flu and flying = BAAAAD combination!
Anyway, in the end Patrik talked me into it and we spent the evening with his family; his sister, her hubby, their son and Patrik’s parents came too. It WAS a lovely evening, although we didn’t hug and held our distance! The evening flew by and soon it was time to order a taxi.
BYE EVERYONE AND THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS EVE 🎄
Travelling home the next day was a bit of a challenge. Although, surprisingly I didn’t feel too bad, but when we finally came home around 5 p.m. I was totally knackered!
I managed to unpack my suitcase, showered and went to bed 😴
Luckily, Patrik and I took the 03rd and 04th January also off, since we had actually planned to spend New Year with our friends in Luxembourg! Ha, needless to say that we didn’t go – to everyone’s disappointment of course, including ours!
Now, after more than a week I still feel not 100% good! The cold is better, but I still have this bloody overpressure in my ears, from the flight home! It’s so annoying to be like in a bubble and hear myself in high definition and everything around me is dimmed!
I really hope I feel better soon! 🙄
Dec 24 2022
Dec 03 2022
Oct 29 2022
We planned to stay in Loano until the 06th September. Taking it easy by visiting Loano and buy a few presents, clean the boat inside & outside, do the laundry etc. 🧺
In the afternoon of the 06th we had an appointment in Genoa with Quantum Sails. We need new sails (main and genoa) and Patrik had already received an offer from them. Since we were so close, we decided to pay them a visit and make up our minds in situ about the last few details. Alberto, from Balbi (boat chandler located in Loano, Savona and new in Genoa) had arranged the meeting and would accompany us.
We also looked forward to see the marina in Genoa and then spend the night in Melide/Ticino, where a room was already booked at the hotel “Riviera“. A REAL bed was waiting for us ☺
So, the meeting with Quantum Sails was very pleasant (I think Vittorio was the guy’s name). A few adjustments in the offer were made and the colour for the Sunbrella UV protection chosen. Vittorio would send us a revised offer of course, but we were convinced to have found the right partner with this company.
After we said good-bye to Alberto and thanked him for the time, we headed for Switzerland. Our GPS said we would be at the hotel around 6 p.m. – later than we wished for, but the meeting with Quantum was necessary and too important to do a helter-skelter decision. Too much money is involved in the end!
We arrived as predicted at the hotel “Riviera”, had a very heartly welcome and were more than satisfied with our room. Sadly, it started to rain, so we had to leave the balcony and finish our prosecco inside. After the shower we were ready for dinner, which we took at the hotel. Again, a very friendly service was present, and we enjoyed our dinner on the terrasse, which was protected against rain and wind. The temperature was at least ten degrees lower than we were used to from the last 3 weeks – only around 18 deg. C 😨
However, back at our room we were realized how tired we were and soon lied in the comfy beds.
We slept well and woke to a cloudy morning. Yeah, well, it fitted the slowly end of our vacation. We had our breakfast (at the terrasse with a lovely view over the lake) and just before 11 a.m. we checked out.
The grandson of the hotel owner was at the reception this time. After he made sure that everything was OK, he announced that – sadly – it was his granddads funeral today. He’d died a couple of days ago. We said our condolences and were touched about the openness of this young man.
Well, it just verified that we would come here again, if we ever need a lovely hotel on our way home from Italy again.
The drive home was unspectacular, some rain, mixed with sunshine and around 2.30 p.m. we arrived at our house. At least the sun was shining again, which made it easier 😅
Emptying the car went fast and soon afterwards we sat in our wintergarden, nursing a glass of white wine and let our parents know that we’d arrived safely!
Luckily, it was only Wednesday and we had a few days left until the daily routine would return…..
We came to the conclusion that four weeks’ vacation is undoubtedly wonderful but having to find a way back to the rat race is anything than easy…. I must confess I was struggling a bit the first week at the office. Luckily, I like my job and I have lovely working colleagues, which that made the return definitely less hard 🥰
Oct 22 2022
10.00 a.m. on 01st September and it’s coffee time! The swells had never stopped, so no wonder we were the only boat left in this bay…… *haha* No reason to stay any longer, so after WOBBLE we started the engine and left.
Next stop was Diano Marina, another night at anchor was planned. During the journey it started to rain a little, but when we arrived at the bay the sun was shining again. It was only us and a motor yacht at anchor. Plenty of space and quietness.
It was obvious that the high season came to an end and most tourists have returned to their daily life.
Later in the evening a Norwegian flagged sailboat arrived and dropped anchor. Hej, hej, SY JEPPY! In exchange, the motor yacht had left earlier.
We made a very tasty Salade Niçoise for dinner – the vegan and fish friendly Vuna-version naturally 🐟
The next day we were woken up ruggedly at 07 a.m. A storm was raging outside, with rain, gusts up to 30 knots and at least ½ m waves (in the bay)! We were glad that we took the weather forecast seriously a couple of days ago, when thunderstorms and high waves were promised. Therefore, we now were so close to Loano, only a stone’s throw away!
However, coffee first – which we JUST accomplished to prepare and even drink without spilling 🤣
We also realized that the Norwegian boat had already left, so it was only us left.
At 9 a.m. were we ready and started the engine. Our way out to the open sea went smoothly and during the journey the weather calmed down. The sun showed herself and suddenly it was a lovely day again! 😎
Just before lunch we approached the Isolotto Gallinara, which lies just outside Albenga. This private island looks like a sea turtle from the right angle and is under conservation. We read in our smart sailing bible, “Italian Waters Pilot” written by Rod and Lucinda Heikell, a small harbour was lying on the northern side. Even though it is private, boats are tolerated to spend a night there. So we wanted to check it out, might be handy for another time.
It made a positive impression and seemed to be in good condition. One motor yacht was lying inside, otherwise the “marina” was empty.
Soon afterwards it was time to prepare the fenders and lines and just after 1.30 p.m. we were safely berthed at M13, in the Marina di Loano – home sweet home! 😊
We decided to do as much as possible today, like taking down the dinghy and the SUP’s, wash them, store them (garage for the dinghy, bags for the SUP’s), since rain was promised for the next day.
And poor Luna Azzurra was finally receiving a proper wash! It must have been such a relief for her, getting rid of the salt and dirt! There you go, darling💦
Oct 08 2022
The next day, 24th August, we did the last shopping, fresh veggies, fruits and bread and around lunch time we left the berth. Since we had some extra days now, we decided to spend another night at the island and anchored “around the corner”, a nice bay east of the marina. We did some swimming, paddling, Patrik continued to clean the hull….well, it was a relaxing day, which we enjoyed a lot!
The night wasn’t that lovely though! After midnight I woke up by some noise, people partying on a nearby boat, screaming, singing, loud music…. It wasn’t quiet until around 03 a.m. As usual, Patrik didn’t hear a sound and was able to sleep peacefully (which annoyed me even more!) 👿😤
Anyway, the next day we left the island and headed for Baie de Bonporteau. ETA was scheduled for 2 p.m. and after a calm (without wind) trip we dropped the anchor. As always for us (but WHY???), it took two attempts for the anchor to hold safely. The bay was very crowded, and a service boat made its rounds, selling ice cream, soft drinks, snacks, and even prosecco 😉
Later in the afternoon the bay started to get empty. St. Tropez is just around the corner, so the hip yachties and partygoers had to rush there of course. We were just a handful of boats left and enjoyed the peaceful evening. We decided to spend the next day here as well – doing bugger-all – and would leave on Saturday, 27th August.
And that’s exactly what we did, enjoyed a wonderful dolce far niente day with heaps of sunshine 🌞🌺😎
Saturday came and we left around 11 a.m. Our aim was to anchor at the entrance to the Golfe de St. Tropez, on the north side and outside a place called Ste Maxime. But the closer we came the darker became the sky. Apparently, a thunderstorm was building up, so we turned around and headed for the Baie de Canebiere (Canoubiers), which lies opposite and offers much better shelter.
We quickly found a good spot close to the shore, not too deep and on the 2nd try (what else? 😇) the anchor was safely buried in the sand (3 p.m.). It was also bread-baking day (the dough was prepared the day before) and later in the afternoon the boat smelled of freshly baked bread – voilà!
Brigitte Bardot lives here, by the way, in one of the mansions scattered around the shore and we believed to have spotted the correct one. Especially since some tourist boats – which weaved their ways between the anchored yachts – stayed a moment longer outside a particular villa. Also, the tourist guide talked excitedly about the famous actress.
Well, she certainly has my sympathy as she’s a resolute defender for animal rights since many decades 🥰 During the night we heard some dogs bark – maybe they were her rescue’s…? 🐕🐾
Ah, apropos, the thunderstorm never came. Instead, the sun showed up again and it became humid and hot. So we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with the nice view, showered and had a tasty dinner.
Morning came and after the obligate WOBBLE we started the engine after 10 a.m. and left the bay.
Our aim was to anchor in Antibes, at Mouillage du Piton. ETA: ~15.30.
The longer we motor-sailed (poor wind unfortunately), the more we thought about changing our plan. So in the end we decided to try our luck and have a look at the île Ste-Marguerite, opposite Cannes. And *yeah*, we were fortunate enough to find a marvellous spot just at the foot of the famous Fort Royal. At 3 p.m. the anchor sat steady in the sandy bottom.
Why famous? Well, it was here that the mysterious “Man in the Iron Mask” was imprisoned from 1687-1698. I bet you saw one version of the movie. Apparently, in reality, it wasn’t a mask made of iron, but of velvet. But who the person was still remains a mystery….
However, we slept tight and weren’t disturbed by any ghosts (or party maniacs) 👻
Oct 01 2022
Hello, Sunday, 21st August!
We took the dinghy and visited the Île de Porquerolles, strolled around and bought some fresh salad, fruit and bread. We also had lunch at the restaurant L’Orangeraie, which was outstanding! The especially for me created vegan meal was amazing! 🤩
After two o’clock we were back and started to get ready for our journey to La Grande Motte. A night sail was planned, and ETA was estimated for the next afternoon! Perfect 👍 Patrik had booked two nights in the marina. And Pascale’s train from Montpellier was leaving on the 23rd, after 3 p.m. Plenty of time!
It was a bit cloudy and there were still some waves, between 1.5-2 meters. But they should become less during the afternoon. Wind was predicted around 15 knots, +/-. So far so good!
After more than 2 hours close-hauled motor sailing, with only the genoa out, the waves wouldn’t get smaller – rather the opposite! And they smashed non-stop directly into the bow. Additionally, were the gusts up to 30+ knots and we realized we are in middle of the mighty Mistral….. 😱 It became more and more uncomfortable; Pascale was scared and even I felt queasy for the first time since I started sailing!
In the end we had to reaf the genoa and tried to continue our bumpy and very uncomfy journey.
We were outside Toulon (only!) when Patrik announced that we would never make in time continuing like this, it would take approx. 35-40 hours!
JEEEZZ, well, thanks but no thanks! Imagining two nights like this – and the forecast didn’t look good either – was pure horror! So after a short briefing we decided to return to Porquerolles. Pascale would have to re-arrange her journey home, but she agreed gladly of course 😥
No sooner said than done and Luna Azzurra was turned around 180°. After rough(-ly) 1,5 hours we were back at our old anchor spot and after 7.30 p.m. we were settled and glad to be safe again.
Pascale started to search the net, trying to find a way get to Montpellier, without missing her booked train. We ate our dinner, which was potato salad, vegan sausages and the lovely bread we bought at lunchtime. Who would have thought that we would spend the night at the island again?
The next day, 22nd August, it was sunny and hot. We took the dinghy and booked a berth for two nights. While Patrik and I got Luna Azzurra, Pascale stayed on land, trying to gather more information about how to leave the island. It turned out that there was a ferry at 07.50 a.m. the next day, to Tour Fondue. From there she could catch a bus to Toulon, then a train to Montpellier. The time schedule was tight, and we hoped the trip would go smoothly without delays or bad surprises! At least she speaks fluently French, which made the whole mess a bit more endurable for her ⏳
Our last evening together had arrived and we celebrated with homecooked penne all’arrabbiata, fresh salad and a nice bottle of Porquerolles wine (which apparently is famous and recommendable – yes, we can absolutely confirm that 🍷).
Morning came and after we had coffee it was time to say good-bye! We wished her a safe journey home and waved until the ferry disappeared around the corner. She will always be welcome back, as she is such an easy-to-handle guest 😘
Afterwards Patrik and I started to prepare the laundry, all towels and bedlinen – including ours, plus kitchen towels. Luckily, we were up that early, because we had a couple of loads to be done and the dryer wasn’t the fastest. At 2 p.m. we were finished, we had also cleaned the boat as best as possible, inside at least.
Washing boats on Porquerolles is strictly forbidden, since the island hasn’t an own well and water must be brought by tankships. Sadly, many visitors ignore this rule and wash their boats anyway by filling buckets of water from their freshwater tank, which they refill again afterwards. How shameful and disrespectful! ☹
We then did some grocery shopping again, orange juice, wine, olive oil and prepared our dinner: Ratatouille. Always a must when we’re sailing! *yummy*