As I sit here on a blue velvet chair in my five-star luxury hotel room at the Grand Hotel Miramare in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, it occurs to me that 29 years ago today, I started this life of travel addiction. It was December 2, 1980 when my mother, myself and two steamer trunks* headed to Cleveland for what would turn out to be two and a half years of travel around the continental U.S., Hawaii, Canada and I think we went to Mexico for the day, too. It was for one of the national touring companies of Annie, and it’s one of the defining eras of my life.
I have a lot more to say on this subject, but I’d like to get to this moment on the Italian Riviera.
My five trains turned out to be only three, since the unnameable hag at the SNCF ticket counter decided not to mention that the first three trains were ALL ONE TRAIN RIDE, with little breaks. God, I hate the French.
I’ll admit it now – I cried when they announced Ventimiglia as the next stop. I cry every time, because that is the way I am. It’s time to get the hell out of France and back into this amazing, beautiful, friendly, sybaritic and, yes, to me at least, logical country – for GOOD.
I spent three hours in Ventimiglia, taking pictures of a bottle-green Med against a purple-black stormy sky way out at sea. I also snacked on a grilled panino of mozzarella, sun dried tomato and black olive tapenade. Divine.
Finally, after an entire day spent following the Med coast, napping and playing Sudoku (seriously, flying has nothing on trains – the view is front-row, and spectacular), I am whisked away in a taxi along more coastline to the Grand Hotel Miramare. I am escorted upstairs, followed by a small army of bellboys carrying my suitcase and laptop bag.
This is my favorite moment. When they open the balcony doors and you see your view. And, even though it’s night, it does not disappoint – the cove is dotted with lights and I can hear the waves crashing down below.
I discover there is room service both for dinner and for breakfast (yes please. Is there any better way to wake up in the morning? I ask you) and after calling downstairs, an Internet cable is brought to me by a man in full butler attire who speaks impeccable English.
I have to do some work now, and then I can spend the rest of the evening on my balcony, in my pajamas and the enormous, engulfing white robe they have provided for me, drinking Valpolicella and watching the lights twinkle and listening to the waves crash.
Best day ever. My name is Miss Expatria, and I am a travel addict.
*Please note that my parents were at the time and still are married, and happily so; my dad came out to visit a lot.