Tis Returns to Italy! Day 32: Bottle Cap Championships and Oktoberfest?
Saturday morning, I woke up to a beautiful sunny day so I headed to the train station for a day trip. Camogli is about 40 minutes by train south of the city of Genova. The train trip alone is worth it for the views it provides of the Ligurian Coast.
After leaving the station in Camogli, I headed down toward the sea. Along the way, I saw a couple of signs advertising “Oktoberfest” and two restaurants that had menus filled with sausages, sauerkraut, and pretzels. While it is nice to make an attempt I thought it was a bit of a sad little Oktoberfest. I made a mental note to stop by later and grab a drink in their little beer garden which offered some nice people-watching.
The seaside was connected with this part of town by steep staircases. I climbed down and emerged on a beautiful promenade with houses in colors in warm oranges and yellows, facing the Ligurian Sea. Restaurants offered a view of the sea while dining on seafood just pulled from its waters.
As the food was twice the price of what it was on the main street and I wasn’t really in the mood for sitting for a long lunch, I was tempted by a sign offering seafood to go. I bought some mixed-fried seafood and found a spot by the sea. The seafood was so fresh and tasty, it removed some of the guilt of indulging in fried food. My lunch included a mix of fish, shrimp, and squid, all incredibly delicious.
After I finished, I wandered around the seaside shops, enjoying the lovely setting. The wharf offered amazing views of the warm-hued houses that are hard to fully appreciate when you are walking beside them. I took many photos of the waterfront and then heading back to continue my explorations.
As I was wandering, I noticed a group of men playing a game on the waterfront. I assumed it was bocce but as I got closer, I noticed they were all crawling around on the ground. These men were actually competing in a championship that involved thumping bottle caps around a little racetrack. Over to the side, children were practicing in hopes of one day competing in the championship. Strange but they were enjoying it so I stopped and watched for a bit, cheering them on.
Then it was time to head back to the train station. I stopped in the beer garden, noticing there was quite a bit more action now. Long picnic tables lined the street and a young girl was taping names to the tables, indicating reservations. A couple of the men were scurrying about helping with the setup while wearing lederhosen. I learned the Oktborfest was happening that evening from some of the regulars at the caffè hosting the beer garden.
The scene was lively and a big Italian football match came on the television so I stayed and watched both the game and party. The locals were so friendly, asking me to stay and enjoy the party but I did not want to get back to Genova late. Reluctantly, I said my goodbyes. One of my new friends walked me to the train station to make sure I took the right train back to Genoa.
It was an unexpected but very fun day in Camogli!
Ciao for now!