When you have spent most of your life in a place as isolated as New Zealand it is easy to forget how incredibly simple it is to get from country to country in mainland Europe. Up until today our only travels had been across France and the principality of Monte Carlo.

Therefore it was with some excitement we made the journey from France to Italy. One train swap was required and the port town of San Remo was to be our first real Italian stop. One of the obvious benefits of choosing yachting as a vocation is that it is always very easy to find the ports, just head for the water. There were plenty of nice yachts at the docks including the worlds largest single mast yacht.

After a generous two hours of dock walking or dock whoring as our Antipodean cousins like to call it we decided a coffee was in order. Italian coffee is mountain loads better than French coffee. It is also a third of the price. Customer service seems to be markedly better. The delightful cafe owner made a love heart and fern arrangement with froth for us both.

The rolling sing song nature of the Italian accent was a pleasure to hear from other pedistrians. Years of Nintendo playing makes me smile ear to ear when I hear the words Mario or Luigi uttered in conversation.

Sadly it appears gluten free is a capital offense in Italy and we spent a good hour meandering through the streets looking for the elusive salad or quiche. Things were looking really grim when waiting for McDonalds to open was floated as a plan.

Luckily a kebab establishment was found which actually sold shish kebabs. What a revelation. The food was incredibly good and for desert we bought ice cream.

Now that is ice cream flair.

Food packaging is something that probably deserves a post of its own but I did enjoy the long slender coke cans in Italy.

Coke the fashionable choice.

The only mar on our first visit to Italy was the ticket salesman at the train station who pocketed some of our ticket money for himself and made no attempt to hide his thievery. Perhaps he was short on his protection money

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