When the beaches empty out, nature reigns once again and the Alassio seafront becomes a huge space to be discovered. It is the end of a season and the beginning of a completely different way of experiencing the sea.
It becomes the ideal destination for those looking for slow days of peace and relaxation, in which it is possible to enjoy beautiful landscapes, fill the lungs with iodine and recharge the spirit with a massive dose of inspiration.
I dedicate this first Vayadù blog post to what the winter sea has given me over the years joining poets, writers and musicians who have celebrated it over time.
I do it my way, telling one of my typical winter day to inspire all the women who dream of Alassio sea for a solitary retreat, regenerating both body and spirit.
My favourite walk: Alassio – Laigueglia promenade.
When I find myself in Alassio at the end of the season, for a few days without my family, I love walking to regain all the energy required by the summer months.
My day starts in the most intimate Vayadù’s holiday home: Tango loft. I like to take refuge there for the night. From its loft facing the sea, I can see my favourite horizon when I wake up.
After my first cup of coffee on the balcony, I slip a book into my pocket and go down into the heart of the Budello. I set out for La Madeleine café, where a good and healthy breakfast awaits me. I usually order a vitamin juice and a cereal brioche. I like enjoying them slowly leafing through my book.
Then I set off again full of energy to the Alassio seafront. The perfect route for those who choose Alassio for a solitary retreat is my favourite walk towards the west and the poetic village of Laigueglia. It is completely seafront, easy and flat, along a 3 km beach.
A painting of water and light that appears different from time to time always greets me. My gaze is free to return to itself, among untouched sand dunes and limitless horizons, divided only by two different shades of blue.
I always choose a different bench to greet the sea and the rock in the blue that accompanies me: Gallinara island. I like closing my eyes and listening to the silence broken only by the sounds of waves, which lulls and regenerates me. The scent of salt in the winter months becomes stronger, it almost seems to purify the nostrils. And I really breathe again.
After a few seconds, the fresh air pinches my face and wakes me up. I leave again and after half an hour the colours of Laigueglia and its baroque church with two bell towers welcome me.
I pass by Torrione del Cavallo and the boathouse, where I often find fishermen adjusting their nets.
The little squares that end at the beach, the silent games of the children just a few steps from the shore, the jetty that stretches majestically out into the sea… everything here speaks to me of a life that is inextricably linked to the big blue.
If the weather is fine, I choose a quiet place in the open air, where I can wait for lunchtime sinking into the pages of the book I carry with me.
As soon as I have an appetite, I slip into the cobbled streets of the village in search of a simple farinata with black olives or an extraordinary frisciöi de gianchetti, the whitebait fritters typical of this stretch of coast.
Then I enjoy the hottest moment of the day by setting off again for a change of perspective.
The climb towards a little paradise: Colla Micheri
I go further into the town of Laigueglia towards the hills, following Via Monaco to a mule track that climbs quickly, among olive trees and thick maritime vegetation that smells even in winter.
When my gaze meets the junction for Colla Micheri I am already into the suspended atmosphere of this tiny medieval village, which only shows itself to those who reach the top of the hill. As a matter of fact, in the Middle Ages it was built to be invisible from the coast and from any aggressors arriving by sea. Getting up there is an enchanting discovery every time.
The small square overlooked by a small brick-red church, the narrow, paved alleys that climb the hill, the ancient stone facades, interrupted by large, grid windows and terracotta vases for future blooms. And then the great blue, which seems to be motionless and embraces the entire Baia del Sole as far as the coast of Corsica.
It must have been all this that inspired the Norwegian explorer Thor Eyerdhal, who in the 1950s chose it as his “paradise on earth” to spend the last years of his life and to whom we owe its recovery.
I glance at the postcards I carry with me and – once I am full – I take the descent towards Laigueglia and then Alassio. In less than an hour, I drink the hot chocolate from Oliva 2 cake shop, absolutely covered with a heap of fresh whipped cream.
I take refuge in my seafront loft to enjoy the show of the sun dipping into the horizon, with a glass of fragrant vermentino between my fingers. In the kitchen, a hot minestrone with pesto sauce awaits me and – who knows – maybe even a delicious Bacio di Alassio as I say goodbye to the day by writing in my diary. It is there that I jealously preserve the vibrant memories of this time for myself, where solitude becomes privilege and the sea transforms everything into golden reflections.
To all women who – like me – long for this kind of time to return regenerated to everyday life, in the winter months I give the third night in a Vayadù facility for a long weekend of relaxation.