Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sailing trip to Tuscany and Liguria

This year’s sailing trip leads us again to Castiglioncello on the coast of Tuscany, Italy. Last year we went southwards to the Tuscan archipelago, this time we sail northwards. On board 6 friends.

Saturday Castiglioncello (Marina Cala dei Medici)
We arrive in Castignocello, were we charted our boat just before noon. We do the check-in with the friendly staff of North Sardinia Sail to receive our boat Canopus, a Beneteau Oceanis 411 Clipper. While checking all functions of the sailing boat we discover a little cut in the main sail. Whether it was already there or it just happened while we hoist the main sail, like the North Sardinia Sail staff claimed, will never be clarified. But anyway we repair it with the support of North Sardinia Sail. Multiple layers of adhesive fabric and a few stitches should work well. Finally just before 6 pm we leave the harbor for an hour of sailing in front of the marina, to test the boat and our sailing capabilities with nice 3-4 Bft and a sunset mood. The marina in Castiglioncello is very nice and well equipped and the sanitary facilities are proper.

Sunday Sailing to Marina di Carrara
We decide to get up quite early to get today as much north as possible to pass by the flat northern Tuscany shores and to get as close to the La Spezia and Cinque Terre region where we want to spend most of our time this week. We leave the harbor at 8:15h with sunshine and almost no wind. Right after we finished our breakfast on the see the wind comes up and we have the chance to sail by Livorno, Marina di Pisa and Viareggio. As the weather changes we arrive at Marina di Carrara with light rain and almost no wind. Marina di Carrara is mostly an industrial harbor with a few old jetties from the Yacht Club. We stay the night for free but unfortunately we are locked out as a gate at the jetty is locked. The Yacht Club in the middle of this industrial harbor has seen its best times decades ago and so the facilities.

In the harbor of Marina di Carrara, sourounded by big commercial ships

Monday Sailing to Chiavari
With partly cloudy but windy weather we pass by the gulf of La Spezia, the passage between the islands of Palmaria (Isola Palmaria) and Tino (Isola del Tino) and reach the coast of Cinque Terre. As the wind stops, we have to continue with our diesel engine. While watching the steep coastline a group of dolphins passes by.

Dolphins at Cinque Terre

We pass Levanto and Sestri Levante to stay this night in Chiavari. Chiavari is a nice city that hides its beauties behind a line of hotels that have seen their best times back in the 60's and 70's. Chiavari has nice buildings, streets with arcades and the recommandable osteria we found for dinner: Osteria Luchin. The big yachting harbor (>450 boats) is well equipped although some of the transfer berths are without electricity.

Tuesday Sailing to Vernazza
We start the morning with a breakfast and some grocery shopping in the city of Chiavara. Finally we leave the harbor with sunshine and no wind, we cross the gulf of Rapallo to make a short loop in the legendary harbor of Portofino.


Rock formation north of Cinque Terre

Right when we leave Portofino, wind from northwest comes up and gives us a ride back towards Cinque Terre. The wind from aft directions forces us to open up the main sail all the way, unfortunately the old sail rubbing on the cross tree leads to a second small cut in the sail. We stay this night on a buoy in front of Vernazza. None of the five Cinque Terre villages has a harbor big enough for our boat (2m draft). Vernazza offers buoys and outside Monterosso there is the possibility to lay on anchor. We fix the new cut with the left over adhesive fabric. The night in Vernazza is quite rough with wind and waves from different directions, but the view towards the village is worth it.

Cinque Terre

Wednesday Sailing to Portovenere
Today we have to pick up a friend, we choose Portovenere to do this. A 3 Bft wind from east gives us another sailing day passing the southern part of Cinque Terre.

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

We decide to be quite early in Portovenere to make sure we find a place in this little harbor to pick up our friend. And this was absolutely the right decision, during the afternoon the harbor fills up with some quite big motor yachts. We spend the afternoon with a stroll through the beautiful historic village and we have the dinner in a funny osteria (Antica Osteria del Caruggio) with the host singing songs, a rough but still lovely waiter and an old lady on the bar. The harbor is really small, but nice situated, the sanitary facilities are proper.

Portovenere by night...

...and in the morning

Thursday Sailing to Viareggio
And another windy (4 Bft.) and sunny day brings us closer to the start-/ending-point. Our last stop will be Viareggio. Before landing in Viareggio we go on anchor for swimming in front of the never ending beaches of the northern Tuscany shore. Unfortunately the yacht harbor is full this evening, finally we find a spot for our boat on the dock at the channel which is kind of challenging to fix the boat. Lying on the dock has a nice atmosphere, nicer as to stay on the standard yacht harbor, but off course there are no facilities.

On the dock of Viareggio

Friday Back to Castiglioncello
The last sailing day is a perfect one, after we leave the harbor, the wind strengthens and we rush southwards with up to 6 Bft. eastern wind and sun! We have to shorten the main sail and the foresail two times! And yes, all our sail repairs stand the strong wind! On the way southwards the four-masted barque Sea Cloud is leaving the harbor of Livorno and is crossing our way.

The Sea Cloud

With a perfect landing maneuver we arrive in the marina Cala di Medici. Other boats around us coming in later have really difficulties to land, including one hitting us and one coming back with a big hole in the sail.

Finally another wonderful sailing trip ends here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Visit at the Lapidarium Stuttgart

The so called „Städtisches Lapidarium“ is an open air museum of the city of Stuttgart showing statues, sculptures, columns and the likes from roman tombstones to notable ruins from bourgeoisie buildings destroyed in WWII. This is a travel in stone through almost 2000 years of Stuttgart. All exhibited items have their origin in and around Stuttgart. The museum is arranged in the style of an Italian renaissance garden, located on the slopes of the Karlshöhe in Stuttgart (Mörikestraße 24/1). It is a wonderful quiet place in the middle of the city. Unfortunately the place is only open in summer month from mid Mai to mid September.

Official Website (only German)

English Website of Stuttgart Marketing on the Lapidarium