#AtoZChallenge: “F” is for FINALE LIGURE

51 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2014, Dogs, Travel, Writing/Blogging

Finale Ligure

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Day 6: April 7

In the summer of 1968, my mother and I went to Switzerland, (we were living in Germany at the time), with dog in tow, to check out a boarding school I would be attending that fall. Afterwards, we embarked on an exciting adventure: A bus tour through the Swiss Alps, to the Italian Riviera!

zurich to finale ligure
Map data ©2014 Basarsoft, Geo-Basis- DE/BKG (©2009), Google, basado en BDN IGN Espana

As you can see on the map, it wasn’t that far, but, it certainly took more than the 5 hours shown. Picture this: A giant tour bus, winding it’s way through narrow mountain roads. No guardrails and it was a long way down. Better not to look ! Before negotiating a turn, the bus driver would lean on the horn, to warn oncoming traffic that he was coming through. Just a little bit hair raising!

This video, (not mine; taken years later), will give you some idea of the beautiful vistas enroute:

The bus tour ended at Milan, and we took a train from there to Finale Ligure, which is a charming beach resort with a lively nightlife.

finale ligure
Wikimedia Commons

Gigi, our little black poodle was welcomed with open arms at the hotel and for every meal, we brought her to the dining room. The wait staff asked what she would like to eat and the food was prepared accordingly. In those days, dog food was not known in Europe and my mother always cooked for Gigi. The hotel staff also volunteered to look after her on a regular basis, whenever we wanted to go somewhere without her. We were used to this type of dog friendly atmosphere in Germany and delighted to find it extended south as well.

finale ligure
Me, age 13 with Gigi in Finale Ligure ©DDB

Although we were there over 45 years ago, it appears not much has changed in Finale Ligure, judging by this recent video. Unfortunately, most photos we had disappeared, so this will give you a flavour of it:

Finale Ligure is ~83 km east of San Remo, home of the renowned Music Festival.

It was a lovely holiday, made even better by the presence of our beloved Gigi. ♥

Have you ever travelled with your pets?
Was it a good experience? Where did you go?

Looking forward to your comments!


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Debbie D.
Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as "The Doglady". Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal "hippie/rockchick". Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!
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51 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: “F” is for FINALE LIGURE

  1. You had some marvelous experiences in your life!

    They say “you can never go back,” and I think that’s because either the place has changed – or you have. It’s never exactly as it is in our minds. But there’s something reassuring in the constancy of a place – it’s not that change is bad, but that change too often results in a depressing, global sameness.

    America is known for being the great “melting pot,” but this business of melting isn’t so charming when the character of a place or its people are lost. Why bother to travel if you’ll just find the same restaurant chains you have at home, or the same objects in shops – all “made in China”? (No offense to China, but if that’s what I wanted to shop for, I could…go to China, and might have more incentive to do so! Or I could stay home, save money, and shop at Wal-Mart.) It’s nice to see places that resist this kind of change and keep their local character, while still welcoming people (and their pets!)

    1. Yes, I’ve had some interesting adventures over the years and hope to have a few more, yet. 🙂 Europeans are intent on preserving their rich history and prefer restoration to renovation, in most cases. I revisited my birthplace in Germany after 41 years away and it was almost exactly as I remembered it! (See “H” is for Home Town). The changes here in North America are quite rapid and not necessarily for the better. There’s a building boom going on where I live; row on row of generic, cookie cutter, three story townhouses. Ugly, ugly, ugly! 😛 Thanks for visiting, Holly.

    1. Welcome to The Den. 🙂 I had been to France before, but this trip was from Germany to Switzerland and then from Switzerland to Italy. Our French trip included Strasbourg, Versailles and Paris. Magnifique! 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

  2. So dreamy! All your travel posts make me want to be there, Debbie. I love it when places don’t change. Somehow – helps keep the faith 😀

    1. Many places in Europe resist change Vidya, as you’ll see when we get to “H”. Glad you like the travelogue. I’m enjoying reliving these experiences, as well. Thanks for visiting.

  3. You look tres chic at age 13 with your petit chien! I took one of those hair-raising bus rides in the Italian Alps and that’s exactly what the driver did. I remember the bus horn had a crazy melody and all I kept thinking was “the bus driver around the curve is tooting his horn too, and we’re going to run head-on into each other while the drivers macho out on their horns”. Someone could torture me today with the distinctive sound of that horn!

    1. You know exactly what I’m talking about then, Sammy! 🙂 Our driver’s horn had no melody, but it was loud. Thanks for visiting.

    1. Italy is magical! ♥ More about Italy when we get to “I”. They were so nice to our dog; that was a nice bonus. 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

  4. Ah yes, I, too, have made those long trips through Switzerland to Italy in a bus. I used to love them, because they ARE so breathtakingly beautiful. We also went through Switzerland to get to Germany. Fantastic views. All those beautiful waterfalls. I get shivers just thinking about it. I’ve never been to Finale, though. We usually went to Rimini or Ancona. Thank you for sharing. 😀

    1. Rimini and Ancona must have been nice, too! 🙂 The scenery makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it? Thanks for visiting.

  5. My husband and I like to joke that my dogs were more well traveled than some people. My favorite is Back when my dog Bella and my other now deceased dog Bocce were puppies we took them to new Orleans with us. We couldn’t get a few feet without someone stopping us. One woman, in full Prada dropped to her knees and exclaimed “oh my god, puppy wuppy doodle heads”. I am looking forward to taking the new puppy on some adventures with me starting this summer.

    1. Welcome to The Den, Diana. 🙂 Your puppy adventures sound like fun. That was the only time we took our dog along and it was a great experience. Thanks for visiting.

  6. Your boarding school was at this awesome place!! Wow…how did you manage to study? 😉 The bus ride seems so scenic! 🙂

    1. The boarding school was in Switzerland. We travelled from there to Italy by bus. It was a scenic ride, but a little nerve-wracking too. LOL Thanks for visiting. 🙂

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂 It was a memorable trip, made even better with our beloved Gigi along. Thanks for visiting.

  7. Glad you found a place that welcomed pets. I’ve often wondered how hard it would be to leave a pet home when one went on holidays. That bus ride sounded scary.

    1. Yes, we were fortunate. Many places allow pets, but some don’t. There are alternatives for people who must travel without their pets. I look after other peoples’ dogs in my home. It’s like a little “doggie commune” here and the dogs love it. 😀 The bus ride was a little nerve-wracking, but the scenery made up for it. Thanks for visiting.

  8. Loved the bus ride, greenery and finally Finale Ligure itself. What lovely people to love Gigi so much 🙂 The bus driver leaning on the horn at turns:) reminds me of our Indian ones, they r a hair raising species too.

    1. I think all bus drivers fall under that category! LOL 🙂 Yes, our dog was so well cared for there and we had a wonderful time. Thanks for visiting.

  9. I have never had pets so never traveled with one..but you have been to so many places no? You must be having a treasure chest of these memories …

    1. Yes, I have been to many places, but that was the only time travelling with our dog. Memories are what sustain us when we get old. 😉 Thanks for visiting.

  10. The pictures are lovely, and the description of bus ride is fun to read! Maybe some day you will have such a ride in some hilly destination in India and then you will have something to compare 😉 Indian bus drivers can be a breed apart!! Thanks for this delightful post!

    1. It would be interesting to visit India one day, but I am very far away. 🙂 Greek bus drivers are amazing, with all the intense traffic and narrow streets. So skilled! Thanks for visiting and have a great week.

  11. I used to travel with dogs, years ago. Then I found out how difficult it was on them to fly on airplanes so I stopped. But I have lots of funny stories about them in airports — you just brought that back to memory. THANK YOU

    1. Glad this triggered some funny memories for you, Carol. 🙂 It was the only time we ever travelled with our dog and thankfully, it was a good experience. Thanks for visiting,

  12. sounds like an interesting place. I don’t think that there are many pet friendly places so am glad that you found one.
    In fact your today’s post reminded me of an article on rise of restaurants which did not allow kids let alone pet.

    1. There are many more pet friendly places now, than there used to be, especially in northern Europe. I remember going out to dinner in Germany and taking our dogs along. 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

  13. Debbie, I loved reading about your bus ride and your cherished memories… Very enjoyable! They are treasures aren’t they? The scenery looks awesome. Funny about Gigi 🙂 Thanks for the ride today – and looking forward to more:-) Hugs

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Eli. Travelling makes for great memories. 🙂 Thanks for visiting and have a great week.

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