California to Jerusalem
Menton Border toAlta Via dei Monti Liguri, Italy

Let your path meander at will.

As we walked into Italy two things changed immediately and dramatically. I could photograph neither. But they are so fundamentally different that I have to mention them here before I show you our pictures. Coffee went from very mediocre to outstanding and croissants (now conetti) went from excellent to barely passing. It is interesting how you can cross a border and food changes so. You have the same ingredients and same equipment but the cooks just are not the same on both sides. Ah, yes, the red table wine is also so much better on the Italian side of the border.

So now enjoy a few pictures. As always I have to choose only 30 from a portfolio of several hundred. Many rejected ones surely deserve to be here but I have to choose....

As we walk east from Menton the standard European border sign tells us Italy is only a kilometer (.6 mile) away. We stop and have our last two croissants at a border bakery as we leave. 17 Oct 10.

We have to walk tight on the sea to enter Italy. The train and road go through the mountain. Here we have made our way up the rocks a bit take one of our final looks back to Menton in France. 17 Oct 10.

The Italian rail line making its way through a town near the sea. I think I like this picture more for the palm trees than for the train track. 18 Oct 10.

These interesting plants with little fruits were around our patio at the B&B where we stayed the night before. 18 Oct 10.

We now are on a section of the Camino between Rome and Santiago with a new name: La Via de la Costa (the Coast Road). This is one of its signs. 18 Oct 10.

As we walked the coast today we passed this botanical garden with so many cacti. With all the euphorbia candelabra (big one just behind sign) I felt like I was back in Eritrea where they were everywhere in the driest areas. 18 Oct 10.

We walked four days of bike trails like this from Menton into Italy. Then they stopped and we went into the mountains. 19 Oct 10.

Here we are still walking along the Med looking past one of the hundreds of Agave plants in seed in this season. 19 Oct 10.

We are on our second full day on the Alta Via del Monti Leguri, a walking path laid our in the mountains above the Ligurian coast. It was our venture away from the coast into the mountains. The first days were up along roads and steep walking paths. The second day began hazy and quiet. 22 Oct 10.

Some sections of the Alta Via were challenging and some outright tough. This is one of the challenging parts. But it was more challenging than it ended up looking in this picture. One of the tough sections had us going down a tree-infested path at about sixty degrees hanging on to the trees like monkeys. As we descended that one, I was mumbling various unflattering words about the designers who laid out the trail. It is good we left our cart in Germany. 22 Oct 10.

Petra poses on the 174 kilometer marker for the trail. It's tame here. 22 Oct 10.

Trails crisscross the mountains in this provincial park and each has its own marker. Ours is the AV. On this section of the trail we shared it with four other trails: the dots, the diamonds, the square, and the bars. 22 Oct 10.

The top of the mountain was littered with communications towers. We planned on staying in a hostel up here until we saw it was nestled among these towers. We had no desire to be microwaved to death as we slept. So we moved a few kilometers down the road to the next hostel. Someone told us later that they are no longer using many of the towers. That's Ok. We were glad to move on. 22 Oct 10.

This section of the path was littered with pine needles and branches. We had to walk from rock to rock, often on rocks we couldn't see. This is surely an easier place to break a leg than where Petra broke hers four days later. 23 Oct 10.

We eventually broke out of the trees and walked in a lot of open mountain grassland like this. 23 Oct 10.

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