The first time I saw Camogli was nothing more than a quick glimpse from a train in 2006… and I was smitten.
As the train to Milan slowly pulled into Camogli, I could catch brief flashes between the trackside buildings of a beautiful pastel cluster of houses by the sea. “What is that? Where are we?” I thought. I peered out the window hoping to catch more of this sight but it was gone as the train pulled into a rather plain station. My train car didn’t come to a stop in front of any signs, so I had no idea where we were until the train pulled out of the station, passing a sign reading “Camogli”. I quickly wrote it in my travel journal. When I got to a computer in Milan 3 hours later, my research had made me wish that I had gotten off the train! I scrolled through images of its seaside boardwalk lined with restaurant patios and colourful buildings, its long stretch of beach on the shimmering Ligurian Sea, and the historic Church of Santa Maria Assunta with its coral-coloured belltower. Oh well, maybe next time!
Two years later, my husband and I sped past it again on the train to Milan. At one point, my husband exclaimed “What’s that!” and as I looked up from a book I just caught a flash of the church tower. The train didn’t stop and I couldn’t remember the name “Camogli” to tell him. I did tell him about my first encounter with the town also from the train, how it had blown my mind and that I wrote its name in my journal so as not to forget… but alas, I had forgotten. He laughed and said that there were just too many hidden gems in this country and we’d never remember or see them all.
Jump ahead two more years, and in 2010, I’m on the train heading this time from Milan to the Cinque Terre with 2 friends. I was reading and by chance looked up as we pulled into the Camogli train station. It instantly hit me “Camogli! The buildings! The sea!”. I excitedly told my friends to get ready to see something gorgeous out the window just after we leave the station. Luckily we were on the side of the train that would get those precious glorious glimpses as the train passed. And we did see them, oooing and ahhing. People around us probably thought we were easily over-stimulated travellers. But again, I made a note-to-self in my 2010 journal – “Visit Camogli!!!”
It wasn’t until 2018 that I finally planned a 3-day stop in Camogli – in that elusive town that had bewitched me from the train! And despite the years of yearning, as many things do, Camogli did not disappoint. Especially when I’d open the hotel room window each morning to this fantastic view, the view in my new miniature painting – the seaside boardwalk, the long stretch of beach, the shimmering Ligurian Sea, and the pink-coral campanile of Santa Maria Assunta.