Camogli, June 2017
The problem with traveling to Italy is that you need to choose a place. There are just so many awesome and gorgeous options on the table. High on anybody’s wish list should be the region of Liguria. While it’s best known for the UNESCO world heritage site Cinque Terre, there are a lot of other jewels that one should not miss. One example is the area around the town of Camogli just outside of Genoa. Together with my family, we decided to head down that way at the beginning of June to explore the terrain before the bus loads of summer tourists arrive.
Our entire trip took eight days and we stayed in four different places (three days in Camogli). That sort of travel requires smart packing if you want to stay sane. Being a passionate Fuji vs classic DSLR photographer most certainly helps. My equipment was light and versatile: The Fuji X-T1, X70, a GoPro Hero 5, the Fuji 18-55mm, Fuji 55-200 and a Samyang 12mm wide angle. A compact ND filter-set by Haida and a Singh-Ray polarizing filter easily fit between the cracks of my bag. To round things off, the light-weight Manfrotto Be-free tripod helped keep my cameras stay stable when required.
Camogli itself is a picturesque town. Not too big, just about the right size. There is plenty of life in the streets without feeling squeezed. I personally loved the plethora of colorful houses lining the streets.
The most prominent area is the beach promenade. You might have seen photos of it. It’s a fun area to swim, hang-out, eat and drink. Our hotel was right in the harbor and it was easy for me to take photographs at different times of the day. While I am a big fan of the blue hour, a photo from early morning ended up being my favorite:
When you go to Camogli in summer, I highly recommend taking a 15 minute boat ride to the San Fruttuoso monastery. It’s a fantastic area to hang out in and swim. The beach is small but the water is gorgeous and quiet.
The big star, however, is the famous Christ of the Abyss statue at the bottom of this bay. To get there, we rented a kayak and pedalled for a something like a quarter of a mile. Buoys mark the spot but it’s still not easy to find the statue if you don’t have proper dive equipment (it’s pretty far down). Visibility was excellent on the day that we went but you can still barely see the statue from the top. To get this photo I had to free dive with my trusted GoPro Hero 5. Good fun.
Camogli offers other adventures as well. There is a wonderful network of trails in the hills around Monte Portofino. I had the pleasure of doing a few trail runs in the early mornings. The views are stunning but the trails are definitely quite technical.
On the other side of the hill, you will find the famous jet-setter town of Portofino. You can go there either by train and bus or by cruising your 100M $$$ yacht into the harbor (if you choose that route, make sure to blast your sound system for maximum recognition effect). The neighboring town of Santa Margharita is not too shabby either.
Last but not least, there is the important topic of calorie management. Liguria offers an amazing cuisine and the restaurants we tried in Camogli paid justice to its reputation. One of the staple items is the pesto which is made with fresh basil from the Genoa area.
Traveling light with the Fuji
My beloved Fuji equipment did not disappoint on this trip once again. There is no point in discussing the fantastic image quality at this point. But what I do want to mention is the size/ weight to image quality ratio: I love having such a powerful tool in my hands that is so easy to carry and handle. Liguria is an attractive tourist destination and I witnessed a ton of folks schlepping huge DSLRs around. One such tourist actually carried two backpacks (on in the front, one in the back) along with a redwood tree style tripod in one hand. Funny enough, my wife witnessed the sweating guy attempting to setup his armada one evening while he gave me disapproving and pitiful looks over my inadequate, amateurish Fuji X-T1. By the time he was ready to shoot, I had already packed up and left. 1.5 cold and tasty gin & tonics later, my wife and I not only enjoyed the rest of the gorgeous sunset but we also had a giggle when we saw that photographer log his two tons of equipment back to wherever he had to go.
Would I come back to Camogli. Yes, anytime. Awesome place.
P.S.: Thanks to my friend and colleague Vito for providing us with so many recommendations.