Hello and welcome to this long read coverage of our stay with Aleid and Bob on the Kabaal. For us this was the first time to visit Bob and Aleid since they departed a year ago. The biggest pleasure in this trip then was to see them in their natural floating habitat. Naturally all this time we had been concerned if they were behaving well and having fun. To any readers with similar concerns: we can confirm they are in optima forma.
The timeline of this blog begins with the pizzas being eaten on Sunday the 7th of august on the terrace of a Sicilian pizzeria. The eaters of said pizzas were unable to stuff all of it in their belly. With the day that would come in mind, Marius wisely decided to put four precious slices of leftover pizza in a jar. On the morning of the 8th of august, after an early flight to Nice for which their warm bed had to be cruelly abandoned at 5:, the pizza was happily eaten on the way to meet our family and hosts Bob and Aleid. With the pizza in the belly and the welcoming arms of Bob and Aleid to wait for us, the day could not have started any better.
After being warmly received in the city we set out for a walk in the historic centre of Nice. For better and for worst, the almost melting temperatures we encountered at our first destination were going to follow us for the next few days of our trip. Much can surely be said about Nice, but we will only say little because we only stayed there for two hours. In this short time we visited an old merchant villa, had a drink, and visited a flea market.
Before lunchtime we were already on our way to our next destination, Cap Ferrat. Weather conditions were favourable and we could open the sails for our first sailing moment!
After a short sail we anchored in the idyllic bay of Cap Ferrat and admired the villas facing the water while taking a refreshing swim. This area of France is very stylish: it is even rumoured that a certain French ex-president owns a family house in the bay. What is instead certain is that the place has a personal connection to our co-captain Aleid. It turns out she spent a summer month in 1981 pushing a baby stroller up the many stairs leading to the villa where she worked as an au-pair. All the memories of those times came back and Aleid told us the stories of the family owning the villa and her summer trips around the area. Once at the top we could admire the bay and see our anchored Kabaal against the blue sea.
Cap Ferrat is rich of mansions and villas, this might be why their owners feel they have to keep ‘chiens méchants’. You would not want people peeking through your gate to look inside (like we did). After a pleasant meal and a little trip with the dinghy, we retired on the boat for a restful sleep. The curtains on the next morning open with a jump in the sea for waking up and freshening-up purposes. We spent the morning idling on the boat, swimming, and chatting. Preparing lunch and the accompanying waves to this process caused a little tummy protests by Sabina who stared blankly at the sea for a while, trying to keep everything in.
After lunch it was time to set sail once more towards our next destination: Menton. In the afternoon we did plenty of walking up and down the spiralling streets and ended up having dinner at a Sardinian restaurant with a chatty host. The evening in Menton was certainly eventful, next to being quite hot. At a classical music concert we were graced by the presence of an illustrious character: Albert, prince of Monaco. Some French people were very excited to see him and one man even stood up two times to observe him from close by.
As the second act of the music was less to Sabina’s musical taste she almost fell asleep two times, lulled by the melodious notes of the man gently snoring next to her. But she was quickly awake again when a woman in the row before the family decided she wanted to lie on the floor as she was feeling (possibly) a bit faint. The Austrian couple next to her, appearing little entertained by this French nonsense, decided to call for the paramedics, who had to convince the lying woman that she should really get up and come lie down in a more appropriate place to get checked up (she was all fine fortunately). In the meantime, her unfazed husband stayed behind to finish listening to the concert.
The next morning we shortly visited the centre of Menton again to get some groceries and became friends with an Italian grocery shop owner, who wished to be retired and felt that the French had ‘robbed’ the Italians of the city. Don’t worry, we will not be getting into colonial French-Italian claims and counterclaims in this blog.
As the days passed and more and more stuff came out of Sabina’s and Marius’ backpacks, we are certain Bob and Aleid were happy to see the pile with the shoes was growing.
Barely out of the port of Menton we crossed the Italian border. The Italian flag was ceremoniously hoisted to signify that the waters of yet another country have been navigated by the Kabaal. At the same time it meant an opportunity for us to welcome Aleid and Bob in Sabina’s ‘patria’.
The Ligurian coast welcomed us with its austere grey rocks rising out of the sea and covered in pine, olive and palm trees as well as with lively towns consisting of palazzi and churches that were less curated compared to the French Riviera but the more authentic for it.
Our first destination in Italy was San Bartolomeo al Mare. From there we headed up by foot to the medieval town of Cervo which combined narrow streets and sea views with oppressive heat – to which we resolutely responded with an aperitivo.
From San Bartolomeo we were all set to cut across the Riviera di Ponente, be it that we discovered that we reached the limits of our maps. To take the waters uncharted would be a bridge too far, therefore we made a stop at the Navionics store in Andora. From there we cruised to Savona, the final destination of the day, on a refreshing tailwind. In Savona, Aleid and Marius found the occasion to sport their new espadrilles which Bob and Aleid had taken along from Ibiza.
At open sea we took our lunch in Ligurian style with focaccia, cheeses, tomato and cucumber – really only the glass of white wine was missing.
From Savona we faced headwinds to Porto Fino, which were eagerly picked up by the Kabaal crew. Arriving at Porto Fino, the small crowded port did not hinder us from making a round to take in the views and confirm that it truly does merit its fame. After finding our anchoring spot we returned with the dingy to go ashore for a round in town, followed by dinner and – not to be missed – gelato. In the meantime, as the evening progressed, we entertained ourselves by admiring the increasingly stylish clothes put on display by the tourists of Porto Fino.
The night combined a rocky swell with club music coming from ashore, but nothing that can’t be remedied by a morning swim and – an absolute highlight – Bob 110% in his element while taking photos from the dingy as we made another round with the Kabaal through the port of Porto Fino.
From Porto Fino we headed back northwest to Genova. This historical centre of sea navigation struck us all with that hustling character that belongs to port cities. Sadly, Genova was also the final leg of our trip with Bob and Aleid and we appropriately closed off with a ‘bonte avond’ and an encore of pistache and nutella croissants on Sunday morning. We cheered to the moments spent together and to the certainty of a next visit to the Kabaal!