A few weeks ago, my partner and his best friend decided to spend two weeks in Finale Ligure as it was recommended to them as a good place for climbing. As this coincided with business meetings in Milan, I was able to join them for four days. Apparently my luck was out for this weekend. Here is the story and a bottom-line on how to ruin your weekend in 10 easy steps:

  1. Go on an early morning run and manage to fall and sratch your knee badly. Be tough and keep running for the last two kilometers though, you will feel tougher afterwards.
  2. Decide to go on a multi-pitch climbing route. Before you find the entrance spot, walk around the shrubs and dornbushes for 1,5 hours up- and downhill, only to find out your route is closed due to nesting birds.
  3. Cook a late-night dinner and put too much salt into the boiling water for cooking noodles. Feel sick afterwards.
  4. When you do manage to go climbing, take a fall that knocks the air out of your lungs.
  5. Don’t assist your team in finding a climbing area and only find out at the spot that this is way too high for your performance level and end up belaying for the rest of the day.
  6. Take your time in the morning with breakfast, espresso, bathroom time, another espresso and packing your gear, go to your destination by car only to find out that this is a July-weekend and all of Italy has chosen Finale Ligure to go to the beach. You will not find a parking space and have to find an alternative plan.
  7. Get into a fight with your partner.
  8. Make a rush to get your train, only to find out it has 40 minutes delay and you have to wait bathed in sweat.
  9. When you do want to go climbing, find out at the entrance spot, that you have forgotten your most important climbing device at the campsite, possibly in the trunk of your friends‘ car who is on his way to Genova. So it’s not within reach for you. Make alternative plans on the spot and try not to be disappointed for ruining your last climbing day.
  10. Pick up a rental car from Europcar. Park it and come back to the car two hours later. Try to open it and discover that the wireless key is broken and the manual does not fit into the keyhole as someone has tried to break the car before (or on the day, but you don’t know that). After several hours of waiting and multiple calls to the Road Assistance service, you are left with two choices: let the tow truck (which shows up after the closest rental car station has already closed for the day) take the car away with your phone, money and climbing gear inside or smash the window to extract your belongings. Do the latter one with half the village surrounding you whilst trying to talk you into trying the key again (because you have not tried before or enough).


The bottom line: the most important gift you can give to yourself is keeping a smile on your face and make the most of the day. Also you will meet many nice people who may not speak your language or one you share well enough, but they will try to help you nonetheless! The weekend was still very very nice and I enjoyed the time with my friends in Finale Ligure. I even managed to practice some of my free-style swimming practice in the ocean, so definitely a bonus! Also I can recommend the restaurant Al Vecchio Mercato in Finale Ligure – they have the best pizza and the nicest interieur ­čÖé

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