Tuesday, June 17, 2014

5 Terre

The awesome Hubby and I have now been married 35 years. How did that happen anyway?

To celebrate, we started our vacation in Cinque Terre, Italy.
After a quick visit to the leaning tower of Pisa .....
 (I made John try to straighten it up a bit.)
(Here it is, peaking out from behind the big basilica next to it.)
we hopped a train to La Spezia and then got on the "Milk Train" to the Cinque Terre. Don't ask me why they call it a milk train, but it is basically the local train and we got tickets for on/off  to use while we were there, and then didn't have to worry anymore about how to get around.
Staying at the second most southern of the "Five Terraced" villages, an adorable hilled assembly of colorful houses and various buildings called Manarola, was a really good choice on our part. This picture was our window view from out rented room. About as perfect of a location as we could have possibly dreamed. At least 2 of the other villages would have been great choices too, but it seemed that we couldn't have lucked into a better view/building to stay.
 From the same window in our little "hotel" room, we could take this shot to the right. These terraces have been maintained and farmed for 500 years, and are located all over these hillsides on the coast. They grow grapes, beans, grapes, squash, grapes, figs, citrus, and most anything that we grow in Northern California.
Walking along the village paths we find all sorts of alcoves and treasures for photo opps.

There are also paths connecting the five villages and although one trail was closed due to land slides into the Mediterranean, we were able to successfully hike the "easy" treks.

 Staring off from Monterossa this was one of the most built up areas of the trail.
John is in his photographer mode and we are always lucky when that happens.
Honestly, the guide books say they are easy, but we did not agree. If I can walk a mile in 15 minutes, that is what I consider easy. If it takes me 1 hour and 30 minutes to walk 2 miles, I think it must be a little more difficult. It is not that we had to crawl up any sheer cliffs, but there were thousands of rocky stairs of varying levels and widths, as well as narrow ledges and creeks to ford.

 The mountains go right to the sea. This reminds me a little bit of Big Sur.  We should really take more advantage of living as close to Big Sur as we do. I'll put that into the mind catalog for future use.

 Looking back at Monterosso, which is the most be beachy of the villages with crowded pebbled beaches and wall to wall bodies lying on them.

The next village was only 4 km away and yet it took us 1.5 hours.
This is Vernazza and is also just so quaint and cute. All villages have a church with ringing bell tower in the middle of the town. I'm sure it used to be the most important building for the people so they made each church accessible to everyone.
One thing we always like to do is check out the inside of the churches. Some were fairly simple, but most had some pretty fancy ornate decorations reserved for the best building in town.

 After a nice breakfast of eggs and vegetables, we headed out to the next town of Corniglia. I'm kind of a shiny sweaty girl here.

Another building that each town seemed to have in common was an old walled castle at a high point. Romanesque in nature, they were the lookouts for passers by.
The wild flowers along the way were mentionable. Poppies, scotch broom, all sorts of pretty things.

Here we are approaching the tiny town. This one is up higher on the hill than the other 4, so you have to climb down stairs to get to the beach or the train station. We did notice there was a small shuttle bus between the station and the main area of town, but we of course didn't take that.
 In Corniglia we had lemon granite. Like a slushy but better. What we call granita's I think.
 Finally to the last town of Riomaggiore, where we ate again. I'm seeing a theme here.
 The train between towns is in tunnels most of the way, so the scenery is not part of the ride.
To walk to the train stations you also have to walk through tunnels. This particular pedestrian tunnel is in Riomaggiore.
John, sitting down for a wonderful meal where we just ordered antipasti. We had 12 different types of antipasti - including about 10 different fish dishes. Really unique sea food. And of course lemon gelato to finish it off.

One of the days we took a boat from the 5th town back to the 1st town stopping at each (except Corniglia) as we went.
View from the sea.
Our town of Manarola had some huge rocks that people jumped into the sea from. The girl in the black suit up there could never quite get the courage to take the plunge. She had quite a crowd cheering her on.
 Looking back onto Manarola from the path which is closed up ahead.
Another fun thing about Italy in general is their lack of clothes dryers, or rather their proliferation of clothes lines. This man here is adjusting the laundry from his balcony. We had a line from our window, and it made me want to have one even more in California. The clothes become so fresh and white when hung out in the sun to dry. I've been considering a line since before we redid the back yard at our house. Just can't quite come up with a cool solution in this small brain of mine.
My camera has some really cool settings and this is John experimenting with it.
Such a cool sketch of our little vacation town.

Overall one of the best vacation spots we have ever been too.


No comments:

Post a Comment