How many of the five lands on the Ligurian Sea can you see in 24 hours? If you're John and me you can see three. Well, two and a half.
After Pisa we caught a train to Monterosso, the northern most town of the famed five. The beaches were covered with sunbathers blanket to blanket and chair to chair. We went to check in to our Airbnb and were given a hotel room before getting it straightened out and moving to our apartment. Once settled we went out for a stroll along the water with several stops for drinks, snacks and people watching before heading into the old part of town for dinner.
The scene is like you imagine. Houses painted in varying shades of yellow, pink and salmon, green shutters and cobblestone streets. We did two loops of old town making our decision of where to eat based on who was open Sunday and had space outside for two spontaneous diners. I had gnocchi with prawns that seemed to be 90% head and legs and John got branzino which the waitress filleted tableside.
After our meal we walked to a wine bar where I got a lemon spritz, 3 parts prosecco and 1 part limoncello. They grow lemons in these parts so how could I resist? While we were there, the annual parade of drunk, singing fisherman celebrating the lemon harvest stopped to serenade us. Not sure if that's *exactly* what was going on but the proprietor said it was fisherman, gave them a bottle of wine and danced with them. They were wearing lemon peels on their glasses and took their singing to the church piazza where it turned into a giant dance party, which we joined for awhile. What a treat!
This morning we got coffee in Monterosso then caught the ferry to Vernazza. Hoo boy, what a zoo! There were multiple tour groups following their respective guides around, people spilling out of every trinket and gelato shop and the rocky beach full of swimmers. Also, tons of people had trekking poles here. Mostly folded up because they had finished trekking in to town but whatever, I felt seen.
We walked around town, made some choices - based on crazy steep staircases - to stay near the water and beat the crowd to an outside table for lunch. I had Tarife (a pasta typical for the area) with pesto. It was a huge bowl but so delicious I ate it all. John took a quick dip in the sea and we got on the ferry to Riomaggiore.
The southernmost, and steepest, of the towns, by the time we arrived we realized we needed to find a cab and get to the station for our train to Florence. After 10 min of walking up hill and realizing we'd never find a place to catch a cab, we hobbled (okay I hobbled) to the tiny train station to get a train to the bigger station. That's why it only gets half credit. With only 3 min to transfer platforms, I'm happy to say we caught our train to Florence. No running necessary.
Though the pictures of Cinque Terre may not do it justice, when I get off this train and back "home" to Florence and the speedy wifi I'll post some.
|Singing fishermen and their lemon glasses.|
|Old town Monterosso.|
|One section of the Monterosso beach scene.|
|Waiting for the ferry to Vernazza.|
|Tarife with pesto and pasta with walnut cream sauce.|
|Pace, Italia, EU|