Sunday, October 22nd, 2000 On the road to Cinque Terre
Wonderful night…very quiet. Woke up about 6:30 am. Ate breakfast and out the door by eight. On our way to Manarola, Italy. One of the five towns that make up the area called Cinque Terre. Located on the Italian Coast near France, they are considered the Italian Riviera. Villages are located on a rugged coast, clinging to the sides of the canyons. The colors of the houses are pink, yellow and white. All very picturesque!
Outside of Lucca, Jim noticed parts of what appear to be an ancient aquaduct?? Wants to ask his friend who was born there about it when we get home.
Arrived in La Spezia about 11:30 am. Stopped along the street and asked a man who was sorting through street discards (furniture and mattresses) if we were headed the right way and he confirmed it plus gave us some further directions. Jim saw an information sign and wanted to stop for more directions. He never found the Information Office but I did find a pay toilet in the park that was clean and working! Left La Spezia and headed up the coast towards Manarola. Found it with no problems. Road was great to here. Arrived about ten to twelve. Had to park outside the town and walk in. We knew this and had prepared by putting what we needed in backpacks. There is a shuttle bus but we never seem to be in the right place to catch it so we’ve walked in and out five times so far!! Found our B&B called Da Baranin near the top of the town. Very nice room with Satellite TV which means CNN! We’re here for two nights. Will save 10,000 Lire by making our own bed tomorrow! We are right next to the church so the bells will be interesting tonight. Double windows so that helps reduce the noise in the room.
Walked about half a block and found Trafforia dal Billy. A great restaurant with tables on the outside patio overlooking the town and the ocean. Had some great conversation with two couples from Rhode Island. One fellow spoke fluent Italian…has family outside of Rome. The other man was originally born in Fullerton, California (our first home was located in Fullerton) and raised in San Fernando Valley. Had moved to Boston for school and stayed on the East Coast. Very nice couples. They were staying in youth hostels most of the time. Saw them later in their bathing suits on the rocks at the waterfront. Martha had cold, grilled vegetables: onions, eggplant and squash. Lots of oil but delicious. Jim had Fruit de Mare….fish! squid, shrimp, olives, cheese, etc. All with bread and white wine. A very good lunch.
Walked down into town and saw the local fisherman cutting up a huge marlin that they’d caught today. They were slicing off huge rounds and selling it as they sliced! Guess they’d be called swordfish steaks! They store their boats right on the streets, every morning they lower them with ropes into the sea! There is no dock. People were sun bathing by lying on the rocks in the harbor. May try this tomorrow if it’s still this warm. After Jim watched a road race for an hour on the television we took the car and headed for Vezzuana…Rick Steves favorite one of the five cities. The road became like the Amalfi Coast! Narrow and twisting as we climbed high into the mountain and around the canyons to the other cities. Then we had to go six miles down the hill to reach the cities on the coastline. Finally arrived and found that we had to hike downhill over half mile to reach the city. But we did it! Wanted to find out if they really did have a Laundromat and internet access per information in Rick’s book. Yes, they do! We’re going back tomorrow morning for both but going by the train. The train runs along the coastline through many, many tunnels. Much shorter time wise and I really don’t want to make the drive again.
Arrived back home just after dark. Was so glad we’d navigated the road before it got too dark. Took the bottle of wine in the car (purchased in Fisole) to the room, purchased a pizza to go and had dinner in our room. Also packed the dirty clothes in the backpacks for tomorrow’s train trip. We’re watching the movie Apollo with Tom Hanks in Italian right now on the television.