Monday, October 23rd, 2000 Manarola, Italy
Slept in till 9:00 am. Ate breakfast in hotel and caught the 10:15 train to Vernazza. While waiting for the train to arrive we chatted further with two single people from our hotel. One gentleman was from Florida and on his second trip to Europe. Probably early 30’s and single; computer programmer. Girl was from Australia and spoke excellent English. We have her e-mail. Her parents are Italian and she has lots of relatives here. This is her third trip. She is doing a three-month trip. Her boyfriend is from Boston and after spending a month with him in Argentina they will be in Boston with his family for Christmas. One wonders sometimes who is paying the bills when they are so young! She’s probably in her late twenty's early thirties.
Train finally arrived about twenty minutes behind schedule, which is not unusual. Made it to Vernazza very rapidly. You get off in the middle of a tunnel; Jim had forgotten and didn’t want to get off! Thankfully, I had read the book a day ago and knew! Get off the train in the middle of the tunnel and walk towards the light! Instructions from Rick Steves. Found the Blue Marlin again and did two loads of wash. Met some great people who were part of a Rick Steve’s tour of Italy that is currently in town. One couple was in the Army and stationed in Germany. They joined the tour in Milan. He is a surgeon specializing in Oral Reconstructive Surgery. He worked on half dozen of the injured seaman from the Cole; a Navy ship that was sabotaged just a few weeks ago near Iraq. We all shared travel notes!
The Blue Marlin also has a computer set up for people to use right in the bar next to the Laundromat . So I went next door while Jim watched the laundry and signed on. Cleaned out the mailbox and read a few letters. Only wrote one to family. There were two people waiting in line to use the computer. Public computers are far and few between. One interesting letter was from Michele about the christening of their new boat! Funny story. Always fun to hear from people. Jim went to the store to get some fruit and toast for lunch and also to the post office for fourteen stamps to mail a postcard to each of the grandchildren. I’m busy writing them!
Finished the laundry and headed towards the train. While I was doing laundry Jim did manage to take a short train trip to the last town and back. Then he stayed on the train when we reached Manarola and went on to see the first town. He got back about 3 PM. I was busy taking photos out the window of the little truck hauling rocks and dirt up our street and didn't hear Jim knock…he was a wee bit upset but I heard his voice as he talked to the owner trying to get another set of keys.
About 4 pm we decided to go to Riomaggiore to the Pharmacy for some more vitamin C tablets and Motrin for Jim’s heel and arm. Walked to the area where the castle used to be first and then down to the train. Thought it would be a nice diversion while we waited for time to go to dinner. It should have only taken us about an hour. No problem going. But, the return trip was something else. Got on the train and when it didn’t stop at Manarola we immediately knew we were in trouble. The trains either stop at all five of the villages or they don’t stop at any of the ones in the middle! Yep! It went all the way to Monterosso Al Mare. Which wasn’t that bad as the space between the towns by train is rather short! But, the wait for a return train was something else. We waited forty-five minutes! The train was nearly a half-hour late so the station was very crowded with tourist and Italians. A fun crowd even though it was inconvenient. Two Italian men started to sing jokes about the train always being late! Never worry about it being early; but it’s often late!
Returned about 7:30 pm and walked straight to the Marina Piccola on the beach for a lovely dinner overlooking the ocean. Jim ate his fill of fish and I enjoyed my spaghetti and salad. The house wine was special as always. We’ve also started to get the sparkling water with gas with our meals in the restaurants; always so tasty and Jim says it helps with digestion?
Walked to the car after dinner. A nice up hill jog to settle the stomach…picked up a few of the bags to take up and picked up the maps to look at tomorrow’s trip back into France. Arrived back at the hotel for the news on TV, computer time for me and showers before heading to bed.