Cinque Terra and Piedmont 2010

Old May 30th, 2010, 01:46 PM
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Cinque Terra and Piedmont 2010

Day One – Travelling and Wine

The alarm woke us up with its insistent beeping at the ungodly hour of 5am. We’d only gotten to bed at 12:30 the night before so weren’t particularly perky at that hour, especially with a full day of travel ahead of us.

It took us an hour to get ready, two hours to get to Stanstead airport to wait two hours for our flight. Two and a half hours after we took off (most of which I slept through) we landed in Genoa – oddly the runway of the Genoa airport is built right out over the sea, you can’t see land until the plane is a couple dozen feet above it, which is pretty low when it looks like it’s going to be a water landing.

From Genoa airport we caught the bus into the main part of town so that we could sit and wait for the train. We were lucky enough to sit in front of an older couple who didn’t stop complaining the entire ride – the instructions at the bus ticket machine weren’t clear enough (we bought our tickets without any problems), the instructions given by the bus driver weren’t clear (seemed okay to me), no one could understand when she spoke Italian to them (I speak a little Italian – enough to know that what she was speaking wasn’t it)...I’ve never come so close to actually punching someone to make them stop talking while on vacation.

We finally made it to Genoa Prinicpe train station with absolutely no violence perpetrated on anyone, which was quite an achievement as far as I was concerned. We had a horrid little lunch in the train station while we waited for our train (why is it that train stations always have the most dire cafes?). The train itself was somewhat uneventful – two hours winding along the Ligurian coast on our way to Manarola, the fourth of the five villages of the Cinque Terra.

The directions from the train station to our little hotel couldn’t have been simpler to follow – leave the train, go through a tunnel, turn right, then turn right again, walk to the last house before the sea. The room is smallish but nicely decorated with a full-sized bed, closet with mini fridge and safe, and a full bathroom (toilet, sink, full size shower, but no hot water as it turns out).

On our was to the hotel, we’d stopped at a little grocery store to pick up essential supplies – a couple bottles of wine. After dropping off our bags, we walked up the stairs to the little balcony overlooking the ocean and sat down for a quick drink. An hour (and a bottle of wine) later, we headed back into town to meet our friends Sam and Chelsea for dinner – oddly we’d discovered a few days before leaving that we’d both be in the same town at the same time.

We found them without too much bother (as the town is ridiculously small) and made reservations at one of the five restaurants for dinner later that evening. In the meantime, we went up to their room overlooking the town for a glass or two of wine while we watched the sunset.

After the wine, dinner was excellent. We’d heard that the food in the Cinque Terra wasn’t that good, but our first meal was excellent and relatively cheap. I had anchovies in lemon sauce (not fishy or salty at all – definitely not tinned anchovies) and Jamie had swordfish carpaccio – I’m not sure if swordfish is a local fish but it’s certainly on all the menus. We followed that by the mixed seafood grill for me and pesto lasagne for Jamie (pesto being a local speciality). Both were excellent – far better than expected. Unfortunately the four bottles of wine that the four of us shared on top of the bottle of wine we had before dinner went a bit to our heads, so after a long supper (we closed the place down), Jamie and I headed back up the hill for bed. Apparently we had another glass of wine on the balcony, however I don’t recall this at all – the evidence (open wine bottle, used glasses) though speaks for itself.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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Day Two – Walking and Sunburn

We had to get up fairly early this morning – we hadn’t actually met anyone the previous day when we checked in as the owner of the hotel wasn’t available. Again the alarm went off far too early (although it was 8:15 this time, rather than 5am) and we were forced to get up against our will.

We met the lady who I think we were supposed to – it was a little hard to tell as she spoke almost no English and my Italian has really disappeared in the last 3 years. At any rate, she took our passport details and filled in the relevant paperwork.

We were a bit peckish at this point, and I was in dire need of a cup of coffee, so we headed into town to look for somewhere to have breakfast. We found a place just above the main harbour and had cappuccinos and pastries and wondered if the cloud cover would clear up.

After breakfast we quickly went down to the water to see how cold it was. It’s the Med, so I was surprised that it felt a bit cold. Oh well. We walked back up the hill and through the tunnel to the train station and the start of the Via del Amore walk to Riomaggiore, the next town from us. We bought our slightly expensive tickets which gave us three days access to the paths between the towns (€10 each – not too bad for 3 days I suppose) and headed off toward the horizon.

They say that hell is other people, and I’m pretty sure they were all on that path this morning. It was queue after queue after queue the whole way. I was ready to leap off the edge most of the walk over, with tour after tour going past (why do the insist on taking up the WHOLE path?) and large groups of elderly slow-walkers ahead of us.

We finally made it to Riomaggiore and found all the people that weren’t yet on the path standing around at the entrance to the path. Took us 5 minutes just to get through the horde, again without violence on my part, which was a major achievement.

We took the long way round to the main part of town in an effort to avoid the crowd (and we didn’t see the shortcut to be honest). We got into the main part of town and relatively quickly found a bank machine (the one in Manarola was broken and were had no cash). We got some money and walked down to the harbour. Not that much going on down there, and we were getting hungry, so after sitting on a rock for a bit watching the water (and some young people across the harbour mix champagne and orange juice in plastic cups) we went back up to the Co Op grocery store to buy a picnic lunch.

I spent some time throwing some peaches around (okay, so I dropped them) and buying various implement of lunch including water and orange juice (we’re so healthy). We then went to a take away pizza place and bought some pizza made on focaccia bread and walked to the rocky beach just past Riomaggiore. Lunch was fantastic, and the peach was possibly the best piece of fruit I’ve ever eaten – it tasted like actual sunshine, despite the soft bit on one side from where I’d dropped it.

After lunch we felt that it was time to head back to Manarola, but were not looking forward to the walk back with all the people. It turned out that the big crowd was only there for the morning – there were very few people out by the afternoon. It hardly took us any time to get back to the hotel and settle in for an afternoon of reading on the balcony in the sun, drinking wine and relaxing.

A few hours and a sunburn later, we went back into town to have dinner at a restaurant recommended by Sam and Chelsea the previous night. Not as good as dinner the evening before, but still not bad. Dinner was followed by a few minutes getting drenched in the surf, then a bottle of wine at the little local bar, with live guitar and an owner with a predilection for singing in Italian – a classic end to a classic day.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 03:52 PM
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So enjoying this, we will be in Manarola May 2011. Please, can you give the name of the hotel you stayed at and do you recall the names of the restaurants you ate at? I would like to take some notes. Manarola sounds so nice, especially like the wine on the balcony at sunset (or any other time!!). We will look forward to reading the rest of your report. Cheers.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 11:18 PM
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Enjoying your report

Cinque Terra Its on my list!
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Old May 31st, 2010, 05:25 AM
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Thank you for your report, we are considering adding it to our itinerary for trip to Italy next May. My concern was crowds so I am glad to hear that the afternoon had fewer folks on the trails.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 12:16 PM
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Very entertaining report!
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Old May 31st, 2010, 12:45 PM
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We'd definately recommend our rooms - I think the best location in Manarola overlooking the ocean - clearly visible in all the photos I've seen of the city from the ocean. It's called "Arpaiu" http://www.arpaiu.com/english.html - our room is "Aargan" which we think is the best room...

Don't know what the restaurants are called, will take a look tomorrow morning when we go for breakfast
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Old May 31st, 2010, 01:43 PM
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Day Three – Walking, Walking, Walking

Jamie decided that despite our talk of having a Monday morning lie-in, that 8:30am would be a good time to get up. Something about not being tired anymore and unable to sleep...I dunno, I was in the middle of a very odd yet intriguing dream involving a deserted house, neoprene knee braces, and ill-fitting baseball caps.

We hadn’t been overly impressed with our €5 per person breakfast the previous day so decided after getting a move-on that we’d try something new. €6 total at the new place next door to the expensive place got us a cappuccino each and a better croissant – this one with apricot jam in, as is the Italian style.

After breakfast, Jamie forced me onto the trail towards Corniglia, the next village along in the chain of five villages. We immediately got lost, as we followed the signs someone had posted with little arrows pointing to what turned out to be the high road/red route, rather than the much easier/lower blue route. It didn’t take us long hiking up into the mountains to realize our mistake and head back down to the lazy route – to be fair, both of us were wearing our flip-flops and definitely weren’t prepared for full-on mountaineering.

The hike turned out to be more difficult than the one between Manarola and Riomaggiore, which was a full-paved and bar-enhanced stroll by contrast. The Manarola-Corniglia path was much less paved and didn’t include a bar at all, a major disappointment as we hadn’t thought to pack water or wine for the trip and developed a massive thirst on the way.

After finding the correct path, we reached the train station at Corniglia without much drama and were presented with a moral dilemma – wait for the lazy touristic bus to take us up the hill into the town, or brave the 360-odd stairs up. Jamie, being the patient fan of waiting for things, including public transit like buses, insisted that we take the stairs. It was a long way up. A very long way.

It turned out that Corniglia, after all those stairs, wasn’t actually all that special. We checked out the views from Piazza Santa Margharita and from the tower at the top of the village before stopping for a slice of pizza (in the Cinque Terra, they make pizza on focaccia bread – it tastes even better than it sounds, if such a thing is even possible) and sat down to wait for the bus back down to the train station. It took a long time, so long that we decided not to wait, and walked back down the stairs.

We bought our tickets for the train, validated them, and rushed over to the appropriate platform for the train over to Vernazza, the second village on our tour for the day. It was at this point that we checked the train schedule. For reasons that remain unexplained, the train schedule in the Cinque Terre is a bit erratic. There are times during the day when there is a train every 10 minutes or so, and other times when there is an hour or two gap between them. Guess which we managed to get?

An hour of patiently sitting later, we caught the train to Vernazza. Three minutes later, we were there. Our hour of waiting apparently saved us two hours of major off-pavement mountain hiking, not appropriate for sandals and lazy people. I think it was worth it, and not just because I had an ice cream while I was waiting.

It seems that all of the people that were annoying on the path to Riomaggiore the previous day had decided to make their way to Vernazza. It was the biggest and most touristy of the four villages we’d visited and we weren’t immediately impressed, although to be fair I think the villages are at their best in the evenings when the tours and large groups of Italian students go home. We walked through town towards the harbour, noticing the end of the walking path from Corniglia on our way...poor sods who’d decided to walk it.

There had been rain over night the previous night and the waves had drastically increased in size over the previous day – there wasn’t much swimming going on in the protected beach area, and quite a bit of the harbour was blocked off by red ropes and massive waves.

We found a restaurant right on the waterfront and had a tasty lunch of bruschetta and pizza and possibly some wine, just for something different. We had a nice chat to some Americans who were sitting at the table beside us, and we all agreed that the local yokels who chose to disregard all the red barriers and jump off the end of the jetty into the waves were probably idiots. Pretty much everybody who saw them do it stood up in horror, and one tourist guy ran to try to save them (he had the look of a professional lifeguard about him). They stayed in the water for about 10 minutes, then popped back out onto the jetty like the penguins did in that movie about penguins. I got into the act as well, sitting as close as I could to the breaking waves without actually putting my life in much actual danger. I’m a dare devil, I know – “carefully considered risk taking” is my middle name (my parents thought Danger was too cliché for a middle name).

Lunch and adrenaline-rush had both been checked off our list of things to do for the afternoon. All that was left for Vernazza was a trip up the bloody mountain to take some more pictures. The recent month of torrential rains meant that the trail from Vernazza to Monterosso was closed, but this being Italy nothing prevented us from walking quite a way up it to get our shot – the things we do for our photography.

Our train timing was only slight better on the way home – we managed to get to the station, buy tickets, validate them, and rush onto the train, sort of. I made it on without a problem, but Jamie got tangled up in a group of elderly Americans who were having a very loud discussion questioning if they were on platform One right under the sign indicating that they were on platform one, and more crucially for Jamie, right in front of the door to the train. It closed while Jamie was about half-way through getting on. This was not good. She managed to squeeze through with only a large black mark on her arm which I’m sure will become a bruise and a squished camera bag (fortunately the camera wasn’t in the bag).

The train back to Manarola was definitely the way to go, rather than the death march we would have faced had we chosen to walk it. We stopped back at the room for some quality time on the balcony with a bottle of wine and a fresh application of suntan lotion. It was decided that there are few ways to spend an afternoon/early evening that come even close to comparing to the sheer awesomeness of wine, sun, loungy-style deck chairs, and wine.

Dinner was up the hill at Dal Billy (I think Billy is a local type of lobster, but I could be making that up – have I mentioned the wine?). We’d heard great things about this restaurant and had booked our table on Saturday night to make sure we could get a spot outside. We were seated quickly and the waiter recommended the mixed seafood platter to start as a sharing plate. It was excellent and we were excited about the main dish based on the quality of the starter. Unfortunately the shared pasta with crab didn’t live up to expectation. By the time we got through cracking all the bits of crab and getting the meat out, the pasta had gone cold. Beyond that, they had cracked a fair bit of crab before serving it and we both spent most of the main course picking little bits of crab shell out of our mouths. Not the most enjoyable main course we’d ever had.

Dinner finished, we walked back down the hill for a nightcap of wine on the balcony. We were both tired, but very relaxed and happy with the day – two villages, a relatively strenuous hike, an ice cream, some wine, some carefully considered danger...what more could one ask for?
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Old May 31st, 2010, 02:37 PM
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I was in Liguria the week of 17 May. The Blue Path was closed from Manorola to Monterosso.

I didn't try any of the other paths. Didn't have maps showing the other paths so my CT card was kind of wasted.

I had an uneventful bus ride from GOA to Genoa Brignole station, which is further away from the airport.

Train was full of Sampdoria supporters. The club had won the last match of the season and had qualified for CL next season.

Stayed in Deiva Marina, which is about 2 or 3 stops north of Monterosso. Rooms were cheap and nice with a balcony near a pool. But yeah those rooms with sea views sure look tempting. Looked like you could just knock on the doors of a lot of these places in CT and see if they had any vacancies for a night or two.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 04:52 PM
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Thanks for the info on the food and accommodation - that one is on our short list, we were thinking of renting the apartment though. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. The other room we are keen on is run by the brother of the guy that has Billy's Trattoria - I think its next door http://ariadimare.info/sitoeng.html - it has a fabulous looking balcony with THAT view.

It all sounds just amazing. Do they have any of the wine shops there where you fill up your own bottles?
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Old May 31st, 2010, 11:38 PM
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The Billy restaurant is back a bit in the village so your view is over the city and then the ocean. The deck at the Arpaiu is right on the ocean, it is literally the last house before the sea on the cliff, so unobstructed view of the sea. We prefer our location, but the Billy's view is still nice as well of course!
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Old Jun 1st, 2010, 12:02 PM
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Day Four – Sunburn, Anyone?

For some reason, Jamie let me sleep in this morning. She was evidently awake at 8am, but let me sleep until 9:30 before she got bored watching the vista from the balcony. We got ready (well, I got ready) and we walked the long way into town. Our first stop was for a pair of those touristic beach mats made of hay that smell of the countryside and/or cheap seagrass carpets – we were getting ready for an Italian Riviera Beach Day.

After our new traditional breakfast of a cappuccino and apricot-jam-filled croissant at the place beside the place with the nice view of the harbour, we caught the train to Monterosso; the town with the nicest beach.

Jamie managed to get onto the train without getting stuck in the door and the train ride was uneventful. I’m not sure that there was much going in Monterosso other than the beach – I think it’s the only of the five villages with a mostly non-rocky village (not in the sweaty guy from Philly sense, although there very well may have been some sweaty guys from Philly there). We claimed a spot on the last bit of sand left (other than the pay beach), despite the construction going on 10 feet behind us.

Fortunately the Italian tradition of the afternoon extended lunch/siesta saved us, and soon after we sat down the workmen left for their lunch/naps. The beach, despite being somewhat pebbley, was amazing, with great views of both the ocean and along the waterfront to the village. The water, as is to be expected of the Mediterranean was warm and amazingly clean (as far as we could see at any rate).
Despite all of the SPF 25 we liberally applied, after a couple of dips in the sea and a few hours lounging on the beach, we were both feeling a bit toasty (okay, we are both the shade of bright red only people who have lived in the gloom and cloud cover of London for several years can attain). We retired to a bar just beside one of the private sections of the beach for refreshments, which may have included wine, just for something different. We also had a very tasty bowl of fresh sliced strawberries in lemon juice with sugar – can’t get much better than that, if I’m honest.

We spent a few hours trying to work out how we could afford to move to a place that had sunshine and the Mediterranean within easy reach while drinking our wine and eating our strawberries. Nothing confirmed, but several promising plans made (lottery winnings placing high on the list of likely contenders), we made our way back to the train station to catch the 4:07 back to Manarola.

Other than a very odd family in the seats beside us (the son nibbled on his mother’s ear, then she returned the favour, all while dad watched – creepy doesn’t even begin to describe it), the train ride was as expected. The grocery stores in town (there are only two) were closed until 5pm as they are every day, so we went back up to the flat for a glass of wine for Jamie and a bottle of Birra Morretti for me (I’m better at rationing the beverages). We enjoyed the afternoon sun for a bit. Having re-applied the sunscreen, before heading down into town for essential supplies at the grocery store and dinner at the Michelin recommended restaurant in town (Marina Piccola) for dinner
Dinner was very tasty – Jamie started with a classic tomato and mozzarella salad and I had the local anchovy in lemon and oil. I’m not normally a fish fan, especially super fishy tasting fish like anchovy, but this version is really tasty. For mains, Jamie had trofie (a type of local pasta) with artichoke and scampi, and I had cuttlefish with chick peas. Both were excellent, and the view of the setting sun over the Manarola harbour was incredible.

After dinner, we grabbed a cup of gelato each and sat on the benches above the harbour to enjoy our treat. I have to say, my pistachio was better than Jamie’s mint, although I suspect she might argue with that. Dessert having been consumed, we headed back to the hotel to write our day’s report and enjoy a final glass of wine before bed.
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Old Jun 1st, 2010, 01:16 PM
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Not sure if you are still in Manarola but we are going there in October and am really enjoying your trip blog. We are staying in an apartment called Panorama and we check in above the Tobacco Shop. Just wondering if you have seen this place and if the view is good. Also, the restaurant you mentioned is it Trattoria del Billy?
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Old Jun 1st, 2010, 01:21 PM
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Just another quick question- where are you from? Noticed your question about Transair vs.Air Canada. We live near London, Ontario and are flying Air Canada to Venice in October. Just wonder about the service. I travelled to Barcelone from Detroit on Air France and the service was wonderful- good food and wine- unlimited.
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Old Jun 1st, 2010, 03:26 PM
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Thanks for the info re the rooms, I get your point about the position. Its been really helpful reading your report, enjoying it immensely.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 08:04 AM
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Loving your journal. We will be arriving in the CT in 3 weeks and staying in Monterosso. How is the train service in the evenings? Can you successfully have dinner in one town and travel back to your lodgings?
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Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 09:21 AM
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I've been following your witty and very entertaining post since you started on Sunday, with great interest. Particularly because of your great writing on the wine and food and an obviously similar approach to vacationing. We were also just there as well! We were "just down the street" from you -- bearing in mind that a "street" in Manarola, is an imprecise concept meaning a ramp (usually at 30 to 45 degrees or more) a multitude of stairs or an angled paved pathway, interspersed with a variety of metal grates, platforms, sudden changes in elevation, protruding construction or other challenges. We were at Alla Porta Rosa around the other side of the hilltop garden (with the pyramid)from May 13th to the 22nd. We checked out the area above and around Arpaiu on a walk one day, and indeed you had a great, and enviable, vantage point.

Glad to hear we weren't the only ones contributing to the local wine economy with such enthusiasm. From your posts so far, we pretty well did everything you did in Manarola and CT (including the morning coffee and pastry routine) but my wife did manage to avoid getting caught in train doors and I'm pretty sure I DID see a big sweaty Italian guy in a track suit in Monterosso that looked a little bit like Stallone - but his Italian was too good to be from Philly.

Look forward to the rest of your posts. Great writing!

Cheers

Dave
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Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 11:00 AM
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@Nanaof7 - if the tobacco shop is the one we saw, the view probably will be mostly of the village, rather than the sea. On the other hand you'll be close to the train, the trail to Riomaggiore, and the resturants of the main part of the village. To answer your other question, we currently live in London UK, however we are originally from Vancouver Canada.

@Michelle - the distance between towns is really small - I think the train from Corniglia to Manarola is only 3 minutes, and I think it takes about 15 or 20 to go from Riomaggiore to Monterosso. The only thing to check before doing dinner in one town and commuting back is when the trains actually run - the schedule is a bit erratic but they do seem to run fairly late.

@everyone else - thanks for the comments!

Also, my lovely wife would like me to point out that I do know it's "Cinque Terre", not "Cinque Terra". Turns out I'm a bit crap at typing.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Day Five – Yes, but where is OUR yacht?

Jamie managed to sleep in today, sort of. We rolled out of bed at almost 9am, me with a significantly fuzzy head. Apparently I’d had more to drink last night that I realized and couldn’t really remember coming home, writing the trip report, or going to bed. Good times, until the hangover kicked in.

Our mission for the day was to visit the town of Santa Margherita Ligure, a little way up the coast from the Cinque Terre, near Portofino. We stopped at the train station to find out when the trains ran before getting breakfast – as it turned out, we had about 5 minutes before the next train to Riomaggiore; from Riomaggiore we could catch another train to Santa Margherita and be there before noon. We rushed over to the platform, caught the train, and made it to Riomaggiore.

It turns out that Riomaggiore is a very busy little village in the morning, and everyone seems to congregate in the piazza shared by the train station, the tourist information office, and the start of the walking path to Manarola. After fighting through the massive and slow moving crowds, we staked out a little patch on the platform. In due course, our train arrived and we pushed on. All the tour groups in the world were already on the train so we had to stand until we got to Monterosso, where most of them got off. We found some seats at that point and had quite a nice trip the rest of the way.

We got off the train in Santa Margherita and made our way down the steps to the harbour front – yes, pretty much EVERYTHING in this part of Italy seems to be either up some stair, down some stairs, or both. We walked along the harbour front, looking at both the ocean view, the cute town itself, and all the yachts and sailboats moored in the place. Some of them where monsters (not quite Capri-style, but some of them were close) – we wondered which one was ours.

We walked pretty much as far as we could along the harbour before we started looking for a place to eat lunch. We were both craving pizza, however we couldn’t really see anything that had it on the menu. We checked out one really expensive place, and another that looked okay but was in an alley with no view, before settling on the uber-touristy bar on the waterfront that we found – so non-descript that I don’t even know the name, although it did have a large sign on the sign advertising their speciality of the house – sex on the beach. Classy, I know. Not our normal venue for lunch, but they did have pizza.

We sat in the bright and sunny dining room watching a few ducks swim around, a bunch of fish in the water, and a whole load of very expensive boats, while we enjoyed our pizza and wine. Not the best pizza in the world, but it had a nice view.

We walked back towards the train station along the beachfront, dipping our toes in the warm Mediterranean water. As with the Cinque Terre, it seems that the beaches in Santa Margherita are mostly rock and not so easy on my sensitive city-boy feet. After rinsing off, we started walking back up the hill to the train station, stopping for a quick gelato on the way. On the stairs back up to the train, I noticed a strange black/brown thing on my foot. On further examination, it appeared that I’d stepped in something black and tar-like, probably on the beach. It had become lodged between two of my toes, and despite a vigorous session with a gelato napkin, I couldn’t manage to shift all of it.

Disturbed and slightly disgusted, we got on the train and found a seat. We both managed to fall asleep on the ride back to Monterosso, which was quiet other than the few minutes of my frantically looking for the train tickets (I’m a creature of habit, however I’d accidently put them in the wrong pocket in my camera bag. Jamie was NOT impressed). We changed trains at Monterosso for the intra-Cinque train and got back to Manarola without even having the damn tickets checked!

We headed up to the balcony to finish off the remains of the wine from last night as well as the beer I’d conveniently put in the fridge the previous day. The sun was a bit hit and miss, large grey clouds looked like they were moving in. I kept having to put my shirt back on, then take it off again, over and over. The wine and beer made it less annoying.

At 6ish, we decided that despite it being very early for dinner in Italy, we were both hungry. We got ready and walked the long way down to the village, stopping briefly to dump the rather embarrassingly large collection of empty wine and beer bottles in the recycle bin at the end of the road. While we fully support recycling, putting the bin in the middle of the road where everyone in the village can see how much you’ve drunk is a bit off-putting.

We stopped in at our favourite of Manarola’s restaurants for dinner – Trattoria Il Porticciolo. We’d had such an excellent meal on our first night in town with Sam and Chelsea that we thought we’d give it another go. We weren’t disappointed. Jamie started with the Caprese salad just to be different, and I had stuffed squid. The salad was as you would expect, but the stuffed squid was amazing – it had a sort of thick ragu/cheese filling in a tomato sauce that was so tasty. The taste of the filling initially overpowered the taste of the squid, but as you chewed the squid came to the front – not rubbery or chewy at all. We followed that up with ravioli for Jamie and Trofie in pesto for me (trofie being a local type of pasta) – both excellent, but so much trofie!

Desert was gelato down at the seats overlooking the harbour – we were both sad about our last night in the Cinque Terre. After gelato, we went down the boat ramp and stood in the breaking waves for a little while, feeling the water of the Med wash over our feet one last time. Maudlin, I know, but it’s an amazing place.

We’ve ended our last evening in the Cinque Terre with a final bottle of wine on our balcony, writing this report and watching possibly the most beautiful sunset of all time – a break in the clouds bathed Corniglio on its hill with golden light. We’re sad to be leaving this place, but looking forward to our 5 day driving tour of Piedmont starting tomorrow.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 11:45 AM
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Here are Jamikin's photos of the trip so far:
http://picasaweb.google.it/jamie.a.s...eat=directlink
She would like me to point out that these were all taken on her iPhone, and therefore not of the usual quality...
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