Monday, May 6, 2013

Cinque Terre

It's Monday late morning, overcast, breezy and in the upper 50s. I've got my windows open and I'm lying in bed enjoying the sweet sounds of rustling leaves and chirping birds. This is the perfect setting to tell you about my weekend.
Saturday morning, 3:30am I boarded a bus headed for La Spezia. There are maybe 18 of us on this trip, including a super cute and unbelievably well behaved 2 year old. He didn't cry or throw a fit once on the bus both coming or going. 
The first hour was torturous for me. It was hot and humid on the bus, I was wide awake and bored out of my mind. Six hours later, we arrived at La Spezia. It's this beautiful town atop a hillside that slopes right down into what is essentially the Mediterranean sea.

I had a spinach omelet and two bottles of water for breakfast in this little cafe. It was quiet for about two minutes, then the entire nation of Germany decided to show up and I can't say that I've noticed before, but Germans aren't a small people. They were all very wide which is a tough thing to deal with in a tight space and mild case of claustrophobia. So, I got out of there stat.
I ventured up and down the little alley ways hoping to find something neat to photograph and I realized that I've become so accustomed to beautiful scenery that all the things I saw in this little town didn't even impress me much. I meandered down to the train station and that was a picture worth taking. The train station is on the cliff line and it drops down to the sea. When you're on the train, looking out over the water, it feels as though you're flying. The short ten minute train ride to Monterosso, I closed my eyes and imagined what could make this exact moment even better (if that were even possible) and two things came to mind. One, a better outfit (I was in skinny jeans, and a light flowy top but I would have preferred a long sun dress and gladiator sandals). Two, the idea that when I got off that train, it was to meet my dearest girlfriend and her family.

Monterosso is the furthest north town of the Cinque Terre province. It's very touristy but in a good way, if that makes any sense. It's still a little trek to get there which I think deters most tourists but the sights are really wonderful and the day was just perfect. I had a mojito on the docks and watched a lover's quarrel go down. It was very entertaining.

From Monterosso, I jumped on a boat with about 200 other people and cruised the coast line. From the water I got to see the other 4 towns that make up the Cinque Terre. They are all so beautiful and tiny and the idea that you'd have to travel hell and high waters to get from one town to another was very romantic to me. I can't explain why I thought that it was romantic, just something about being on the water at that very movement made it seem tragically romantic.

I ended up at Portovenere just for a couple hours. Enough time to explore a castle and a church, taste some pesto from Genoa which is unlike any pesto I've ever had before.
Finally, to end the night I took another bus ride to Santa Margherita Ligure and stayed in this fancy little hotel called Tigullio. Of course only after I explored the docks for a few hours and had dinner in a tiny trattoria a couple kilometers in the opposite direction from everything touristy. I had the best 4 hours of sleep since Tuesday in that hotel.
Sunday morning, bright and early I was up at 6:30am. I did a nice hour of yoga in my hotel room and got ready to check out. I had the best hotel eggs ever that morning. I sat outside on the patio and had eggs, dry toast, and a couple slices of lean ham. I also had a very impressive cup of American style coffee. Something I haven't had or enjoyed in a few months.

In Portofino, a tiny fishing village on the peninsula jutting into the Ligurian sea, Neptune and Jupiter were clearly pissed off about something. It stormed something fierce so we were docked for a couple hours in a town the size of a pea. We ran up and down the steepest hills to take photos of the water and then we sat in a pub had drinks and laughed until the rain let up.

When we returned to Santa Margherita Ligure, it was still raining and coldish but I didn't care. I was having a blast with my two new friends Steph and Mike. Our trip was cut short due to a majority vote of the pansies that melt in rain. So we only had enough time to find a place to eat and have a couple drinks. 

The bus ride on the way home was better.  I got home around 10pm and took a loooong hot shower. Crawled into bed and passed out for almost 12 hours. Now, it's quarter to noon and time to get my day started. Pictures have been posted. I realize it's not much, but when you're having fun and truly enjoying being in the moment, pulling out a camera seems to take away from the magic.

1 comment:

  1. OMG!! Incredible photos. I'm dying to go here. How much longer are you guys stationed in Italy?