Barb & Susan's European Adventure - June 2009 travel blog

early morning view looking to the right off of our balcony -...

This is the view from our balcony looking towards the sea. Corniglia...

We went to Mass on Sunday morning at this church in Manarola

They are wheeling a boat through town - guy in green shorts...

They use this crane to lower boats into the water. We thought...

This is how they lower boats into the water - very interesting....

Boat is almost to the water - look how clear the water...

boats in Manarola - all had to be lowered to the water...

Rocks near the shore in Manarola

Barb on the rocks by the water. In the background is hillside...

One of the rocky paths near the water and not far from...

train tracks that run between villages -this is between Riomaggiore & Manarola...

The entrance to the path (and tunnel) towards Riomaggiore from Manarola

Stopping along the way for a glass of wine - they brought...

taken from the path to Riomaggiore. Note the cactus.

looking down from the path to Riomaggiore

Map that shows all 5 villages - Manarola is village #2 after...

The swimming and boat launch area in Riomaggiore

Several local men gather around to catch up on the day's news...

Walking on the path to Riomaggiore (that village can be seen in...

Tunnel that leads towards Riomaggiore - people took cover here in WWII...


We arrived in Manarola, Italy around 10:15 pm on the 13th, which was 4 hours later than we had planned. It was a busy day mixed with great sightseeing and laughs along the way as well as a bit of stressful driving on some dark and narrow winding roads up the mountain at night. Guess living in Colorado prepared us a bit for that so we managed.

Cinque Terre is the region along the Mediterranean that is made up of five small seaside villages that are perched on steep hills leading directly to the sea. The five villages are: Riomaggiore, Manarola (this is the village we stayed in), Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.

No cars are allowed in Manarola, so, when we arrived we had to park the car at the main parking lot for the town and walk 15-20 minutes to our apartment. Luckily Mr. Roberto was there to meet us and to help carry our bags. We didn't even take our suitcases to the apartment and transferred clothes into our duffel bags. The walk had lots of uphill climbs and we had about 50-60 steps to climb just to reach our apartment so no way were we lugging our heavy suitcases. But, the walk and climb was well worth it as we had a great view of the Mediterranean and the beautiful hillsides.

On our first full day in Cinque Terre, we went to Sunday morning Mass at the old Catholic church in our village. It was all in Italian but Barb was able to follow along fairly well since the mass was very similar to that of a U.S. Catholic church with a few minor differences. After wandering around Manarola and having lunch, we then walked on the path between Manarola and Riomaggiore, which was about a 20 minute walk each way and the shortest distance between any of the villages. The tunnel we went through is the same tunnel that residents used to hide in and take cover from air raids during WWII. They added artwork and new lighting in 2000 but we talked about how scary that must have been to be in a dark tunnel with so many people and hearing bombing overhead.

We stopped along the way for a snack and glass of wine and ended up having dinner overlooking the water in Riomaggiore. We would have liked to hear Italian music but believe it or not the entire soundtrack for the night was purely American including several songs by Elvis and the Eagles (perhaps someone's iPod was playing the "E's" on their alphabetical list.

We wandered around a bit after dinner and enjoyed the nice evening back in our town of Manarola. We stopped into a few stores to browse for souvenirs and decided to buy some laundry detergent for our super efficient European washing machine that only takes 2 hours per load! It took us a good 20 minutes to buy detergent after a few rounds of charades trying to explain to the shop keeper what we were looking for. We soon discovered that the washing machines in Italy are just as crazy as in Spain and France and they all sound like a Boeing 747 ready to take off towards the end of the cycle. Pretty entertaining actually.

Barb had a stain on a pair of shorts and soon disovered that a product in our apartment called "Bang" which surely looked like the American equivalent of "Shout" for stain removals was in fact a stove cleaner and nothing for laundry. Oops!

We were exhausted and after sitting on our patio for a bit before going to bed, we slept well to get ready for another action packed day.



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