Saturday 8th October 2011 Weather:-19degrees/Sunny-feels more like 24degrees
Monterosso-al-Mare, Chinque Terra-Italy
Our stormy weather of yesterday and last night bought on some extra work for the attendant on the ferry from Capri and the staff on the ship when we returned, they were walking around handing out sea-sickness bags. On the ferry the chappie was walking up and down the aisles studying people’s faces—to see if they were turning green I suspect, both Herman and I were lucky as we did not suffer any ill effects.
We were of the Sinfonia by 10am, which is pretty good seeing we did not dock until 9:30am. We learned the system on the last ship. Our original luggage tags (pink) had designated us to being one of the last to leave and I had noticed that when we were waiting to go onboard at the beginning of the journey that people with pink luggage labels were only disembarking at 1:30pm and as we only had to walk down the gangplank, pick up our bags and get in the car and we would not be hindering anybody I went to Reception (again) to get it changed, personally I think that they were very glad that I was leaving because I had been to reception a few more times than they would have liked on this trip.
It felt really good to be driving the 135Km from Livorno to Monterosso-al-Mare. First we were heading inland straight at the Apennines but we soon turned northwards and we were skirting them with Mt Cusna towering above all and it was not long before we had left Tuscany behind us and had entered into Liguria the area that houses the Chique-Terre (five lands) the topmost being Monterosso-al-Mare then going down the coast is Vernazza followed by Corniglia then Manarola and the last one is Riomaggiore, these are the five little villages that we will be visiting by train, ferry and on foot over the next few days. We were especially looking forward to these days here because we had spent a magical time here three years ago when we stayed on the beachfront in the ‘Hotel La Spiaggia’ and during that time we did the hardest walk between the five villages---the one between Monterroso and Vernazza—Herman has already warned me “I am not doing that walk again, I know it was beautiful but once is enough”
Monterosso only allows local (service) traffic so it is a joy to walk through and it consists of the beach area and the ‘Old Town’ and as our car is parked (nearly in the ocean) and we had to walk to the old town (about 700 metres) we were delighted by the colour of the ocean as we passed by it, the colour of the ocean on the photos is not quite as brilliant as we saw it. I have to say that we were expecting that bright blue sea when we were visiting Greece but for one reason or another, the sea there was the same colour as ours which was a little disappointing so when we were walking along the waterfront today I was more then excited. Again the familiar surroundings gave us a feeling of ‘we are at home’ and we are very happy that this final stop will give us a perfect ending for this, our last odyssey overseas.
We had phoned our land lady, Francesca as soon as we got on the road in Livorno and arrangements were made to meet her in Piazza Garibaldi, just a few steps away from the little two bed roomed apartment that she owns here in Monterosso although she and her family live in Genoa they had come down to visit family here (her cousin lives in the same building just across the hall from us) so it is always nice to meet people who you have been corresponding with. The apartment is ‘old world’ Italian and we find it charming, originally we were going to be here for one week –before all these special boat fares came to the fore so having cooking and washing facilities was an added bonus that we were looking for. We are in the middle of the action but instead of the ocean waves lulling us to sleep at night (as was in Hotel La Spiaggia) we have the murmur of people dining and enjoying themselves down in the little alleyways that hug the front and the back of our abode. The apartment is also nearly directly over the ‘Pasticceria Laura’ so we have to deal with the most delicious perfumes of pastries baking away all day---Oh how we have to suffer—and on top of that 3 doors down the street is the local ‘Lemoncello’ distillery—it looks like it is a one woman show and I was fascinated watching her work from the open doorway. Later on today we will have to toddle around the corner so that we can purchase a bottle as on this trip I have acquired quite a taste for it, when we were in Amalfi a few years ago we were invited into the local Lemoncello shop every time that we passed for a taste of their wares but as we had just come from the local bar where I had a glass of wine and Herman a beer we declined the offer---silly, silly us.
PS Peter if you have time to read this “have a good trip home—see you on the Gold coast”