Are We There Yet?
Off to Cinque Terre and let me tell you I was not excited about the train trip there, but couldn’t wait to see it! Cinque Terre consists of five towns (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare) along the Ligurian Sea coast connected by train, boat or a walking path. The train run from Florence to Pisa to La Spezia to Manarola was uneventful, thank God, just a lot of getting off and getting on a different train. We arrived in Manarola by late afternoon to a beautiful bright breezy day. When you get off the train in Manarola you walk through a long long tunnel to reach the little piazza circle mid town.
A good looking young man was there from La Toretta to meet us and help us with the luggage. We started up a steep hill, curve, another hill, curve, another hill. I am huffing and puffing and I’m not even pulling luggage. Finally a small church at the top of the hill sits in another small piazza and we go down a few steps, up a few more steps walking through a maze of pastel colored palazzos.
We end up on a terrace overlooking the sea and vineyards and are greeted by our hosts who offer champagne and a plate of selected finger food. We sit and take in the view. After a tour of the spa, meeting room, and hot tub we take a hike up more steps and twisty turns to the path to our apartment along the highest ridge of Manarola.
What a place! A very large ultra modern apartment awaits us with a birds eye view of the town, sea, and vineyard. Did I mention the blue grey octopus mural above the couch and bed? Unbelievable! We sit on the patio and watch the world go by and the little old couple working (well she picks basil from the patch and he sits and watches her) in the garden below us, before heading to Billie’s, a favorite local restaurant that sits just below our path to the apartment, as we look out over the patio.
The weather has turned cooler and very gale like. The flags at Billies are flapping in the wind as we carefully pick our way down the stone steps to the lower terrace. I hold on to the wrought iron railing as I carefully step by step by step by step move down to our table located in the corner of the terrace. At home this stairway would be a lawyers dream come true, here it is a way of life unnoticed. The outdoor space is packed with guests as the wind continues to build. After we order, I watch as the waiters, who have to go up and down that staircase a bazillion times taking orders and carrying food, sometimes in the middle of the steep stairway, do a limbo move under the railing, jumping unto the terrace to the side. What? I keep watching and yes that is the way to the terrace to the left. As the guests leave from that terrace they too shimmy up and under the railing to the stairs. I surmise that is the terrace for the young and lithe. Showoffs, ha. We enjoy our meal of a local pasta dish that we had to eat rather quickly because it is getting cooler and cooler and the wind on the hillside has reached gale status. Now it is raining on my food, I’m up and up those stairs in a flash. Back to my warm octopus room. Tomorrow is another day!
For more info about La Toretta, 5 Terre National Park, Manarola, Italy. see TripAdvisor.
For more info about Trattoria dal Billy, Via Rollandi 122, Mararola, Italy see TripAdvisor.
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