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Published: November 3rd 2013
After driving into Asti to drop off Mom and Lynne at the train, we came back to La Terraza and packed the car ready to brave the auto route to Cinque Terre. We have truly enjoyed having a GPS and Suzie took us to the highway this time. You have to get a ticket on entry so that when you get off they know how much to charge you, it's disconcerting. I got to see the sights, the advantage of being the navigator. We left the hills of Piedmont and drove through the flats. Before we knew it,coming around a bend in the road we were back in almost mountains. We went through tunnel after tunnel, some 2 km long, where at each opening I got a glimpse of the Sea. Cinque Terre is a series of 5 tiny villages perched on the cliffs by the sea protected in a National Park and also a Unesco site. You can walk from the first to the last village in 12 hours if you are in good shape. You can also hop on a train and travel back and forth, also using the buses for 12€ a day. That's the option we took.
We had found a BNB in San Benedetto, the south west end of the park. It was at the top of a hill looking out over Spezia and the sea. It was just what we needed. Our hosts showed us where to park for the train and our apartment had a huge bedroom and good kitchen. We were set. We headed off to the farthest village in the chain the next morning. Montrosso has the largest beach and it was the first thing we did when we arrived. Butch took off his shoes and rolled up his pants and waded in. I took pictures and laughed, but he said it was as warm as Fishing Lake in June and lots of others were swimming. We wandered the narrow streets and out onto ramparts to look at the water, as well as soaking in the grace of the old church. Then we jumped on the train to see the next town. Each town has something a bit different from the others. The harbour is tiny and surrounded by boats on the piazza all in bright colours. The buildings instead of winding around the valley, move up and up and up the
cliffs the winding passage ways between, as steep as the mountainside. The castle with its stair winding around on itself giving us the best view of them all. The next town was the only one that doesn't have a harbour attached to the town. You walk up more than 350 stairs from the train station at water level to the town perched on the top of the rocks. We cheated and took the bus that was waiting outside the train, but we did take the stairs back. Three towns in one day was enough for us so we headed back home. We have taken advantage of the ability to cook at the suites. The meats directly from the butcher, the vegetables from the markets, the incredible cheeses and inexpensive wine has meant incredible meals. We had veal Marsala with some of the best veal we've ever tasted to round of the day.
Our next day started with light rain, but we had changed to shorts and t shirts it had been so warm. By the time we got to the closest village the skies were already clearing and we were warm even in light drizzle. We walked first to
the little beach filled with fist and head sized flat round tumbled smooth rock. There, many others had built towers of rocks balanced to a point. We decided that we needed to leave behind a Canadian style rock sculpture and built a little Inuksuk. We had hoped to then walk the Via Del Amore (the lovers walk), but the trail along the water to the next village had been closed. Many of the water edge walks have been closed due to landslides and floods over the last two years. You can still walk the trails on the top of the hills, but we had hoped for this short 25 min walk along the sea to the next town, famous for lovers. We hopped the train instead and had a seafood lunch in the next town. Now the sun was out in full force, heating up all the bushes and flowers. We followed our noses along the rock edge again and found the path going to the next village. It too was closed but we saw many others walking the path towards us. So we jumped the gate and wandered lazily to the last village we had been to the day
before. The sun was slowly setting on our journey, silhouetting the fishing boats and releasing incredible sweet and musky scents from what looked to be a Mediterranean sweet sage. There were flowers in bloom everywhere and we thought that it might be wise to never return home, a lovely final full holiday day in Italy. We were so glad that we had decided to come.
Good Night and Sweet Dreams.
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