Thursday, July 02, 2009

Cinque Terre

Click here for info about Cinque Terre There are five villages hanging to the some of the steepest hills imaginable. The terrain is magical but I can't imagine anyone having the tenacity it took to terrace the land and make it habitable. In 1998 Cinque Terre became a national park and accessible by train or buses; only residents can drive into the villages. Just as we feared Riomaggiore was packed solid with parking only available on the steep hill making for at least a two mile hike; goats we aren't. The second steep road didn't look promising so we tried the third turn-off and found a space to park the car. The parking attendant told us that it shouldn't take us long to reach Vernazza. Long meaning what? A mile straight downhill but the road was definitely more interesting than the twisty road had been down to Riomaggiore. The air was citrus scented, a stream ran alongside the road and s0me of the dwellings seem staged for tourists. (above, left middle and bottom are two examples.) Click on photos to enlarge.

At the end of the cobbled street, Via Roma, the village met the sea and enthralled found seats in an outdoor restaurant. The meal and view from our table are below. The pesto was made from basil and pine nuts grown locally and was outstanding, even better than my recipe! A hint of lemon?

When I think about Cinque Terre it's with mixed emotions. It's definitely touristy and over-run with people even if it's difficult to reach, but Vernazza was the Italy we'd been hoping for. Peeling paint and plaster, laundry hung to dry from windows, the scent of citrus, church bells ringing, and terraced hills threatening to crumble; our trip to Italy had finally begun!

Quote: A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it." –- John Steinbeck


Seth said...

A mixed bag I agree, but boy there are some spectacular views and places there!

Kim said...

Your trip looks wonderful. Lovely shots, I can taste the lemoncelo :) and as sore as your feet have been I bet you just loved it!