Saturday, October 4, 2014

The view from here

After our intense hike yesterday, we decided to rest our legs and see the Cinque Terre from the water today. We bought an all-day, hop-on, hop-off boat ticket that stops at all of the Cinque Terre towns (except Corniglia, which is up on the hill and doesn't have a boat dock). The boat also continues on to Portovenere, a resort town at the end of the peninsula, about an hour's ride from where we're staying here in Monterosso. The landscape is so beautiful and rugged, sprinkled with terraces of wine grapes, houses built into the steep cliffs, and miles of unspoiled forests. We got off the boat at Vernazza, the next town south of Monterosso, and enjoyed a quick walk through town up to the castle on the hill (more stairs!!!). The castle had a great view of town and the water.

Monterosso from the boat dock

Walk the plank! Loading up the boat.


Damon at the lookout at the base of the castle in Vernazza, with Monterosso in the background.

My view from the top of the castle.

View of Vernazza from the top of the castle

Damon checking things out and the castle I went up in.

Back to the boat dock! On to the next town!

Vernazza's harbor

We got back on the boat and headed all the way to the end of the line at Portovenere. It's a cute town that reminded us of a smaller version of Cabo. There was a regatta event going on, and lots of big ocean-type sailboats coming into port with teams in uniform. We enjoyed a nice lunch of pizza (Damon is in heaven here, so much pizza and it's so delicious)! Then we walked to the end of Portovenere where there's another castle-like structure and 2 church buildings. After a brief stop for gelato (Laura) and a beer (Damon), we headed back to the boat to return to Monterosso. When we went to get on the boat, Damon turned to me and said "where's our backpack?" which gave me a bit of a panic attack since I immediately knew that we'd left it somewhere along the way. We realized that we must have left it at the restaurant at lunch, and Damon made a mad dash back to the restaurant with only 5 minutes until the boat was going to pull away from the dock. Luckily, the nice folks at the restaurant noticed it right away and set it aside for us, knowing that we'd be back for it at some point! I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw Damon running back towards the boat with the backpack and several minutes to spare before departure! I was even more relieved when I found that my iphone was still in the backpack (the only real thing of value in it). Phew! We will have to be more careful as we still have a couple of intense cities ahead of us, Florence and Rome, which will probably not be as kind in similar situations.

Riomaggiore from the water

Such a beautiful day, and beautiful scenery too!

Rugged coastline

The Church of St. Peter on the end of the coastline as you come into Portovenere

Church of St. Peter - is there really a prettier location for a church?

Lovely Portovenere

We walked out to the Church of St. Peter at the end of town and had a great time checking out both the church and the views!

Me with the Cinque Terre coastline behind me

Inside the church. It dates back to the 1200s and is the Moorish style often seen in this part of Italy, as evidenced by the banded/striped design.

It was a busy Saturday in Portovenere and the neighboring towns

Damon's such a good sport about being in my pictures!

Damon relaxing on the church walls while I do my shutterbug thing

Such a gorgeous day!

There was a big sailing event going on - these are the big ocean-going type sailboats. There were tons of them out on the horizon while we were making our way down to Portovenere, and it was neat to see some of the teams and their boats in the harbor.

A fishing boat in Portovenere's harbor

Tonight we are heading to dinner in Riomaggiore, the furthest south of the Cinque Terre towns but only 10 minutes away by train. Tomorrow is our last full day here and we plan to have a relaxing day at the beach and rent kayaks!

Sunset in Riomaggiore

Walking through Riomaggiore at dusk

Such a picturesque little town!

More scenes from our walk in Riomaggiore

We loved how easy it was to hop on the train and go to a different town for dinner!

Enjoying some limoncello and dessert!

Tiramisu! Yum!!!

Back in Monterosso, enjoying a glass of wine on the town square on a Saturday night. It was so much fun to watch the locals enjoy time with their friends and family. When they go out on a Saturday night with their friends, they bring the kids and dogs, and everyone kicks it in the town square. The adults sip wine and talk while the dogs hang out, and the kids get some exercise in the play area. It's a much more low-key scene than we're used to seeing in the States.

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