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Manarola, in The Cinque Terra, Italy

This post was written by jd on May 17, 2010
Posted Under: Travel

I stayed up until 1 am posting Friday’s blog.  The built-in alarm woke me up at 6:30 am and I decided to sleep another 5 minutes. Well that was almost a big mistake, instead I was waking up at 7:30 and the bus leaves in 30 minutes. So we all rushed to our final packing and made it to the bus station with 5 minutes to spare.

Leaving Punta Ala by bus, we made it to Follonca in about 35 minutes and hopped a train to Pisa. From Pisa we transferred to La Spezia. Weather ranged between cloudy and steady rain all the way.

La Spezia is not a tourist town and we stayed there only long enough to grab a great lunch of Italian food. Then we took another train to our next vacation stop at Manarola, Town #2 in the Cinque Terra. We are staying there for two nights. The train arrives in the station, where you take a pedestrian tunnel (a two hundred foot long tunnel in which the inhabitants huddled in World War II during the bombings of Italy) to arrive at the main town.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OcSb8brztw

In Manarola, we hiked the trail that winds through parts of the many vineyards that hug the mountain sides.  Can you image the labor involved in taking care of these grapes, pruning, spraying, picking, and then finally hauling them off of the mountain? Then we went to the marina and enjoyed a drink and some coffee in the sunshine. Lots of tourists in this town.  The place we stayed, Casa Capellini, had a balcony and the most fantastic views. Some of the pictures you see in the video were taken from the balcony of our apartment. As you can see, the town is on a mountain side, and walking is either vertical up or vertical down, or at least it seemed that way.

The next morning we took the Via dell’Amore, (lovers lane) to Riomaggiore,  took the requisite picture kissing at the specified seat of love.

The town seemed smaller than Manarola, we did the Rick Steves’ walk to see the town and its churches, had a bite to eat at a Pizzaria, and took the walk back. It had started to rain, so we spent the afternoon in a bar, drinking caffe latte grande (and wine for Judy and David) and discussing David’s crazy construction ideas (among other things).

After a short nap, we went back (our second dinner in as many days) to Trattoria Dal Billy for a wonderful dinner of black pasta (made with squid ink) and assorted seafood, mussels, clams including some things that looked like they were from outer space, sort of a weird shrimp (this was for David and Judy). I had a steak, but it was sort of cooked in a sauce instead of grilled, but very good all the same. The Grapa was complementary, making a fine evening all around.

The next morning we took the train to Monterrosso al Mare… to be continued with the next blog…

By the way, we were in an area without  wifi for the last several days and I had some withdrawal problems, not having access to the internet, but now that I have a connection again, things are fine.
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