Monday, 9 October 2017

Cinque Terre

I first visited the Cinque Terre almost twenty years ago - gulp! I remember how beautiful I thought it was; all those vineyards cascading down to the sea; the shimmering lemon trees; the colourful, painted houses.  I wasn't very well during my visit but I still found it enchanting. D did not. I still don't know why but he remained totally unmoved by everything he saw.

The next time I visited was 11 years ago with my mother but it was only for a day. We did a mighty job though and walked four of the five villages. We had lunch in Manarola and mum ate a whole garlic bulb, which drifted merrily in our company for the rest of the day. I remember us both arriving back in Florence at the end of the day absolutely spent but utterly beguiled.

Now finally this summer I managed to go with mum and dad and Three Paw. We stayed in Portovenere for two nights. While not officially included as part of the Cinque Terre, I found this village utterly charming and a perfect base for exploration. It had a lovely promenade by the water and a narrow, medieval street full of shops and rustic buildings. It also had a formidable-looking church from which you could gaze out onto the ocean and all things beyond.

Portovenere was also pleasing because it had ThreePaw friendly facilities which she was highly approving of. In fact, I don't think she had a single complaint about the entire trip except, perhaps, for the bathroom queue in the morning.

Hurry up already!
Have case, will travel

Three Paw and mum shooting the breeze at Portovenere
The nicest thing was that we were able to cruise between the five villages for a day which meant (a) a partial escape from the full onslaught of Lucifero (b) satisfying dad's love of the boat trip, and (c) the use of very nice ship stewards to help us off between ports.
I like Ligurians. They are very friendly and patient despite all the tourists, They could teach a Tuscan a thing or two ( in my humble opinion.)

We had a gorgeous day. My favourite village is Vernazza but to be honest, the whole place is magical and when we finally staggered off the boat at the end of the day, Three Paw was lounging on the bed waiting for us to tell her tales from the sea. 

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