This is our travel day and we will meet up with André who has just flown into Rome.
The day starts with a beautiful sunrise from our apartment window. We will get breakfast at the station as our train leaves quite early for La Spezia. After a smooth transition to the station, we arrive with enough time to get a little Coffee and some fresh croissants. We feel we need some emergency food for the 4 hour trip and we are off.
Not too much later the train stops in a field and we are advised “ this is not a formal stop ,please do not leave the train” This keeps on happening ever few km’s And we are being told how much of an increasing delay we have. It starts to be a little less amusing when we hit the mountain tunnels and we stop, first with the emergency power lightening the carriage and then even that going out and us sitting in the dark waiting for the engine to start. We finally get to Genoa, a big city where we are hoping they will substitute the faltering locomotive. They suggest just that and say this will take 40min, an American family sitting next to us verifies that they have time to go on the platform and get some snacks. I advise against this and sure enough within 10 min , the whistle blows and we are leaving, they just manage to get on.
We arrive in La Spezia and hook up with André, photography should improve from here on.
Our little apartment has a gorgeous view, it’s the one on the right , the highest on the ridge. We have a really nice terazza to sit out on and enjoy the view which André immediately captures.
We do a little shop and then it’s time to pick a restaurant. Tonight we go fancy at the 3 Torre, referring to the three defense towers.
Tanya finally gets to try a lasagna and André picks the tortellini in a lovely light tomato sauce.
We set out early the next morning to visit the Cinque Terre . Our pass allows free rail travel between the towns and the use of a toilet free of the usual charge ( an invaluable bonus). Importantly it gives access to the National Park and it’s hiking routes.
We have to take the ferry from Portovenere and it’s a crisp ride on the top deck for us. Tanya now doesn’t even reach for the Travel calm.
We get off from the ferry in Riomaggiore the first of the Cinque Terre and a very cute town.
After a good little wonder along the streets we get a supply of strawberries and then catch the next train to Manerola, the second town.
This is a classic little town with a trail that heads up in to the terraced slopes. We are fine doing steps by now but when an arrow points straight up for a detour to a view, Tanya and I offer to wait for André who mountain goats up the ridge.
It offers a lovely view but we are happy we stayed where we did. Now that André is here the family is complete, we have Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear ( Tanya).
Although only André went the extra distance, we feel lunch is very deserving. A narrow restaurant clings to the cliff barely two tables wide, we manage to secure one of the last tables and order a couple of focaccias, one the traditional Cinque Terre recipe with salted anchovies and André definately misses out by ordering a salad. ( just plain boring green leaves and some corn).
Here the Bear family posing against the amazing backdrop of Manarola and we are ready for the ride home. It’s a bit of a train ride, than a bus along the coast and we are home. After catching up on domestic duties we head to explore our little town.
It shows the traditional style of building with the black and white rock layers. It is famous for a number of poets coming here to write including Lord Byron and Shelley who drowned in the waters nearby.
Today with finish with an amazing artisanale gelato and we visit the local olive shop stocking up in some olive crackers and two types of olives. This will go very well with the cheese we have at home.
This finishes the day quietly in our apartment.