This morning we reunite the Bear family and head to Monterosso to complete our exploring of the Cinque Terre. André plans to stay for a sunset shot of Manarola, so his will have an extra long day.
It seems a little less busy today and we noticed there were no cruise ships in La Spezia, so that probably accounts for the numbers of people around. It is a big market day and the bus tricks us by taking a slightly different route. Luckily I do notice, so we hop off and thanks to the diversion, encounter a great little pasticceria from which we get morning tea of a thin layer of shortcrust pastry encasing a thick concoction of nuts, honey and a hint of vanilla flavour.
Tanya has totally mastered the selfie technique. You can see the restaurant we dine in later on the beachfront. There are the beginnings of summer activity as we see men building change rooms on the beach and young men selling colourful blankets to lie on the pebbly beach.
Going up one of the side streets we see a large planter blocking the road and we are a little baffled how the cars got in until we witness the planter moving out of the way if you have the right code.
There is a beautiful, small church of San Giovanni Batista built in the typical layered green and white style and a small fortress that has been converted to a nice but very expensive restaurant La Tortuga.
André joins us for lunch and we have a seaside meal of various pastas and I go for the selection of bruschettas. Lunch out of the way we introduce Tanya to the best Gelato in Monterosso before we head to Vernazza. We are clearly enthusiastic about our photo taking as all three of us press the “expose” button at the same time 🙂 A little family domino.
Vernazza today is busy with people so we decide to catch the train to the next town of Corniglia. We have been warned to take the little mini bus from the station as the town is perched high above the sea.
Once we get there Corniglia becomes our second most favourite town with lots of character, very friendly people and nice little nooks of gardens and restaurants.
It is mid afternoon the light is subdued because of the clouds and we spot yet another village even higher on the ridge top, no obvious road leading towards it.
The plan is for André to stay until sunset in Manarola about 8.30pm and for us to get back home and make sure we can arrange a taxi to pick us up in the morning. When we get to La Spezia I have my question ready, our experience has been that there is very little English spoken with the cabbies. I try and select one that seems a bit more in charge in the group that are chatting waiting for customers. On my behalf he starts asking one taxi driver after another to come out in the morning to Portovenere to get us , but they all shake their heads with a no. Even the driver that picked us up initially says no too. In the end he gives me the automated number to call in the morning, I don’t think my Italian would stretch to that, so I persevere. Finally a lovely driver in his 70’s, zero English agrees. I give him my phone number ( good thing I learnt those numbers up to a hundred), the time of pick up and the address. I am feeling very proud of myself, Tanya says she will give me full credit when he actually comes in the morning.
André reports that he is all set up for his shots. Tanya and I get some fresh focaccia and we have a little evening picnic on our terazza as our farewell night to Cinque Terre.
It is perfect, the lights start coming on in the town, no breeze so the little blanket we wrap ourselves in is just right and we enjoy a peaceful evening. In the meantime André is finished and starts his slow connection back home including an hour wait in La Spezia for the bus.
Luckily for him a local informs him that he is standing at the wrong bus stop, changed that day even into the night because of the markets. We had experienced the same issue on our way back but there were more people to ask where to go instead. André finds a locally famous gelateria to fortify himself for the drive back and just as well. The driver of the bus doing what is now the last run of the night is in a rally mood, he thinks it must be a Ferrari he is driving around the curves of the coast. The ride is not for the faint hearted as an older lady alights she makes the sign of the cross on her chest.
He makes it home in one piece. The shot was worth it.