Cinque Terre, Italy! Part 1 of 2

I was happy to be at the lake last weekend, however with no internet, TV, and Keri being sick, I was allotted a ton of time to work on Italy photos.  I think I plowed through 800+, leaving me only with a few more to go.  Hooray for late blog posts!

Cinque Terre was hands down our favorite location of the trip, with Sienna coming in a close second.   From wikipedia: "The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera.   'The Five Lands' is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.   Over centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible "modern" development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach it from the outside."

When we arrived via train from Venice, we has no idea where we were going to sleep that night- a common theme throughout our entire trip.  With other cities we visited, I would email or call hotels/hostels/bed and breakfasts when we were on our way.  Whichever place responded first got our business for the night.  I must say that with Keri's preparations we never had an issue in any city.   However, if we came close to having an issue, this one could have been it.  We decided out of the five cities, we wanted to stay in Monterosso because our plan the following day was to hike the 5 miles between all five cities (a common tourist thing to do).  We figured we'd stay at the northernmost city so we could do the entire trail in one day.

We arrived from Venice in the morning because we decided to save €50 and take the 4:30am train and sleep on the way.  We walked out of the train station with our luggage and no email correspondence as to where we could sleep- upon arrival, we found most people in Cinque Terre had no use for the internet or computers in general.  We did however have an amazing travel book with recommendations.  We had no need for a cab because the city is so small and I decided to take a shot at one of the places the book described as having an amazing view overlooking the city.  I found the address, left Keri with the luggage, and climbed a rather large and winding road to the top where the hotel stood.  I was greeted by an older, half-drunk Italian man resembeling the glass blower from Venice.  He informed me that there were no vacancies at their establishment but offered (in broken English) to call a friend to find us a room.  I climbed back down the road to tell Keri the news that "a random hotelier will find us on the street because I have a blue shirt on."   Sure enough- he did.  A very similar looking Italian man (sensing a theme here?) brought us to his wife at the wine shop they jointly owned to book a room.  She was asian, spoke English very well, and was by far one of the most helpful people we met on the entire trip.  They set us up with a sketchy, dimly lit interior room for the night... but it was cheap, had a private bathroom, and she promised us a better room the next day.  We had a great night with some great food and rested up for our trek the next day.  The following day, the asian woman came through for us and put us in a room so elegant, we almost rerouted our entire trip to stay another night there. 

In this first post, I'll put pictures that were not taken on our hike, though they may have come from day 1 or 2 in the Cinque Terre.  I will begin with our lunch.  Cinque Terre is known for Sardines... so we just had to try some.

Dinner on day 2:  Mussels with black and white spaghetti noodles.


Handheld shot overlooking Monterroso.

Monterosso at night.  Note the well lit building on the far left is actually a Nazi bunker from World War II.   It is crazy to think that this quiet little beach town was at one point bombed by Allied forces.



A picture of a chef through the window of a restaurant we couldn't afford.  :)