Friday, June 28, 2013

The Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is a group of five coastal cities in Liguria that have retained their historic charm over the years. Sometimes people hike between the five cities of The Cinque Terre, but with a six-year-old and a sixty-something year old (whose head is much more adventurous than her body allows), we decided to take the train and get off at each city.

We missed the first train and ran through the little village searching for a swimsuit to replace the one Bianca left in France. The little girls in Italy only wear bottoms until they hit about twelve. Fortunately, the store had the tops too so we were able to find a suit for Bianca.


We decided to start from the farthest city Riomaggiore. We walked all through the hilly town. It was up and down, up and down. It was so lush. We particularly loved the poppies that grow wild as weeds.

Overlooking the coast in Riomaggiore

Everything is so lush here

Exploring the small passageways to the Centro of Riomaggiore
My kids and their pursuit of the gatti (cats) of Italy

Mom, Bianca, and Portia
Heading back to the train station


My lobster ravioli
Mom and her critters
Next we stopped in Manarole. By then, our main thing was food. We needed to eat by and found a place to sit down and have lunch. The kids didn't want seafood, so they got some foccacia pizza bread and brought it over to the seafood place. Unfortunately, they didn't believe in taking the seafood out of the shells. I ordered the Raviolis with lobster and expected the lobster chunks to be inside the ravioli, but turns out they brought me out a whole mini lobster. Mom looks pretty happy in the picture below, but she was a little bit horrified with all the antennae and legs and little beady eyes peering up at her from her plate. 

There were some really pretty cliffs by the sea where you could climb down and get close to the water, so we took some pretty pictures.


Portia resting after 365 steps up to Corniglia
Corniglia was a whopping 365 steps up from the train station trail to the center (centro) of the city. Bianca and Portia counted all the way up. Mom lagged off behind, but did finally make it.

I guess Corniglia is the famous for its honey-sweetened gelato, so we did reward ourselves with gelato after our long hike up. And yes, we had a "piccolo" gelato every day we were in Italy. I think my kids (and I) have gotten spoiled! At least we're walking around so much we work it off.

Corniglia is a pretty little village; they all are. But this one is definitely most memorable for its steps.

We walked around, eating our gelato, and then headed back down the 365 steps to the train station.

The tiered land is a big part of the Cinque Terre and how the Italians who
lived here worked their hilly land

Waiting for gelato

Pretty, gritty Italy

Ah the view on the steps down from Corniglia

My silly girls at the train station


When we got off the train for Vernazza, I realized this was the place for shopping. There were little shops all along the way to the centro, and the coolest thing was the way the shops were build against the rock and the rock was exposed on the inside of the buildings. I found a green skirt I just had to have. Unfortunately, these shops were the negotiating sort so the monster in Eric came out. We ended up walking out. I don't know why we have to play that game. The kids put their feet in the water and picked around a little while I pined for the skirt. Finally, I grabbed some Euros and went back to the store. I offered the 40 Euros the woman had initially asked for the skirt (down from the 45 she said at first). She pressed a one-Euro piece into my hand as I was leaving and said, "For your husband." I was then able to tell Eric how I whittled her down an extra Euro. 

Getting their feet wet and searching the sand for treasures

My girls are always looking for something interesting



Finally, the girls go swimming. They were VERY patient.
Our last stop was in Monterosso and the kids were so anxious by now because this is where they got to go swimming. Finally, a sandy beach! It was after five by now but at least the beach was nearly empty. 

We were pretty tired by now, so I just sat on the sand and let my feet rest. And enjoyed the beautiful view of the Italian coast. I can't imagine hiking the Cinque Terre. Just taking the train and walking through the cities was plenty of exercise!

The beautiful coast of Italy


A door in Riomaggiore

A turquoise door in Vernazza. Not sure where the door leads to, but it was enchanting!

I love that this door actually says Vernazza on it. This is one of my very favorites!

1 comment:

Susannah Harper said...

These photos are great. I love Bianca's dress. How fun!