Our morning started off lovely with a cappuccino on our balcony.
Today we took the ferry south along the coast all the way to Portovenere.
It was the first ferry of the morning, so the lighting on the towns along the way was not so great given the position of the sun. We stopped in Vernazza, Mararola, Riomaggiore and then ended at Portovenere.
Portovenere is an unofficial town of Cinque Terre known for its sailing. Castello Doria overlooks the sea and the walls of the castle extend into where the local built up the town. The lovely Church of San Pietro overlooks the harbor, offering scenic views north up the coast to Monterosso, as well as the Gulf of Poets curves around with views of La Spezia. It definitely felt more like a harbor where there were lots of boats that the locals owned and ran versus the tourist components of Cinque Terre.
The streets in the town were small alley ways of stairs that took you up and down through the residences and businesses along the harbor, or the Gulf of Poets. We saw several men hauling either garbage (or at least what looked like it) along their backs as they hiked down the stairs to a point where it could be deposited.
We only spent about an hour here before boarding the ferry back up to Riomaggiore to get lunch and explore. On the ferry back, we met Dick and Linda who are from Medford, Oregon. Dick shared with us his interesting past where he worked for Proctor and Gamble and after earning his law degree, and then took over the Clorox split off. His wife Linda was part of the University of Arizona. Both were super enjoyable to chat with – my favorite story was when he told us he was sailing in the Puget Sound when Mount Saint Helens erupted.
We bid good bye to Dick and Linda when we arrived in Riomaggiore and we walked up through the area closest to the harbor up into the main street to find a place to lunch. We decided on Bar Centrale since it offered a good menu and great people watching. After eating, we continued up the street to explore. We came upon the Church of San Giovanni Battista, which was built in 1340.
After walking around a bit, we headed back down to the ferry to head to Manarola – the last of the Cinque Terre towns that we had to see. The light was much better on the way back than on the way here, so the photos of the towns are better. Manarola offered lovely views for photo opportunities as we hiked around the town, including boats everywhere. Jeremy got a gelato to enjoy in the Piazza, while I walked around taking photos. We headed back early to the ferry, as we noticed that this ferry was particularly busy with a lot of people waiting to board.
In the line waiting to get back we met Laura, who is from St. Louis. She was travelling with her friend, but they were spending the afternoon apart as they wanted to see different things. She gave us some amazing recommendations on what to do in Rome when we are there. Laura jumped off the boat in Vernazza and then we chatted with two girls from Dallas, but one is now living in Seattle. Funny how small the world is! Sadly we didn’t get their names or photo, but they gave us some great tips for the Amalfi Coast.
Once we got back in Monterosso, we decided we needed to take a dip in the Ligurian Sea, because really … how often will we get the chance? We put on our bathing suits, rented a beach towel and then proceeded to jump in the FREEZING COLD HOW ARE PEOPLE SWIMMING IN THIS sea. For the past two days we have been watching people swim like crazy at the beach just outside our room. Once we got in the water we realized how incredibly cold it was, but we powered through and after about a minute it was really lovely and refreshing as long as you kept moving. We swam for about a half hour before heading back in to shower and get ready for dinner.
We grabbed a drink at the Beach Bar prior to dinner and decided that neither of us was super hungry and we had crackers and pesto in our room for a snack. So we grabbed a lovely bottle of Ripasso and headed back to our room for a mellow evening of catching up on correspondence and relaxing with our doors open so we could listen to the surf.
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