October 5, 2017- Cinque Terre, Italy
The alarm rang at 5AM, and we were off and running! It was too early for breakfast at the hotel, so we grabbed a breakfast bar to eat later in the morning. Our cab was prompt and dropped us at the train station from which we would catch a bus. Then we were off on a two hour ride to reach Cinque Terre, a national heritage site much like our national parks. It consists of 5 towns built along the Ligurian Sea, on the northwest coast of Italy. When we reach the city of La Spezia, we know we are close. The city hosts an Italian Navy base and was heavily bombed in WWII. Now rebuilt, it remains a beautiful seaport. I caught a quick snapshot through the bus window of this thoroughly modern bell tower.
The bus dropped us at the top of Manarola’s heights from where we descended on foot to Manarola. My term for this is “Immersion Fitness”! Once we reached the bottom of what seemed like 1000 stairs, and probably was, I whipped out my sturdy collapsible cane to meander (or is that wobble) down the steep declining streets- luckily – no cars to contend with. One charming young guy was always at hand to assist me when the steps were huge or the decline more than I could handle. My ever-troublesome feet held out OK. It was “jelly” legs that were the problem.
Once on somewhat level land, we proudly strutted our way through town, looking from side to side at the homes and shops, and boarded a train which took us to Rio Maggiore. Once, there we walked from the train station to the landing dock where we would board a water taxi for a boat ride along the coast. Andrea managed to find some magnets depicting the five villages, and I found a coloring book of the same. Since I brought my Inktense pencils along, I hope to begin coloring the village-scapes soon.
Once we arrived at the 5th village, Monterosa al mare, we had a delicious lunch and then boarded the train for the ride back to La Spezia and the bus back to Florence (Firenze). We slept well after we walked 12,000 footsteps (6 miles) according to the Fitbit. Our legs are telling us all about it too!