Exploring Vernazza

Vernazza, Italy 5/17

A panorama of Vernazza from the Torre

After my leisurely cappuccino morning, today brings a day trip to Vernazza, the most popular of the Five Lands (Cinque Terre). We didn’t do too bad trying to start out on the early side… hey, for once I was up early, but wasn’t actually ready to *go* anywhere quite yet…

After going to THE ONLY INTERNET POINT IN TOWN to upload my morning’s literary efforts, we took the laptop back to the apartment, then returned to the station (sound like a lot of trouble? it is!). Update: I’m okay with the trouble, in the end… it’s a beautiful place to be offline ;-)

Took the train two stops to the north to Vernazza.

An aside, again I love being able to take a train everywhere! It’s so much less of a headache not having to fuss with a car, even if they do drive on the right side of the road here ;-)

So, Vernazza… the same size or maybe a bit larger than Riomaggiore, but much more touristed. *Really* touristed, seems like every cruise ship in the Mediterranean drops their numbered groups here. And there’s an actual sand beach here, so some folk were out swimming, but judging from the swimmer’s reactions, it appeared to be a bit chilly still.

Look, it’s a patch of sand!

We ate some focaccia at the waterside, and got ourselves up to seeing things high above.
See the restaurant terrace hanging
from the side of the old castle?
First we went to the castle built as a lookout for pirate raiders, on which there is now the Ristorante Castello perched on the side of the tower. We hoped to have dinner here later, but there was a handwritten note saying they were closed for mourning… Earlier we did see a casket being driven slowly though the main way to the church. I imagine in a town this small everyone knows everyone else. Ah well.

There’s not much of this ruined castle to see. Most of it consists of a terrace above what was the main structure, then the tower rising from that. But wow, views to die for, even from the terrace, and climbing the small spiral stairs to the top of the tower was way cool. No pirates though. Looking across the ravine that contains the town, we could see the Torre (Tower) on the other side. I’d read about the restaurant and Bar La Torre up there, but didn’t think I was up for the climb to *that*. Heh heh heh, well guess where we ended up for drinks and dinner…

Next we tried to find another restaurant I’d read about, but the directions were not right I guess. It was a lovely walk up the hill behind town, though. We actually saw the small river that is covered up by the main street in town, which is the case in all the Cinque Terre villages… that’s why the main streets are so crooked. We also ran into the funeral procession coming up the hill to the cemetery from the church as we were walking back down. Seemed like most of the town was there walking behind the volunteer ambulance that served as a hearse.

So next we took on the climb to the Torre… part of the climb is on crumbling stone stairs with no railing, I can only imagine having a bit too much to drink and negotiating the way back down. I did okay, I think. I was embarrassingly winded of course, but hid it well. The restaurant was not open for dinner yet, so we went (up more stairs!) to the bar.

Bars here also sell food, so that is where we planted ourselves. We met a really nice young couple there–Spencer is a Bay Area native, he and his wife now live in Chico! We had fun talking about both places, and drinking. They had a game of cribbage going–hadn’t seen that for a while. Hello Spencer and Angela if you made it to our blog… damn I realize we didn’t get pics of you two. Although they took the nice photos of us you see here. She knew more about our camera than we did ;-)

After that nice long interlude topped off with a sunset to remember, we traipsed back down to the train station to get our train back home. Waiting in the fridge was leftovers from Bob’s yummy dinner the other night that tasted just as good as a late snack with a glass of wine on the windowsill.

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