When we finally made it onto our train out of Rome I was feeling a bit like a cat in a tub of water. We settled onto the train with some McDonalds comfort food which is saying a lot, since back in the States McDonalds is not on my comfort food radar at all! However, when in Rome…er leaving Rome. Whatever.
Our train took us north through Tuscany. With our limited time we chose to travel over to Cinque Terre along the Italian Riviera coastline instead of Florence. Although we can appreciate fine historical art, our family enjoys more than just this, and as I wrote in my previous post, our son in particular was so over the naked statues everywhere.
Our train did take us through the city of Pisa. We didn’t have time to get off of the train, but caught the slightest glimpse of the tower from the train window and decided as a family that it counted! This was such a relaxing a beautiful train ride! We passed breathtaking vineyard areas with the tall pointy trees
And the olive trees were everywhere. I may have to figure out how to grow one of these beauties back home. This was all on one side of the train, while on the other was the beautiful blue coastline. It was about a two hour train ride through many tunnels into our final destination for the day. We were staying in the town of Manarola in the Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre pronounced (Cheen-kway tehr-ray) is a grouping of five fishing villages that used to only be accessible by boat. They are connected by a trail that many visitors to the area enjoy walking. It is supposed to be one of the best hikes in the world hitting all five villages in one day if one chooses to hike it that way. We weren’t going to be able to do the hike, but that was just as well – it gives me a reason to return. I now consider this one of my favorite places on earth!
Manarola is literally built into the hillside. There are no vehicles in the town just a main road. The only down part is that it is literally built into the hillside – that means walking up that hill to get to your apartment. But oh that walk was worth it. And beneficial too, as the food was also tremendous.
The first thing we did after getting off of the train is walk through a tunnel in the side of the hill to get into the village. It’s like going through the wardrobe into Narnia people! When you walk out into the sunlight on the other side, it truly feels like you’ve walked into a totally different world. We headed up, up, up, up, up (pant pant) up up up to our apartment to be terrifically rewarded with the view of a lifetime! We gave kudos to our Meggers for picking this stop. She had seen Manarola on a calendar she had in her bedroom and though it would be cool to see. Since this trip, I have now seen this picture all over the internet. I’m not sure how much longer they will be able to keep this village so quaint and awesome, but we’re glad we got here when we did. After all of us taking pics and videos of our place we headed back down stopping at each little curve in the hill to take another picture. The town is still so antiquated and protected that even the shops close at 6:30 or 7:00 so we did stop to buy up all our tchotchkes and t-shirts. Then onward through town, we were headed for the sunset setup to get the famous picture for ourselves. We were not disappointed. The only disappointment someone could even slightly experience here is not being a professional photographer which I am nowhere close sigh!
We were finding ourselves hungry and there is a restaurant up on the hill overlooking Manarola. Lynn suggested looking into eating here, but we were pretty sure it may be out of our price range with the location and outside seating and views. Oh how thrilled we were when we found out how affordable it was! Within minutes we found ourselves seated along the coastline overlooking this magical place and enjoying the best food in all of Italy. Seriously, Nessun Duma was awesome! We ate Focaccia bread sandwiches which seems like such a cheap name for such deliciousness in my mouth! We even splurged on dessert since we were intoxicated by the atmosphere.
I practically had to drag myself out of here the next morning when it was already time to leave. I’m trying to talk Lynn into us taking a honeymoon whenever our daughters get married and going back to Cinque Terre! I mean, shouldn’t the parents of the bride get a trip too? Ok, so I may have to work on my manipulating skills, but somehow, if the Lord wills it some day, Manarola, I will come back to you.
Ciao for now! Next stop…Venice!