Wed May 9 – Cinque Terra
Docked in La Spezia about 8am to church bells, and disembarked. Bought round trip tickets on the water ferry that circumnavigates La Spezia-Porto Venere – and the Cinque Terra (5 Terre) cities – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. We went all the way to Monterosso and walked up, down and around the town built on a small harbor with sandy beach and vertical mountains on 2 sides. The terraced vineyards and vegetable gardens, the houses perched on the side of steep hillsides, the railroad bored through the mountains connecting the Cinque Terra villages were very photogenic and unique. It took us 2 hours by boat to get to Monterosso, so we took our time and visited a small church and large cemetery atop the highest hill above the city. Many memorials to families killed in the WWI bombardments. We had wine and olive brochette on the sand at a beach bar, then caught a ferry back to Vernazza. There we visited a 14th century church, climbed up a medieval age watch tower high above the village, and wore ourselves out. Caught a ferry back to Monterossa, grabbed a beer and then caught the ferry back to Porto Venere. Porto Venere features a medieval fort looming above the town, tall narrow multi-colored houses built side-by-side forming another defensive wall, and a really nice harbor. Stayed on the same ferry back to La Spezia and chatted with a New Zealand couple, then shuttled back to the boat after another long adventurous day. Dinner for 2, talked to 4 Swedish ladies at the adjourning table, then met Tom & Linda for the Hector is Magic magic show before turning in.