Today was Cinque Terre. We didn’t go to all 5 towns, thank goodness. There is a lot of walking down, down, down, then up, up, up. The 5 towns are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare. We started by taking the train from Levanto where our hotel was to Riomaggiore. For this first place we arrived near the city center and didn’t have to walk down (just up and up later). These towns are each set in their own little valley with their own little river that runs to the sea. For hundreds of years they were cut off from most everything because of their isolation. They how have train access and, when the weather is good, boat connections. Our weather was great – for people out for a walk, not for boats. It was much too rough. We took minibuses between the places we saw.
After walking up out of the valley we were taken to Vernazza. This time we walked down into the town and back up to get out. It was spectacular to see the sea through the narrow lanes between colorful houses. All of the towns had beaches, most were pebble but Monterosso’s was sand. The beaches got Evan’s vote for best thing of the day.
Our last stop was in Monterosso. Monterosso is the northernmost and largest of the 5 towns, but don’t let that fool you. There are approximately 1500 people in the town.
While it was not hot, all the kids wanted to get into the pool. We came back and gave them some time to swim.
Our final dinner in Levanto will be at a local family-owned seafood restaurant here.
Climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa – I didn’t, Evan did – The best thing of the day was being at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, going up it, and looking out from the top – per Evan. I needed to find shoes since mine bit the dust yesterday. We had a guided tour of the area around the Tower, the Square of Miracles, a complex of four buildings that includes the cathedral and its leaning bell tower. Actually all the buildings lean, but the tower leans the most and because of its shape it is the most noticeable. The tower is 17 feet off the vertical. There are 297 steps up the spiral staircase to the top and a view of the old city walls and the town. We had lunch at a delightful restaurant with an outdoor seating area under a cover. Wonderful.
After leaving the Tower, we went to Lucca a town that is a short drive away. I finally found shoes there. I thought it was a “close the shoe shop” day because the shoe shops I was finding were closed. It was the lunch hour (or two). I was successful in finding shoes in spite of the bad timing.
From Lucca we traveled to Levanto for dinner and our hotel. Our hotel with a pool. After the past few very hot days, we were looking forward to the pool. This day was not nearly as hot, but was windy. We got into the pool anyway. The Park Hotel Argento is near the Ligurian Sea and we could see the sea as we came in. When we first saw it from the hills it was breathtaking, closer up it was really breathtaking, The wind had blown the sea up and there will be no swimming in the sea. It is far too rough.