Friday, June 13, 2014

Italy, The Best Part

Oh my! Cinque Terre is just the loveliest! Comprised of five villages built precariously on the steep, rocky hills of five different coves, they are now a National Heritage site. A couple of the villages were built in the 11th century as forts and the other three added later. The sea is very rough here and boats must have a hard time getting in and out. We never saw a boat come or go, but there were plenty of boats pulled right up the hill to people's front doors.

A safe harbor, away from the pounding waves.

A steep climb up one of the many hills, we found crypt after crypt. 

It's a crypt condo.

I strolled around town and settled in near this man working on his boat. I really wanted to help sand, but because of the language barrier, I didn't ask. 

This statue is carved right out of the stone. It used to be even more elaborate but the weather has worn it away.

I always have my knitting and rested on this wall overlooking Monterosso where we were staying.

Looking back towards our hotel.

One can hike from village to village on the steep hills that tower over the towns. There were a couple trails closed due to floods a few years ago, but we were able to go from Monterosso to Vernazzo. We took the train to the other villages.

We met some GW students on the trail!

The views were spectacular of the sea, the rocks, the villages.

Upon climbing and climbing, we reached the top and lo and behold, some guy has set up a table right alongside the trail selling jewelry!

Cute and useful stone bridges helped us across the streams.

Love locks on a cable overlooking the sea.

What amazed me the most was the agriculture. These hills are so steep, yet they are terraced for growing grapes for winemaking.

To haul supplies up the hills, we saw this seat on a cable and thin track. Looked sooo scary.

As we rounded the top of the hill, Vernazza was getting closer.

….and closer (yay it was downhill from here!)

closer yet

and we're there! Lunch right down by the waterside and even a little time to knit.

Many street performers bring dogs for added embellishment. This one was flat on its back, totally zoned out.

Artists sketched the pretty buildings

I loved how laundry was out to dry. You couldn't go down one street without seeing colorful clothes, towels and sheets waving in the breeze. I don't know why Americans are so 'hung' up on not displaying their laundry. I think it's beautiful.

The vintagey side of me liked these old signs.

And after a day of hiking and sightseeing, it's nice to have our beverages of choice.

Good bye Cinque Terre!

For the final part of the trip, we took the train back to Lucca.

We rented bikes for the day and rode on a nice trail alongside a river to Pisa.

I spotted these dark objects in the woods and I rode closer I saw they were brown sheep, rounded up into a circle, nestled into the wooded thicket.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed a border collie keeping watch and the shepherd sound asleep in an afternoon siesta.

One last night in Lucca and our last night in Italy. We had a nice Italian meal accompanied by a nice Italian wine, back to our Airbnb apartment and a good night's sleep. I was filled with beautiful memories of Italy and I'm hoping it won't be my last visit there. Ciao Italy!


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