Cinque Terre is made up of 5 fishing villages inland (wink, wink): Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare. There is no traffic allowed in the villages and there are both train and walking tracks that link them (I know what your thinking - we like to stay in places where cars are not permitted, but it just happened this way.) Upon arrival we were greeted by a lovely old traditional Italian lady who could barely speak English and even got Lydia to fill in the documentation for her. We are now getting very good at sign language or so we think! We are staying in Riomagiore and our room has a balcony with sea views that overlooks the village. This morning I counted 40 dongs of the church bell! The last 3 days we have spent walking between all the 5 villages. The most challenging being a 2 ½ hour hike we had to do between Manarola and Cornigilia which started off trekking up several hundred steps and through vine yards and olive groves, perched in the side of the mountain in sweltering heat. But the views were spectacular and the lunch at the end was just as good. At the end of one of the walks and before we started the next one I had to have a dip in the Mediterranean while Lydia was happier taking photos of me. But at lease I wasn’t wearing budgie smugglers like what seems to be the fashion here! We then proceeded to Via dell’Amore or lovers lane where we wrote our names on the wall and hung a padlock.
Rewind a few days and we are back in Venice where the only way of navigating your way around is on foot via the maze of ally ways. Cars are a no, no and are only allowed as far as the massive parking building near the bus terminal and entrance to the island. Lydia forgot this one morning saying “It’s so quiet, you can’t hear any cars” hahahah……. Our days spent in Venice were amazing; we visited San Marco Square and the Basilica. This place is incredible and you can take the many stairs up to the balcony and get a great view overlooking the square. Next up was taking the lift to the top of the Campanile (clock tower). Unfortunately they don’t have stairs otherwise this would have been our preferred option! Once up the top, were able to experience panoramic views of Venice, even more breathtaking than those of the Basilica. As mentioned previously, it’s easy to get lost, and that’s exactly what happened to us while at the same time it bucketed with rain. Between both us and a map which is useless in Venice, we finally made it back to our hotel looking like drowned rats.
See you in Sorrento after the F1 Grand Prix – I’m so excited and Lydia is a little bit excited. Watch out for the silver fern flag!