After no sleep for me at all- (Dolores snores!)..we are up at 6 AM and amazingly out the door by 7 AM. After a quick croissant at our Hotel, we pay our bill (108 euors for the night) and RUN with luggage again to the Vaproretta- boat #42. It leaves literally within seconds and we are saying goodbye to Venice and hello to an 8:45 AM Eurostar.(Venezia S Lucia to Firenze to Pisa Centrale to Manorola.)
And finally we are in Cinque Terra! (Rick would be proud!) The Hotel ca d’andrean in Manorola is only a short walk up a not too steep hill. A few minutes from the sea, this hotel is lovely. Outdoors, lemon trees and olive trees sit stand tall among tables for a view from our window.
Inside the lobby, a firepalce and a cafe. I need to take a breath to savor the moment. Cinque Terra, famous since Roman times for their white wines , has a special charm.
The five villages that they are famous for, stretch out among eighteen kilometers of the rocky and irregular coast of eastern Ligurai. They are linked by a network of different paths, which we will be hiking for the next 3 days.
This is the place that Rick Steves found in 1978 as a college student backpacking through Europe. He decalred it a “Back Door” Region and many guide books later, the rest is history..Today it is a national park so the beauty can be preserved. We buy a Cinque Terra card for 10 euros and this gives us access to all the trails in the villages.
There are no big hotels here, no cars allowed, no museums. Only sea and sand. Yipeee! Since we had a long day, we decide to take the shortest hike today- its only 20 minutes to Riamaggiore (a haven for artists) and its a small pathway called the “Via dell’Amore” (the road of love) .
After only a few minutes, the view is breathtaking at a gorgeous lookout. And we stop for a beer, of course, as we look down at the blue green sea. Tons of photos follow. We walk thru a tunnel into a tangle of colorful homes.
I am sure I must be dreaming. We walk back to Manorola and have an excellant dinner in town at Trattiora II Porticciolo. lingniue and pesto…(this region is the birthplace of pesto – made with basil, cheese, garlic olive oil and pine nuts) …yes, I am sure now I am dreaming…