After an unexpected day at sea (the port of Livorno refused our entry because they had a cargo ship they deemed more important, ended up on the front page of the paper for it’s idiotic circumstances) we ended up in Livorno on Wednesday having to cancel our day in Marseilles.
While we wanted to give the royal finger to Italy for their dysfunction, mother and I were so excited to get the chance to experience Cinque Terre. We took an hour long drive through the most sensual countryside, passing medieval villages dangling from hills like plump batch of grapes, Pisa from a distance and the mountains of Carrara white with freshly sliced marble.
If you squint you can see the leaning tower!
Cinque Terre are five little towns dotting the hills of the coast of Italy. They were deemed a UNESCO heritage site a while back and are now thriving with tourists poking through like a herd of cattle (me) and those who rent rooms perched on cliffs to write and watch waves crash (me the next time).
We started in Riomaggiore, walked to Manarola and then took a train to Vernazza and another to Monterrossa-al-Mare. Two of the towns were heavily damaged by massive floods last October but unlike the Italian economy, the townspeople were thriving like bees rebuilding their hives.
Mother and I had lunch overlooking the crashing waves as an afternoon rain sprinkled the young soccer team shouting on a nearby field. The proschutto and melon was sublime and the beer was soothing. We sat and recapped the trip so far, our highlights and what we would change.
We walked back to the Stazione to meet the group and catch the train but with some extra time on my hands I decided to walk down to gaze at the once great Neptune who from 1910 till WWII held up a dancing terrace where a generation of Italian’s danced under the moonlight to long lost bouncy bands. The poor God was destroyed during The War but has been partially rebuilt.
That evening the entire crew convened at the steak house on the ship and gorged on too much meat before turning in for an early night where we watched the sunset from the terrace of our suite. How seldom do we spend the time to see such beauty?
Tomorrow is Monaco, however brief a visit.