Pisa to Monterosso Al Mare, (Cinque Terre), Italy
The train trip from Rome to Pisa went without anyone challenging me for my seat (se previous entry). Next was a 35 minute break until the train to Monterosso, on the Cinque Terre. The train trip from Pisa to Monterosso wasn’t without incident. I got on the wrong carriage, walked through the train to find my seat only to find out later that I had got the carriage wrong again, by the nice ticket inspector told me to stay there. Then, when the train stopped at La Spezia, the American couple sitting near me and also traveling to the Cinque Terre got off the train…. So I did. Then I realise I shouldn’t have (too late) and I had to wait until the next train, fortunately only a few minutes and then I finally got to see the Cinque Terre.
This section of the Italian Riviera is named as it is literally five (cinque) towns (terre). Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. These five towns are somewhat isolated and that is the way they like it. There are no roads directly connecting these towns, only a train line and walking track, which I believe is rarely without obstructions somewhere along that way. The towns were isolated on purpose to keep them safe from pirates from days gone by.
Monterosso is beautiful. Yesterday, there was fine rain, but that didn’t take away from the Cinque Terre’s beauty, much like the back beach is just amazing (if not better in the rain). The really magical time was just on dusk when I popped out to get dinner. I asked reception man if there was anywhere I could get takeaway pizza. He directed me to Fornaio Di Monerosso bakery which does street pizza at night. I got the ‘5 Terre’ which was mutti Italian tomato sauce, locally made mozzarella and homemade pesto. Bellisimo!
As I waited for my pizza, I wandered around taking photos of what was (in comparison to daytime) a deserted, and very, very pretty town. No filters needed for this beauty.
I stayed at the perfectly located La Villa Degli Argentieri, just across from the beach. My single room was really well appointed with glimpses trough the palm trees, and views of the church next door and the hills at the northern end of the Cinque Terre. The bathroom was completely ocean themed with the ‘sand in resin’ toilet seat, sea creatures on the mirror and a vanity and tiles that looked like water.
Last night I watched Italian television for the first time. ‘Border Security’ was on. That must be made in a lot of countries! Next on channel nove (9) was the funniest show called ‘BOOM’. The fact that I didn’t understand most of the talking didn’t take away from the entertainment. Team of four contestants have a multiple choice question to answer, eliminating one wrong answer at a time. They eliminate the wrong answers by cutting different coloured plastic ‘fuses’ coming from an oversized novelty “Mario-esque’ black spherical ‘bomb’. They have 60 seconds to eliminate (and cut the fuses) of all but the correct answer and it’s corresponding fuse. After each fuse is cut, they must wait for the lights and sound to signify they were correct. If by chance the cut the wrong fuse, they get covered in power that is the colour of the correct answer, which
This morning, I was deciding whether to go downstairs for breakfast when I got a call via Messenger from the Princess. Decision made. I ate last night’s leftover pizza while talking to her and finish putting my things together to check out. She was driving home from work, we spoke for over an hour. I so love technology!
After the call, I checked out and asked nice reception man if I could leave my bags there for a couple of hours while I again had a wander around the old town again. The clouds and rain from yesterday and it was a day out of the box; not too hot, not to cold. This time, I purposely wandered up quiet laneways, finding so many beautiful buildings as I got further from the gelato and limoncello shops. Even when the crowds are out, you can still feel like you are on a solo exploration in Monterosso.
Time for morning tea, and I went to last night’s pizza shop which has in it’s bakery disguise. For just over €3, I got a custard filled donut, an iced lemon tea and a table in front of the shop so I could just watch the world go by.
I picked up my bags and made my way to the station for my trip to Genoa, giving myself plenty of time. A few stops in to the trip, a nice Englishman sat across from me. It turns out he was a retired teacher who has taught English all around the world. He told me that there had been a rail strike on, (news to me). I told him that according to Rick Steves, the best thing is to go with the flow and basically get any train going in the general direction you want to go and eventually you would get there. He laughed and said that was exactly what he was doing. Because of that he had a one hour stopover in Genoa. He showed me the way out of the station and walked with me until he knew that I knew where I was going. There are so many nice people out there.
I am writing this on the train from Monterosso al mare to Genoa where I meet MSC’s ship the Magnifica tomorrow.
Oh, and I seemed to manage a train trip without drama……… Go Me!