Italy – La Spezia to Porto Venere Sept 19, 2014


I woke up shortly before my alarm and made my way up to the 4th floor for breaky. Looks like there will be at least 10 of us that will be “non hiking” today, 4 are spending the day in Bonassola, 4 on the easier hike, and 4 on the harder hike. It is so wonderful that we have a variety of choice so that everyone can do what they like to do.

We departed the hotel at 9am and just as we arrived at the train platform, it started to pour, thunder and lightning – I sure hope the weather isn’t too nasty for the hikers! The train wasn’t too busy this morning and we managed seats all the way to La Spezia. The moment we arrived the rain became torrential and option ‘B’ was thrown out there – stay on the train and head back to Bonassola – ha ha.

Within minutes it had stopped and we were winding our way through the streets of La Spezia in search of our bus stop. The directions were easy and within 10 minutes we arrived at the stop. Two of the ladies decided to stay a wee bit and the 8 of us caught the ‘P’ bus to Porto Venere. It was a lovely ride, despite the grey skies, past the port and along the coast line. When we got off and looked towards the town, there were gasps of wow, how beautiful. The town is small and almost medieval looking, but painted in the typical bright colours of this region. A picture postcard view!

Porto Venere

Porto Venere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first order of the day – coffee!  Well, actually, we purchased our ferry tickets and the went to a cute cafe/bar near the opposite end of town and ordered lattes, cappuccino, chocolate and hazelnut brioche.  It was fanimagetastic!

The ladies and Neil decided to see the sights and go up to the church and tower.  I stayed put and ordered a second cappuccino and moved inside as it started to rain.  It rained on and off for about an hour and an hour and then I made my move to visit the sights.

The church and grotto where Lord Byron swam from Porto Venere to Lerici, were fabulous, even under overcast skies.  It gave the ocean a very dramatic look.

 

I bumped into some of the gals while meandering through the delightful streets, every turn a photo, and purchased a few souvenirs and some scrumptious pesto.  image

Margie and I carried on taking photos of the streets, walls, doors, stairs, veggies, absolutely everything.  It just all looks so appealing.

Finally at 2pm we dragged ourselves into a restaurant for a bite to eat and low and behold, there was the rest of the group.  We all have such good taste!

At 2:45, Margie and I decided to make a run for the 3:00pm ferry.  We ran as quickly as we could and up to the fellow that  was loading the ferries.  I asked, Monterosso? And without skipping a beat, he said NO! (in the typical emphatic way) La Spezia and we burst into laughter.  To the back of the line we went, and bumped into Sandy and Neil.

Shortly thereafter, the same fellow, in almost an operatic singing voice, announced the ferry to Cinque Terre: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterossa.  Ok, NOW we can board.  The sea was a little rough but beautiful, with varying shades of green, blue, purple and grey

Getting into each port was very interesting as we went in nose first and with the waves bobbing up and down it was like a walking through a ‘fun house’ ride!  We arrived in Monterosso just as it started to rain. It was a light rain at this point and thankfully we were conveniently seated in a wine bar when it started to downpour.  Thankfully we were right next to the train station and didn’t have far to dash when it came time to catch our train.

Neil treated us to a glass of red Brunello wine which was fabulous.  Shortly after we rushed off to catch our train, only to find out it delayed by half an hour.  While waiting the weather alternated between heavy rain and downpour – quite frankly, not all that different.

Dinner was later tonight as the hikers and the four we left behind had to catch the 5:00pm ferry, during the downpour – now they had quite the ride!  Dinner was pasta with carbonara sauce and I had the sole fish which was very nice.

Off to bed at 9:30pm and did the day’s blog and watched some Italian TV.  I can’t believe there is only one day left :(

For Portovenere Photos see: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152293638496887.1073741921.593681886&type=1&l=e4a078ae84

 

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