Italy
Pignone

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    • Jun10

      Monterosso: We ❤️ You!

      June 10, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      Let me start off by being extremely positive today! Richard and I woke up, had breakfast and headed off to Monterosso! What an absolutely amazing, enthralling, challenging and beautiful walk it was! We both found it challenging and I was proud that Richard kept pushing on and he was equally proud he did because the end result was everything I had heard about the Cinque Terre and more! More beautiful in scenery, landscape and spaciousness but more importantly, the people were everything I remember Italians to be: friendly, welcoming, kind, generous and innately humorous… What an absolutely beautiful town it was. And how different the inhabitants were! You could feel a difference in the air. Hard to describe but it reminded me of Mykonos with its beautiful alleyways, sloped spaces, hundreds of cute little restaurants and WELCOMING smiles! Thank you Monterosso you have restored my heart and soul and love of Italy! 💚🤍❤️

      On returning to Vernazza I had dread in my heart… All I am going to say is this: I actually think even the locals don’t want to be here (obviously not, but seems like it!) I concede that I made a mistake in booking into this town for our specific requirements in a holiday destination. Had I chosen Monterosso things may have started off differently. Who knows? 🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️ We live & learn. It is what it is!

      My morning started off by heading up to the information counter at the station where I was greeted with the same nonchalant attitude as yesterday. Thankfully a wonderfully beautiful couple from Canada heard my questions and spent 20 minutes telling me all about the walks, the best way to proceed, tips, hints and everything any other tourism bureau would and should offer. It was wonderful and informative and said results for the success to follow. I’m not speaking without experience; I also worked in tourism and if I’d have been as wet & unhelpful as the staff in V I wouldn’t have lasted a week!
      💚🤍❤️

      It took about 2 1/2 hours on very steep cliff tops and steps. But, I loved every single minute of it! I feel exhilarated and accomplished. Was just such a magical and beautiful day! Restoration of my faith in humanity! 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻

      I desperately tried to convince Richard to stay in Monterosso for dinner but understandably he was plum ‘tuckered out’ and wanted to head back to that place which I shall not speak of in name, just as “V”!

      So, please enjoy the wonderful images of the spectacular walk along the path from the place we’re staying at to Monterosso! I’m sure you’ll agree they are out of this world!

      As soon as we arrived at the end of the walk there was an instant opportunity to dive straight into the crystal blue sparkling water. I could not resist or get in there quick enough. I just took everything off except my jocks and went straight in. It was like nothing you can imagine after a 2 1/2 hour hike! I felt instantly refreshed. We had lunch atop a magnificent cliff top and then spent the afternoon wandering around looking at the most picturesque of towns. Just so Stunning 🤩😍✊🏻🥰

      A friendly local business owner informed us of a bar where we would be able to get reception and Wi-Fi which was also a relief because I could inform my parents that everything was okay. I love them very much and it was distressing to know they were worried. It was such a relief to be offered the use of connection by this bar in town. I thanked them from the bottom of my heart! Incidentally, I had actually started to embrace the fact that I was completely void of technology. I hope to transfer some of this behaviour in my life when I return home 🏡 and asked Richard to keep me in check if I stray! We are FAR too invested in technology these days and I feel I need to start living in the moment more back in Australia 🇦🇺

      On arriving back to V I headed straight for the water for another swim. Interestingly the swimming harbour was full of seaweed and rocks which was symbolic of my experience here. Enough of that! I think you get the idea now! 👍🏻😉🙃😂

      Richard and I had the most delicious pizza for dinner back in V and was served by the most gorgeous of Italian men who actually made the pizza 🍕 lovingly in his oven. He was as sexy as they come! No photo unfortunately lol 😂 Sorry Mummy! 🤣 Both Richard & I were equally disappointed for us (but happy 😊 for him) when he showed us photos of his cute daughter 🫤🤩😉😉😉

      Richard has headed to bed… It is 11 pm and I have taken the Cinque Terre express back to Monterroso for one last lemon spritz in this beautiful little village! It is magnificent! I love it love Love Love love! 🍋🍋🍋❤️❤️❤️Everything I know and love about Italy 🇮🇹 is contained herewith 🥰🥰🥰👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

      As I enjoy my Lemoncello Spritz please enjoy magnificent wonderments of our day of hiking 🥾 and delighting. Viva Italiano! 💚🤍❤️
      Read more

      So glad you are both enjoying it all --even without WIFI for a while .We were so glad to hear from you when you phoned Troy !! We didn't know what to think .---All our love to you both!! [Love Mum and Dad XXX]

      6/10/22Reply
      Traveler

      We need to not rely on technology so much! Remember when I lived in London. No phones or messages. Only postcards and letters and occasional phone from box 📦 We all need to live like that again. So refreshing not to have to look at phone 📱 all day!

      6/11/22Reply
      Traveler

      Phew! And all is good again in the world. Monterrosso has made up for it and then some. Wow! It is truly spectacular just like I imagine it. Keep enjoying it all Troy xx

      6/10/22Reply
      Traveler

      Big time! Just beautiful Riomaggiore now!!!! A new adventure x

      6/11/22Reply
      Traveler

      Wonderful Richard

      6/12/22Reply
       
    • Jun9

      Oh Fuck! 🥺😢😩🤬

      June 9, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      So, I’m sitting here at 10pm looking out to sea 🌊 at what should be Paradise and blissful but this afternoon has been the first challenge of negativity of my trip!

      Let’s get the obvious out of the way first… Vernazza is, as you can see from the photos, truly beautiful. The proprietors and business owners; not so much!

      So, we arrive at picturesque and postcard pretty Vernazza… Everything should be perfect, just like the brochures say it should…

      Here is my experience…

      Off the train and I am so hot 🥵 that I could almost blow smoke rings out of my arse!

      Look carefully they said, there is only one street they said, you will find your accommodation, they said… it’s so easy, they said. So, off we schlepp but we just couldn’t find our accommodation. And there are tourists spatially unaware everywhere!

      Already having more than wonderful experiences with beautiful, honest, caring and considerate Italians in Rapallo (and most other Italian cities and towns) I thought the best thing we could do would be to simply ask if I could tap into the Wi-Fi at a bar or shop so that I could phone 📞 my accommodation provider.

      The first bar I went into point blank rudely turned me away, being told there is no way I would be able to use their Wi-Fi… I informed Richard and said we probably need to go back to the station to ask tourist information ℹ️, after all, that’s what they are there for. To GIVE tourist information!? So off we went… Through the hordes of tourists! Rudely walking past & through you as you attempt to navigate your way up the main road/pass with heavy bags. 😫

      Finally get up to the station to speak to the man in charge of tourism information ℹ️ … Clearly not a position he should be holding down. It seemed to be putting him out and to be the most inconvenient & biggest effort for him and he couldn’t possibly afford to even give us a shred of politeness and care considering our dilemma. ‘Informing’ us, there is only one street, it shouldn’t be hard to find…!?!?🤪😡

      Eventuality, after reluctance, he decided that he would call my accommodation provider. ‘Informing’ me (as he is paid to do) that my accommodation provider would meet me at the pharmacy on the main street. Sounded like a reasonable plan to me… So off we went…

      On arriving at said Pharmacy I walked in and politely asked the pharmacist if he was aware I was to meet my supplier in his shop. He threw his hands in the air without skipping a beat and said he knew nothing about that & he was “…just the pharmacist!” And walked off! Rude! Arrogant man! Plain. Simple. Rude! 😤

      Finally my host did show up and took me up 40 extremely narrow & dangerously steep steps to my room. (I dare not even photograph those steps because, not only would my own Mother pass out with fright for the safety of her only son, but these shiny/slippery steps break all kinds of OH&S protocols & rules.) Remember also, I was already as hot 🥵 as a lobster 🦞 in a boiling pot, had to lug a 17kg bag up said 40 narrow steps and had been treated like shit already by a handful of “tourism providers” (…I use the term loosely!)

      Open the door, relief 😮‍💨…it looked good. She said she was in a hurry and quickly showed me the basics. I asked for the wifi password and she informed me it is not working at the moment! I politely (again) explained to her it’s a shame & inconvenient because it is my only access to the outside world. She shrugged her shoulders and left…☹️😠😣

      It took me 20 minutes to try and work out how to lock and unlock the door. Richard may have a different story here, but regardless, it was an extremely anxiety producing for me and I was at breaking point by now! After much twisting and turning of the key I finally worked out how intricate force and ‘safe-like’ precision must be applied at a certain angle carefully for it to be opened 😩

      By this stage both Richard and I were in dire need of some water. This should’ve been an extremely simple task but we were greeted by a very gruff & unreasonable convenience store owner who refused to take card payment and insisted on cash 💷 only. In this post Covid world it is completely unreasonable to insist on such a thing. I tried to keep cool but, as you can imagine I was hurting inside. What an arrogant bitch she was. As you may imagine I was at the stage that I felt like telling her to stick her water where the sun don’t shine but I needed it more than I needed air at that point! 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ This entire ‘shit show’ reminds me of my experiences in Paris. This sheer arrogance, self entitlement and dismissive nature of the residents who rely on us to exist simply turns me off! 👎🏻

      I composed myself the best I could and reminded myself where I was, how lucky I am and decided to go for a swim. I felt instantly better as I frolicked in the water. Yes! I did use the word frolicking because I need to have some sense of positivity within this blog…😉💪🏻

      Richard and I met at seven, as arranged, and looked for a suitable place for dinner… Every single restaurant was discovered to be way overpriced, knowing the captive audience they have. Regardless, we chose one that looked nice; up on a platform overlooking the main street. We ordered the shared seafood platter… It consisted of 5 SMALL PLATES: rubbery octopus, two different kinds of anchovies: one fried and one boiled 🤮🤮 some paste that resembled fish roe dip mixed with grated carrot and some morsels of boiled fish which was passable. Oh! Hang on, I forgot to mention the bag of stale bread that was thrown…yes…THROWN upon our table as we sat down… I’m not exaggerating, it was stale and it was tasteless! Robyn, do you recall the gorgeous bread bag I shared with you and Mike in Lucca?We experienced how wonderful real ‘bread 🥖 in the bag’ should be! 👎🏻 Second course of AVERAGE pasta with what tasted like store bought jar pesto mixed through it 👎🏻 Not a patch on the last couple of nights. Not even fucking close! 🙄😡

      Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse there was a huge thunder clap & lightning ⛈ very, very frightening…🫤 and some rain began to fall. Everyone ran for cover, even though it was really just a passing summer shower. Once again Robyn, you will recall our rain experience in Florence? Where we were able to put up our umbrella and enjoy the moment… We weren’t even given that option in this case. I would’ve happily put up the umbrella and waited the 10 minutes until it passed. ☔️We were ushered into their less than adequate indoor seating space resembling a spare room at grandmas which was also as hot as hell! I kindly asked if the air conditioning could be put on & the owner only saw fit to open the door slightly. 😭 Tight ass! 🤯

      By this stage I had an absolute gut full of the whole afternoon and night. The service was crap 💩😩particularly when compared with last night. To try & compose we went and got a gelati which was also average compared to what we had in Rapallo. 🥺

      Everything was closed by 9 pm! Richard decided to go up to his room but I sat on a bench by the beautiful waters edge to compose myself and practise some mindfulness to alleviate the burning disappointment that had been generated deep within me… 😢

      I suppose, essentially I am just sad and disappointed more than anything else because I had built-up the Cinque Terre so much in my mind & from watching you tube, research & reading that it just wasn’t living up to any of the hype and well below expectations 😥 I have a feeling that the shop owners and proprietors in Vernazza think the immense beauty of the location & landscape will overshadow their arrogance & self entitlement. Newsflash: it doesn’t! 😖 😥

      Anyway, I feel better for getting it off my chest but you probably won’t even get to read this in real time until I am (hopefully) feeling better… because it seems we won’t have phone 📱 access until we leave! 🫤

      Think it’s important to demonstrate that not every day can be good, even in ‘paradise’. And, may I say this afternoon was about as fucked up as it can get! 😢😠😡

      I remain positive and hopeful that things will turn around tomorrow… but once again, you may not know until this leg of trip is over because Richard and I both don’t have wifi in our apartment and none of the restaurants will let us use it…🤨🤯🙄

      I don’t quite understand why these places that rely solely on tourism need to be such cunts to the tourists! 🙄🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️Especially after the Pandemic 😷 You’d think they’d be bending over backwards to offer exceptional customer service rather than treat us like nuisances!

      As I said, let us hope that tomorrow is another day and a better day… Fingers crossed that this is one bad afternoon and that is all it is…🙏
      Also, I hope Richard forgives me for my grumpy and irritable attitude…🥺🥺🥺

      PS: this is an update to the above… I have woken up early at 5 am because the ‘double’ bed that was advertised is two beds; shabbily pushed together that have moved apart in the night… The bed is as hard as the floor and the air-conditioner sounds like an aeroplane ✈️ taking off! Oh! And the bracelet I purchased at the market yesterday had broken and fallen off in the bed. 🙁🤦‍♂️💩

      I am going to have to practice calling on my inner strength & summoning my positivity and resilience deep deep deep from within today. Mindfulness will hopefully save me as it often does. I can’t let this experience sour the rest of my trip because there are so many more wonderful things still ahead of me! As the little red caboose said, I think I can, I think I can!🤞🤞🤞🙏

      PS: Enjoy the pictures… As you can see it is a beautiful location. But as the old saying goes: not all that glitters is gold. 🙅🏻‍♂️😢😢
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      Traveler

      Hopefully you will have a much better time today 🔮🩹🪬💎💎💎💎🕢🔜✅🚸🎀🧸🛎🔑🗝☎️🗾⛲️

      6/10/22Reply
      Traveler

      Absolutely have! This was just a 6 hour blip in the wonderful tapestry of life! Thanks 🙏 DD X

      6/10/22Reply
      Traveler

      So sorry you had a shit experience. Say Va faculo to them

      6/10/22Reply
      Traveler

      You bet! Seriously will use that! Is it “fuck u!?”? They deserve nothing less. Although, I’ve softened a bit! 🙃🙃🙃🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️😜😜

      6/10/22Reply
      Traveler

      It’s “va fanculo” and yes it means Go F…. yourself” hahaha. Handy to know

      6/10/22Reply
      7 more comments
       
    • Day27

      To the rhyming & the chiming of the bell

      May 22, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

      We're right next to the Church of St. Margaret of Antioch in Vernazza! This is from our window, the back of the church is about 10 feet from our apartment. They ring every 30 minutes between 7 and 10, and sometimes there's an extra show...Read more

      Traveler

      Wow! It's pretty but also quite loud:)

      5/22/22Reply
      Traveler

      Just want to say again how much I enjoy your daily updates and the wonderful pictures.

      5/22/22Reply
       
    • Day28

      Santuario di Nostra Signora di Reggio

      May 23, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

      We took a very curvy bus ride up into the hills to the sanctuary above Vernazza. The early people that settled here first settled high up in the mountains for protection and farmed on terraces. Each of the Cinque Terre villages has a sanctuary high above that was one of the first things built.

      We were the only people there and it was lovely and peaceful. We then wound our way back down on foot to Vernazza. We saw a lot of homes tucked away in the hills, and some cars that we still can't quite figure out how they managed to get there.
      Read more

      Traveler

      How did Willow do?

      5/24/22Reply
      Traveler

      ...not great, but didn't throw up this time so that's progress.

      5/24/22Reply
      Traveler

      What is this?

      5/24/22Reply
      Traveler

      A little grotto with a fountain for travelers... the face looks very pagan for church grounds...

      5/24/22Reply
       
    • Day46

      Ausflug nach Vernazza

      August 23, 2021 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 22 °C

      Schöner Ausflug m dem Zug über Sestri Levante bis Monte Rosso. Dann 2 Std nach Vernazza gewandert. Man könnte ja alle 5 Dörfer erwandern, wir begnügten uns mit einem. Wollen ja wiederkommen😉 Der Bahnhof war wunderschön, m orangenbaum, Palmen u Oleander. Süden halt.Read more

    • Day31

      Fire in the Foothills

      May 26, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

      We heard a helicopter and looked up to see smoke coming from the hillside above Vernazza. They lowered someone down and the fire was out within minutes. All of the hikers on the trail turned around and came back quickly!Read more

    • Day34

      CT II: Der Weg nach Vernazza

      November 2, 2021 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Nach dem gestrigen Regentag ist für heute wieder recht schönes und trockenes Wetter angesagt.
      Also: Wanderschuhe, Kappe und ab in den Zug nach Monterosso.

      Im (*für mich ist es DER Cinque Terre Nationalpark; es gibt aber auch Beiträge, in denen es DIE Cinque Terre heißt) Cinque Terre sind die meisten Wanderwege gebührenpflichtig (7,50 €) bzw. mit der Cinque Terre Card gebührenfrei.
      Irgendwann im November, vermutlich, wenn nahezu keine Touristen mehr kommen, sind die Wege bis Ostern gebührenfrei.

      Das Meer ist heute auch wieder sehr unruhig und ich könnte in Monterosso stundenlang an der Promenade stehen und dabei zusehen, wie es gegen die Mauern und Felsen prallt und teilweise die Leute auf der Promenade durchnässt :D
      Irgendwann kann ich mich lösen und gehe zum Startpunkt des Wanderweges nach Vernazza, zahle den Eintritt, kriege noch gesagt, dass es durch den gestrigen Regen teilweise sehr rutschig sein könnte. Also: Attention please!

      Mit einer Horde anderer (insbesondere französischer) Touristen geht`s unfassbar viele Stufen hoch. Ich habe nicht gezählt, aber nach etwa 10 Minuten komme ich oben an.
      Das war zum Glück der anstrengendste Teil. Danach führt der Weg u.a. zwischen Weinbergen und Olivenbäumen entlang - natürlich immer wieder mit Blick auf das Meer <3

      Nach 2 Stunden gehen, fotografieren und pausieren komme ich in dem bunten und beschaulichen Vernazza mit nicht mal 800 Einwohnern an.

      Und auch hier: 2 Einträge für die vielen Fotos :)
      Read more

    • Day7

      Walking the Cinque Terre trail

      August 23, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      We head off in our gym gear at 11.30am to find the start of the Cinque Terre trail.
      I am so pumped for this.

      Through the tunnel up the hill and off from Monterosso we go.

      Except,

      Athena stops at some steep downward steps.
      She tells me she can't do it.
      She is afraid of heights.

      (As this is not the first time Athena has pulled out at the last minute on me, due to her fear, whilst adventuring, I say ok I will see you at the hotel. and I simply turn around and just keep walking)

      I did look back to check if she made it down the steps. And sure enough she had. I walk back and ask are you coming then, she says yes.

      Off we go, I am so excited, the first part is very steep, lots of steps, straight up. A good glutes workout.

      However, our adventure turned out to be very slow going.

      So what is mean't to be a 1.5 hour trek turned out for us to be a 4. 5 hour trek.

      That woman was a mess. Shaking. She clung to the rock walls and the shrubbery like her life depended on it.

      In the end she clung to my hand or arm or top whenever the skinny path became open. She never once looked out at the glorious view.

      I did just wanted to walk freely, but was not allowed to just leave her stranded.

      The track was beautiful. Very steep with stone steps along the way. Thin pathways, enough for one person to get through.

      People were walking dogs, one lady had her baby strapped to her back. The walk was easy once you got up higher. The ocean to our right heading to Vernazza would pop out you.
      I'd say 'wow Athena, look at that' but no dice.

      As we went so slowly, I never even broke a sweat.

      We walked through vineyards, between rock walls, over bridges with waterfalls.
      A cat sanctuary sits in the middle for homeless cats. I was sad here.

      4 hours walking a difficult trail in the heat, whilst 'pulling' someone along whom is scared to death, now that deserves a bourban at the end.

      Many hikers passed us. and we would ask how much further. They would tell us 30 mins, which for us translated to 2hrs.

      Honestly, with Athena wearing dark sunnies, it looked like I was leading a blind person over the trail.

      After much trial. We hear the noise of people from the town.

      And the view of Vernazza, is before us.
      HELLO VERNAZZA!!! You beautiful thing xx

      I would walk this trail again, anytime. Even with Athena xx
      Read more

      Traveler

      Ahh that looks so awesome poor Athena ...I would be sad about the cats too and would be trying to rescue them lol ..I'm laughing reading this ..just love the way you write 😍😘

      8/25/19Reply
      Traveler

      Well done to both of you. What a shame Athena was so scared and afraid to look. The views are amazing. I was jumping up and down at how far I had come!!! Love the view over Vernazza. I sat at that cat sanctuary too and marvelled how far the volunteers had to walk ( up hill ) to reach them. You are knocking this holiday out of the park, Sandra!!! So thrilled I am along for the ride.

      8/25/19Reply
      Traveler

      Hi Sandra, amazing views and great walking! So proud of Athena for pushing on, hopefully you celebrated with a relaxing cold one!

      8/30/19Reply
       
    • Day5

      Cinque Terre 🇮🇹 🥾

      May 5, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

      Heute wandern wir 🥾 😊 🇮🇹 Leider doch im Regen ☔️

      Cinque Terre - das sind fünf Nachbargemeinden an der schroffen Italienischen Riviera (Steilküste 😲). Über einen Wanderweg, den Santiero Azzurro, sind die Küstendörfer miteinander verbunden. Wir sind gespannt und hoffen das Wetter hält 😊 leider hat es doch geregnet ☔️

      Die Anfahrt zum Ausgangspunkt war schon außergewöhnlich… wie oft glaubten wir, dass an der einen oder anderen Stelle der Straße niemals zwei Autos durch passen 😅

      Der Wanderweg von Vernazza nach Corniglia ist anspruchsvoll aber die Aussicht von jeder Stelle aus atemberaubend schön 🤩 und das sogar bei Dauerregen ☔️☔️☔️

      Also heute waren das Wetter und leider auch das Essen schlecht 👎 aber wir wurden mit einer beeindruckend schönen Landschaft, malerischen Dörfern und einem tollen Blick aufs Meer belohnt.

      Irgendwann dann mal den ganzen Weg gehen … kommt auf die Liste 😊👍
      Read more

    • Day34

      CT II: Vernazza

      November 2, 2021 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Wirklich sehr sehr hübsch!!
      Vor 10 Jahren gab es in Vernazza Überschwemmungen. Beim Anblick der Wassermassen im Hafen ist das sehr gut vorstellbar :(

      Die engen Gassen, die bunten Häuser, der Blick vom Castello (war mir 2 € wert) und auf das tosende Meer lassen mich einige Zeit in Vernazza verweilen.

      Aber zufälligerweise nur solange, dass ich in Levanto noch den Sonnenuntergang mitbekomme....
      Read more

      Wunderbare Eindrücke - wie auf professionellen Fotos [Elisabeth]

      11/3/21Reply
       

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