A day at sea then onto the Cinque Terre

Today was our day at sea sailing between Salerno and Livorno. We woke to blue skies and a lot of sea then after the usual way too much breakfast headed off to have a massage each. Fabulous way to kill an hour or so! We followed this up with a champagne of course then got changed into our costumes & took up position in front of the outdoor movie screen. We were going to watch “Now you see Me” but there was American Football on – Andrew you would have been very happy! So we sat & waited for the movie, soaking in the sun and having a refreshing swim… then the heavens opened!

I ran for cover to the cabin where I typed up yesterday’s blog and Rod ran for cover & finished watching the football in a dry chair and then started to watch the movie. I joined him later but it was FREEZING on deck so we rugged up under our towels. So much for the warm Mediterranean weather.. it must have been a cold change & tomorrow it’s only going to be 17 degrees in Genoa!

We then enjoyed a lovely dinner and joined in a music competition & didn’t do very well so went to bed ready for an early start today.

We docked in Livorno around 7am & we were at the meeting area at 7.10 ready for our shore excursion. This was the only one we booked as Livorno is very out of the way. We could have caught the train to Florence but given I’ve been there twice, we decided to take in the Cinque Terre. It is a small section of coast up the north west of Italy which basically translates to 5 Towns. They sit to the west of La Spezia & is an area we have been interested in for some time.. aided by the fact that my cousin has married an Italian and they have a home in Lerici. You can walk between the villages which we will definitely do some day given how much we enjoyed the day. We thought of it as a “taste” of the area.

The tour bus met us at the ship and we were greeted by a very animated and interesting Italian guide with an Egyptian name of Tarek! On our way we passed Carara which is best known for its white marble.

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We were amazed as we drove past the numerous factories with HUGE slabs of marble waiting to be exported. We could even see the white marble in the mountains as we drove past. The area is also dotted with lovely little mountain villages – typical of Tuscany. We left Tuscany and entered Liguria with the first big town we entered being La Spezia..

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Then it was onto the little village of Manarola where we were met by another guide who took us through the village. We started with a walk through this charming area.

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The villages have been built into the rock cliffs similar to the Amalfi coastal towns. The rivers that flow down from the mountains pretty much flow under the villages and into the sea. The buildings are more colourful than on the Amalfi coast being yellow, orange, red etc.. the colours being decided by the Council. We came upon a beautiful piazza with a mosaic floor representing the natural fauna of the area. The rock formations in this area are also incredible and almost look like wood.

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We then boarded a motorboat/ferry that took us to Monterosso passed the other 3 little villages.The scenery from the boat was beautiful. The steep cliffs are all terraced with vineyards, olive trees and lemon trees and appear to be less inhabited than the Amalfi Coast.

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Arriving at Monterosso we viewed the lovely church built in the 12th century then to the oratory with the most unusual decorations due to the fact it is used for funerals.

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After some wine tasting (beautiful dry white wines in this area) and some pane e pesto we wandered the lovely laneways then picked a ristorante by the sea for lunch. It was a lovely spot as we were able to look over the old town and out to sea over the beach. Again, not attractive in that the beach consists of darker coloured pebbles but the water is the most beautiful of azure/aqua and we enjoyed watching the kids jumping from the rocks. We had a mixed entrée of the chefs favourites which turne out to be 8 dishes in total. Not knowing this, we had also ordered pasta & the speciality of this region is a funny little pasta in a pesto sauce. Needless to say we managed to finish the lot along with the vino e birra & enjoyed it all thoroughly.

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We met back up with our tour and caught the train to the next stop where our bus was waiting to return us to the ship. On the way back we passed the Field of Miracles and guess what we saw!

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Back on board we had a great night just cruising from entertainment to entertainment. No formal dinner tonight as we were still recovering from the huge lunch!

 

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