Italian adventures: Portovenere, Lerici, Vernazza, San Bernardino
The third day in Italy started by us missing the train, which turned out to be a good move. We had somehow mixed up the platforms and were waiting at the wrong one. So instead of going to Vernazza we headed once more to Riomaggiore, where we caught a boat for Portovenere.
Portovenere is a somewhat bigger town with a nice port and a fort. We strolled around the narrow alleys and looked at the fort, then strolled some more and caught the boat to Lerici.
Neither Portovenere or Lerici are part of Cinque Terre, and Lerici is even further away, on the other side of the “gulf of poets”.
We enjoyed Lerici very much. There’s a nice square close to the water where we had our lunch and then icecream. The boys were thrilled to find a merry-go-round which we all had fun in.
P and I and D and I respectively went on excursions while the others stayed at the square. Up the hill there were some pretty fancy villas. D and I got somewhat lost and had to walk through the Doria hotel to get back down into town. : )
From Lerici we took the boat to Vernazza, an hour’s boat ride. Our initial hesitation to go on a fairly small boat was blown away by then, and we enjoyed the sunshine and the lovely warm weather.
Vernazza has a reputation of being the nicest of the five villages, or so we read somewhere. But I think it was P’s and my least favourite. Maybe we were just full of Cinque Terre impressions already and saw nothing new. Looking back now I think it was pretty nice.
Anyway, we climbed some stairs (everywhere lots of stairs!) and got up on a hill north of the port with a nice view and a bench where we relaxed a bit.
There’s something weird about the people in Vernazza. Either they really move about, or everyone’s a twin or triplet.
When we reached Vernazza there was a guy in a boat. Later I saw him on the main street. Then we wanted to go to the train station to ask a question, and it turned out he was the info guy. Even later on we took a bus to San Bernardino, and the bus driver stopped along the way to talk to a guy in the street… guess who.
Another guy with a big white beard was also at the harbour when we arrived, then up the north hill, then on main street…
P really wanted to go to a village on top of the hill in between Vernazza and Corniglia: San Bernardino. She had found out there was a bus there from Vernazza, and in the end we all went even though it would mean we’d have to walk down the hill to Corniglia. People said it would take about an hour.
San Bernardino was made up of stairs – no ordinary streets. There was even a contraption allowing you to send luggage from the bottom of the village to the top. The amazing thing was that we saw almost only old people there. Somehow they made it, walking all those stairs each day. San Bernardino looked poorer than the five Cinque Terre villages.
Going up the hill the bus driver stopped for a photo opportunity on a hill, going so close to the edge that I thought we all would die. I was standing up in the bus and P saw my face go white. :) Well, we made it, and got a nice view of Vernazza from above.
The walk down from San Bernardino was very pretty. The boys were amazing – a 4,5 kilometer walk after a very long day. Also it was getting dark. We were treated to a nice Cinque Terre sunset before finally arriving back in Corniglia at 19.30.
Dinner was yet more pasta, two kinds: one pesto and one walnut sauce. I liked the walnut sauce but it still wasn’t as good as the pesto.
We did a bit of packing, preparing to leave early in the morning.
I really liked the place we stayed. Le Terrazza. If you’re going to Cinque Terre, look it up.