Goodbye Tuscany, Hello Cinque Terra

Trip Start Oct 04, 2006
Trip End Oct 21, 2006

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

We were anxious to leave our hotel...but not Siena. It was a fascinating city.

Be that as it may, we got up early, had a small breakfast and trundled our bags to the train station, a 20 minute walk which we scoped out yesterday.

We figured out which platform we'd be leaving from and caught the train out without a hitch. However, when we pulled into Empoli, we had to scramble through the subway to find a screen telling us which platform we were supposed to be at...and at Pisa, we barely made our connection since they changed platforms on us at the last minute. We felt like we were the old couple ("Meridith...")on Amazing Race...but we made it.

Went through some pretty countryside with little villages dotting the hillsides. Went through Carrera too and saw tons and tons of blocks of marble, waiting to be processed.

But the biggest, widest smile broke out on my face when, suddenly, we popped out of a long, black tunnel and there it was...the Ligurean Sea in all of its azure splendor. We disembarked at Monterosso and walked from the new town to the old, taking in the sights and sounds and smells and grinning from ear to ear. It's sooooo pretty here and the weather continues to be warm and sunny. Thanks to Rick Steve's excellent maps, we eventually found our way to Hotel Villa Steno and were very happy to check in to such a lovely place.

We have a spacious room with a balcony -- and it's very clean and bright. After depositing our luggage and having a quick look around their beautiful gardens, we went to explore. We stopped for a sandwich and beer at a sea side cafe, Nuevo Eden, and just watched the waves roll in and marveled at the gorgeous color of the sea and the craggy cliffs and mountains.

Walked over to Il Gigante, a huge statue of a giant at the end of the beach, holding up, at one time, a huge bowl of vegetation. Poor Gigante...he has really fallen upon bad times. He's missing both arms and looks rather ragged.

Anyway...Monterossa is such a change from Tuscany. It seems almost tropical...a lot like Mexico with its bouganvillia, cactus and agave. It's beautiful and we're very content. Can't wait to explore tomorrow!
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