Nuns Still Exist in Italy

Trip Start May 11, 2011
Trip End May 20, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Italian Riviera,
Monday, May 16, 2011

We left our hotel in Lucca in the sun! We drove about 1 1/4 hours through several tunnels through the mountains, exited the highway, had several miles of "St John sytle" mountain hairpin turns, to see the sea and the coast in front of us. We were staying the seaside resort of Levanto, which is a quick train ride to the Cinque Terre area. We hopped the train and arrived in Manarola, the 4th village from Levanto. A picutre perfect village straight from a post card. We grabbed a quick lunch and headed towards the famous hike, Via dell ' Amore, which links Manarola to the 5th village, Riomaggiore.
After a 20 minute hike over the cliffs and overlooking the sea, we arrive in Riomaggoire. This village, just as beautiful, but is hillier. They all are pretty, but kind of look alike! After a quick visit in Riomaggiore, we boarded the train to Vernanzza, the 2nd village, but the most famous. It is the only one of the villages with a natural harbor. Very picturesque, but full of tourists! People mingling around taking us space, to be honest! Took some photos, had some gelati (chocolate with hot peppers - don't hate, it was good!!), and Bob got pooped on by a bird. It even got in his cup of gelati!! I took him to get a cone!!!
We then boarded the train, with the hords of other toursists, and went to the first village, Monterosso Al Mare. This village is the largest with 2 separate sections, an old seciton and a new section. And this village is the most resort like. I liked this one the best. I could see spending time here on the beach, in the quaint old town section, and with the many shops and tattorias which line the beach. Not a bad life, these Italians have!
We took the train back to hotel, which itself is a block or 2 from the beach. We planned to return to Manarola for dinner, but since the trains only run every 45 minutes or so, felt it was safer just to have dinner in Levanto. So we had a nice British lady at the hotel recommend a trattoria, so we hope it is good!
There are many tourists in this section of Italy. We found the bulk of toursists are of course, from the US, but also there are tons of Aussies and Germans here. More so here than the other places we have seen. We are off to Verona tomorrow, and may hit Padua. We are having a great time! Oh, I sat next to a nun on the train from Monterossa to Levanto. She was in her habit and chomping on her gun with gusto!!!

For Jim, Bob's 2 cents:  Maryellen covered all the ground.  Today was very special.  I was taken by how much the area is dependent on a rail system that is carved through the mountains.  Really, were we in the mountains more that out, and several stations were partly in the mountains.  We were standing by the tracks, about 20 meters inside the enterence when a freight train sped past at a high rate of speed...there was a strong gust of wind that would have pulled a child to the ground was amazing.  There were many crowds with most people just killing time..little shopping and lots of eating. The view spectacular & I am really glad we came. 
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Jim on

If a bird has to poop in your gelati, that sounds like a nice place for it to happen. Now about that nun....she must have had very strong faith, because chomping on a gun sounds like a very dangerous thing to do. Strong teeth too.

Had the 2 youngest over for dinner tonite. Great kids; I think they liked it. We are plotting a DQ trip later in the week.

Safe travels. Beware the Lugar-packing priests....

Carol on

I was also intrigued by the gun-chomping nun. Geez, even the nuns are in the mafia there?

When we were on the coast our guide bought a lemon and had us try it, you could eat the peel and everything, like an apple. Don't forget to buy a bottle of limoncello.

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