Coast of Cinque Terre & Porto Venere

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Porto Venere

Our day started out with heavy rains but after a one and a half hour bus ride to the City of Porto Venere everything was beautiful again.  Our shore excursion today is LVJ9 Coast of Cinque Terre & Portovenere.  Along the way we saw large marble processing facilities that seemed to carry every color of marble imaginable.  This is the prized marble known as Carrarra.  We also passed through an area popular for the storage and processing of sea containers.  We learned why people in the region built their homes high up on the mountain tops.  The reason: To stay above the mosquito range.  Who knew that mosquito’s don’t fly higher than 40 or 50 meters.

Once in the region of villages known as Cinque Terre, we first visited the City of Porto Venere with its colorful buildings and seaside shops and restaurants.  We took a coastal walk of about a half mile just taking in the beautiful serene landscape.  Once in town we walked narrow passages filled with the local townspeople with the absence of all vehicles.  We followed our guide up into the old city towards the Church of San Pietro.  The views from the top of the church of the Mediterranean Sea were breathtaking as we heard about the long waiting list to have weddings at this location.  We climbed to the roof of the connected outside structure via a steep and slippery staircase for unobstructed views of the surrounding scenery and landscapes.

Leaving the Church we found a nearby staircase heading up.  We walked higher and higher to the Church of San Lorenzo.  The Church had a large surrounding cemetery overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and they had vacancies.  If you’re looking for that special spot for your final resting place, I assure you this is it!  After walking around a while longer we gradually began our descent back through the old city.  If we had more time we could have climbed to the castle still higher above us.  We had just twenty five minutes of free time remaining until we had to meet at the dock for our trip to Monterosso.

Once back in the coastal part of the town we made a restroom trip, which has been 50 cents everywhere in Europe so far, and got some water.  We boarded a water transport which took us to the Village of Monterosso first stopping to drop passengers at the Village of Vernazza.  Again the pastel houses built one atop another in the hillside were everywhere.

Once in Monterosso, we were taken to a small restaurant where we sampled some local white wine and ate bruschetta with pesto and black olive paste. We were then on our own and decided to eat lunch in town.  We found a small café and had a plate of spaghetti bolognese with fresh parmesan and bread.

After lunch we walked through the village of Monterosso with its interesting narrow streets and shops but not anywhere as narrow as Porto Venere had been.  We then headed to a Gelato shop and got a signal double dip of Amaretto and Pistachio.

We met with our group at the entrance to town and headed towards the Monterosso train station.  At 3:19pm we boarded the train and road for just one stop to the town of Levanto.  On this short trip we met a couple from Cincinnati Ohio who were with only the second sailing of the new Carnival Vista.  After departing the train everyone made their way to our waiting motor coach.  By taking the train this one stop thirty minutes are saved traversing the mountain by motor coach, making the return journey to the port just one and a half hours.

The return journey offered us an education in olive production in the region from our tour guide who owns an olive grove.  We learned that all olives are grown green and are either picked or left on the plant longer until they eventually turn black and become more acidic.  It was a long day and we slept on the trip back to port.

14,700 steps logged.