Portovenere, Italy
Thursday, August 19th
We got up this day and caught the bus to Portovenere.  It was wonderful to see the men being so chivalrous on the bus.  Every one of them got up for a
woman that came on and gave her his seat.  They did not know what to do with me as I stood at the back with Mark looking for our bus stop, refusing their
offers of their seats.  “Stupido Americano”.  

Cinque Terre is a traffic-free area.  No museums.  Just ocean.  And sun.  Lots of sun.  Hot, hot sun.  One village after another, all with great swimming.  5
in all.  And great hiking trails from one city to the next.  And drinking lots of wine when you get there.  Basil loves it here, it’s the birthplace of pesto.  
Original pesto is basil, ½ cow cheese, ½ sheep cheese, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts.  Yum.

Portovenere is a larger city than La Grazie and the port that seemed to be the connection to everything else we wanted to see.  It was a very charming city
and we knew we’d come back to eat there that night.
We took the boat to Riomaggiore.  The first
stop for us at Cinque Terre.  We watched
some boys diving off of a rock formation.   
This was the beginning of our journey down
along a very long pathway along the coast.  
Of course, we could have taken the train as
well.
And then walked many steps to Manarola.  
Also a very charming city.  We walked down
a tunnel in the side of the hill, 650 feet, to
arrive at Manarola.  They didn’t have a
harbor so-to-speak, so they had to drop the
boats into the water with a crane.  Amazing.  
Sometimes they show outdoor movies on a
theatre screen that covers the outside of the
tunnel.
Then we walked a very long way to Corneglia.  It was very hot by this time.  It was dry too.  Lots of cactus and lizzards.  We got a little lost.  Which is not
what you want to do when it’s hot and dry and you’re tired of walking.  But we took a tiny, little break and then climbed 400 “scales”…steps…up to the town
of Corneglia itself.  It was not a very friendly town at all.  We were tired.   I was burning up.  We did snag a seat to drink some Cola-Light…with ice, no less.
And then back down 400 scales to catch a train to Vernazza.

Vernazza is locally owned.  There are no major roads, families are very close and have known each other for centuries.  Any spare time is spent strolling
together up and down the lanes.  Or sitting on a bench outside a small shop.  Vernazza is where everyone goes to swim.  It would have been nice and we
did get our feet wet.  But who brought towels, blankets, snorkel gear, etc?  Instead we sat and had a drink in Bar Capitano.  We met some wonderful
people…from New York and Texas.  Rude Americans?…not this time!  They kept me company while Mark walked to the top of the city’s hill.  I just couldn’t
make it to this last hill.  But Mark got lost on the way to the top and chased up and down the streets of Vernazza for awhile.  I think it was just so he could
sweat some more.  But he got the photo he wanted and then we were back waiting to catch the boat back to Portovenere.  

It was quite the ride and very bouncy.  Big waves tossing people about in the boat.  One little girl got pretty sick.  But the rest of us were enjoying the ride
and getting splashed with the waves.
Once back in Portovenere, we stopped at a
little outdoor café where Mark practiced his
Italian…”un bianco vino, per favore”…white
wine, please.  And they brought us a
wonderful assortment of snacks; chips,
olives, nuts, crackers, cheese, and these
pickled olive things that we never did figure
out what they were, but they were delicious.  
Then we wandered the streets until dinner at
another cute outdoor café.