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Report 1114: Bergamo, Venice, Lerici, Piemonte, Friends & World Cup Mania

By girasoli from Hawaii, Summer 2006

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Page 12 of 23: Cinque Terre by Boat

photo by girasoli

Vernazza

Thursday was my last day in Lerici. After my morning breakfast at the hotel, I headed down to the port and boarded the first boat for Cinque Terre. I have been to Cinque Terre twice before, the first time in 1999, and the second time in 2000, but never by boat.

From Lerici, the first boat you take lands in Portovenere where you then transfer to a second boat. This was my first experience this year with the charging crowd of people trying to be first in line to board the boat. I was lucky to get a nice seat in the front of the boat, a good place to take pictures.

The boat ride was beautiful. It stops in four of the five villages of Cinque Terre. Because of the boat schedule and everything shutting down for a couple of hours at lunch time, I tried to figure out the best way to spend a little time revisiting as many villages as possible before needing to head back to Portovenere to then catch the last boat back to Lerici.

I decided to first ride the boat to the last village - Monterosso. Monterosso is the largest town. Because of the boat schedule, I could only spend time in three towns in order to catch the last boat back to Lerici. I had spent time in Monterosso on my previous visits and so I decided to skip Monterosso and stay on the boat heading back to Vernazza. This is where I departed.

Vernazza has always been my favorite village and I was looking forward to spending a little time in this village. Unfortunately, since this area has been discovered, there has been an invasion of tourists. I could see the change just from 1999 to 2000, but this year, things were even worse! Tons of tourists now arrive by both boat and train hourly. Yes, I was one of them but many others to me fit the stereotypical "loud obnoxious tourist" category. The area is still amazingly beautiful but I only lasted 30 minutes. What drove me away was a man playing songs such as The Sting and New York New York on his accordion in the main piazza with tourists applauding him after each song.

I grabbed a bite to eat and then headed to the train station to check the train schedule. I noticed that the cement bench where Katia, Guido, & I met years ago was gone. In its place was a little store. That made me a little sad as that bench led to a very special friendship.

I took the train to Riomaggiore instead of waiting around for the next boat. Riomaggiore is the town the farthest from Monterosso and the closest to Portovenere. I walked around the town a little taking pictures and then went down to the ocean and sat on a rock on a cliff side by the water enjoying the beauty and worked on a sudoko puzzle (my new addiction). The area continues to be breathtaking.

When the boats started running again, I took the first boat of the afternoon to Manarola (heading back towards Monterosso) to explore the town. I really enjoyed this little town and if I was to return, I think I would want to spend more time here.

I started to feel the effects of being outside in the sun and in the hot weather all day. I took the boat back to Portovenere and then waited for a connecting boat to Lerici. I was pretty tired when I got back to Lerici about eight hours later. I definitely got a little too much sun and was not feeling that great by the time I arrived in Lerici. I decided to have dinner at the restaurant in my hotel instead of walking back down all those stairs into town.

I really enjoyed my stay in Lerici. I now have two favorite bases while in Liguria - Camogli and Lerici.

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