The Sahara and Us Morocco 2011

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cinque Terre 2012


Each year there has been one common element to every trip and that is our visits to the Cinque Terre in Italy.
Harbor Boats
This year has been no exception other than about 6 weeks after we left last year two villages, Monterrosso and Vernazza (The crown jewel), were hit by a flood that devastated their towns. When we caught news of this last year we had emailed our friend Cristian in Levanto where we stay how things were. For 3 weeks we did not get a response to several emails. Finally he replied by saying that for awhile power was out, then while Levanto was OK he was busy helping the other villagers in those two communities dig out from the terrible damage. 

Dredge Crane in Harbor
No doors? They are 10' down in the mud and debris
As we hiked the 5 villages this year, yep we still did the cross country 15 km hike in 5 ½ hours, we saw first hand the damage that was done as not all of it can be repaired within such a short time. It is amazing though that the small cove that was completely filled in by debris, and the main village street that was 10 feet deep in mud, that they are back operating in most locations again this year. The tourists are back, which says the money will come.
Our hike was different this year since we were confident of our knowledge of the area and provided some helpful tips. Also, the temperature was easily 35C, and very sunny, and while we had applied lots of sunscreen beforehand we likely sweated it all off in an hour. Cris, when we came back and we were talking with him remarked, “you are so black, I live here and I do not have the color that you do“. He’s right.
We never grow tired of this area. Levanto is our second home, the Cinque Terre region is so beautiful and when the weather is great, like we always seem to catch it here, it is remarkable. 
Crystal Blue Waters
It's a Bit hot standing here,
Take the @#$% picture
Each evening we go down to the village centre to get gelatto as our treat. Usually we walk which allows us to rationalize that we walk off the calories associated to the treat. The flavors are amazing. The shop we go to makes the gelatto fresh every day and he constantly tries new flavors. Last evening, we went out for our Mussels appetizer, red wine, and spaghetti with pesto, Genovese pesto being famous in this region (due to Genoa). We decided  that we could have the gelatto as well and we tried his newest flavor “chocolat/orange intense“. Wow, the creaminess, the flavors, it was just exceptional. 
The devastation she felt is palpable

As we had our cones we sat back in the village centre, watched the village activities go on, and just immersed ourselves in such a friendly and peaceful culture. The Italian people are such a joy to be around, except on the highway where they turn into potential assassins. 

Dredging continues today
Cruiser, Red #12 Princess Cruises
now don't lose your ticket!
Our biggest watch-out-for here are the cruise/bus tourists that sweep into a village inmass for a few hours, follow a guide with a small wand reading (Red #12) while wearing a FM frequency receiver, trinket shop and disappear to the next village and think they have been to Italy. Some, like the guy pictured here are totally oblivious to their surroundings only taking cues from their wives, “Here’s your ticket, now don’t lose it!”  You can tell them by the tags they have to wear (Red #12, Princess Cruise). 

One guy, not this one, I saw was so intense that he had lost his group (they all had radio transmitters to hear their guide and he was hearing they were leaving) that he nearly ran over us and  the children in the streets of Vernazza looking for his group. Then a couple minutes later he ripped back down the street again frantically looking for them.

 I said to Sandra, “Man I missed an opportunity. If I had caught his tag number when he had come up the street, I could have commented back to you when he came back down frantic in earshot of him, Well at least tour XYZ has left by boat.”  

I know, you’ll say it’s cruel, but it would have been funny, except for the CPR part! 

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