I am simply thrilled to be a new blogger writing for Kiss From The World! I have been blogging for 2 months about our transitions from Costa Rica to Italy. Please check out my previous blogs: Libellulaenitalia.blogspot.com !
Living here in Volterra, Tuscana, Italia for nearly 2 months has been wonderful! The weather is changing to autumnal colors and smells: bright orange and red leaves, lavender buds, ripe figs, full grown pomegranate, ripening olives, and of course, grapes. Now is a perfect time to mention our trip we took to Cinque Terre over a month ago when the Tuscan sun was blazing with heat.
We were anxious to go visit the seaside wonders known as the "five lands". Although we had visited Italy 12 years earlier, we never had the opportunity to travel up north of Tuscany to a place so splendid with color, architecture, culture and sandy beaches. Our family decided to do things a little bit differently. Instead of booking a hotel room, planning out where we would go, and what we would see….we decided to live a bit more on the edge. We loaded the car up in the afternoon and began driving! We figured we would head to a town close to Cinque Terre the first night and just ask the locals what they thought would be a good place to stay! We drove for quite a while, stopping for gas and noticing the mountainous wonder of Carrara along the way. We could see what looked like snow but instead it was the side of a mountain completely of marble!! It was mind blowing!!
After traveling through many tunnels of high altitude under the cover of darkness, we came across a sweet hamlet town above Riomaggiore, the first of the five lands. This hamlet had a sweet little bell tower, it's own red cross station, adorable homes built into the hillside, and a restaurant that was just beautiful! Very quaint and elegant in it's own way. The servings that passed us by were mouth-watering and thick with aromas of lemon-infused seafood. Contrary to what you might believe about a small town, this little village had locals who were so friendly and kind that we felt right at home. We took a seat and ordered a lovely, delicious meal. As dinner went on, my husband, Bill stood and spoke with the owners. He explained that we were Costa Rican residents who had expatriated from the Philadelphia suburbs of Pennsylvania 4 years earlier. That was when he met Madeline and Paolo, business partners. Madeline was from New York, her husband from Cinque Terre. Paolo a Cinque Terre resident himself. They made fast friends and a promise to exchange homes someday. This was when we had great fortune: Paolo had a local friend with a place we could stay overnight. It was called L'acciuga and located in another little hilltown closeby named Biassa. It had been recently been remodeled and was perfect in size. The young lady who owned the new inn gave us a sweet gift: a poster-sized aerial photo of the quaint Cinque Terre town of Vernazza, which ironically turned out to be my favorite of the five towns.
Upon waking in the morning, we took in a breathtaking view from our parking area, it was Riomaggiore from a distance, just calling us to visit! We drove down the inclines, parked and walked down a steep, beautiful incline. Such gorgeous, rich colors on the tall, slender houses, tourist shops, with the aroma of espresso in the air! Perfect! We grabbed a delightful, expat breakfast complete with eggs and a smile. And we were off to enjoy Riomaggiore. As we walked a bit we ran into Madeline. What a surprise! She talked for a bit and showed us her home located just steps away, above the butcher shop! It felt good to know someone who lived there! We walked the many streets and alleyways and climbed many stairs in search of that glorious view of the Mediterranean Sea. And when we reached the landing it was so BEAUTIFUL! Various shades of blue and turquoise waters. Sailboats, motorboats, and fisherman. We caught a glimpse to the right and further inland of the train that runs through each town and the walking paths that lead for miles on the cliff's edge. We were in heaven! Once we drank up the view. We made a plan to catch the train to the furtherest of the five towns and work our way back through the day.
We boarded the train and headed straight to the beach town, the Italian Riviera-looking Monterosso al Mare. We walked bits of town and then headed to the beach. It was so pretty, The sun was hot, but the sea was chilly. Certainly not like the warm bathwater feel we were used to in Costa Rica. The kids played while we took photos until we felt it was time to head to the next town.
Town by town, we took in the local art, ceramics and cultural flavors. We especially enjoyed Vernazza! So romantic with it's faded, yellow bell tower, docked boats swaying with the waves, oceansiide restaurants, the historic fort built on it's edge and the huge waves that ferociously slam against the rocky shore. Yes, my daughter and I stood on the rocks to enjoy the huge, salty splashes of sea water that came to play with us! We never giggled so hard! We jumped on the train and headed back to Riomaggiore, We grabbed a simple snack of various seafood yummies in a cone easy to eat like popcorn and headed to a lookout point to catch the sunset! What a day!
Again, we had no plans for the night, just the idea to find a quiet place to stay overnight before we headed home the next day. And we got lucky! Found a two bedroom apartment up on the second floor above a narrow, shallow set of stairs…a little storybook-like. It was located in a quaint part of the main road in town with a sweet balcony to share the next morning's breakfast. My daughter, Siena and I had the idea of getting some Italian style foods for breakfast: Nutella, breads, provolone cheese, salami and juices. And then it happened: we heard rumbling and constant splashes. Without warning, a rainstorm began and we were about to be caught without an umbrella. We decided to just enjoy the rain. We ran laughing from awning to awning dripping with rain carrying our precious breakfast. It was a sweet memory. Watching the streets wash with heavy rain in the faint city lights. We returned to the apartment, dried off and hit the hay. It was a great weekend to experience serendipity, whim and joy together as a family. We'll have to do it again somewhere else, soon!