Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Europe Day 8 (Monday)

This is our last full day in Cinque de Terra and we were determined to experience a bit more of the atmosphere around the area. We woke up at a slightly more reasonable hour and went down to purchase some goods for breakfast. We were able to scrounge up some nice looking fruit and chiabatta bread + pesto for a reasonable price so we felt like that was a good enough breakfast. Given the expense of some of the dinners, this was not too bad at all. I purchased some lemon juice that turned out to be just that… without sugar. Painful, absolutely painful to drink. I gave up several sips in knowing that I’d never make it through.

Given that there are 5 towns up and down the coast here we decided to make the hike up to Vernazza (the third town). We really had no idea what to expect so we went down to the information office and purchased our passes that allowed us to travel up and down between the towns on the trails. This was 5 euro apiece but given what we were about to experience it turned out to be a sweet deal.

Admittedly the trail up the coast was a bit hairy. It wasn’t to the point of ridiculousness but at times the trail was pretty skinny and there wasn’t much to our right hand side but cliff face. The views were absolutely gorgeous though. Nothing but crashing waves and epic ocean views. I would say that it took us about an hour and a half to complete the walk but we didn’t stop much and tried to keep the pace up. I think that most people probably take about 2 hours if they are committing to a leisurely pace.

When we got to Vernazza we dithered a bit as to what we should actually do but we agreed that food was probably going to be necessary. We decided upon a seafood restaurant that was also a pizzeria that was about as reasonably priced as the rest of the restaurants around. Food was good except for the fact that Dipper got nothing resembling his order and Ryan decided he was not a fan of the way that shrimp is served in Italy. I think he has a point given the rather ‘whole’ nature of the beast when it arrives on your plate. You have to do quite a bit of digging at the whole shrimp to get to the meat. Given that I am only marginally partial to seafood in the first place, having to wrestle the meat from the dead shrimp dude would probably put me off it pretty quick.

Our original plan for the day was to hike to the city beyond Vernazza but given that we were all feeling exhausted and sunburned we decided that we should probably head back. We ran to the train that takes you back to Monteroso and rushed to buy a ticket. The schedule for the trains really doesn’t make any sense and there is only really one constant. They are nearly always late. We were able to make the train that was supposed to arrive 20 minutes before we got there. The train had a few downsides. We were not able to sense a molecule of moving air through the cabin while the train was moving. This made for an extremely stuffy experience and we were lucky that the entire ride lasted less than 5 minutes. I was feeling very nauseous by the end and was glad to get off the train.

From here we decided to go up and shower because we were pretty gross after not doing so for 2 days and then going on the hike. Hot. After doing so we waited until dinner time and then ate at a restaurant referred to as Chiak. We had walked by it 7 or 8 times before and always thought that it looked pretty good. Ryan ordered Mussels which presented him with a HUGE bowl of Mussels that were cooked to perfection. I am really no judge but they were incredibly good. Overall its was probably up there with our best dinners had in Europe.

After dinner we were determined to find some Prosecco so we stopped by a few shops and landed in a place that gave free samples to nearly every guest that walked in. They handed us 5 or 6 half shots of random liquors. This was an interesting experience purely on account of the fact that you could probably go in there and 20 minutes later be tossed. Good times, for some! We ran into a couple of girls here that I spent 10 minutes convincing Dipper to go talk to with minor success ultimately. He decided to do so and Ryan and I went back up to the Place.

After about an hour and a half we decided to go down and check on him. We found him in the “Fast” bar which is supposedly the American bar in Monteroso. We had avoided this place since we got there because we had no interest in visiting an American bar while in Italy. Dipper found it to be momentarily worthwhile but opn learning that each of the girls possessed several veto-worthy qualities, wished that we had come and disturbed him sooner. Regardless, Ryan and I had packed for the next day and gone to bed by the time Dipper came home with the news of how lame the chickies were.

Until tomorrow!

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