This is the day I have looked forward to since before booking the trip. When Gary and Mary talked of this as there favourite part of the Italy tour I have been excited to see it with my own eyes. Off we set in the bus at 7.30 for La Specia where we boarded an open top boat in this very stunning port!
We cruised out into the Tyrrenhian sea, in 30+ degrees we really are loving this journey. After about half an hour we rounded a corner and caught our first glimpse of riomaggiore! Oh my goodness, this takes my breath away! So picturesque, so colourful, so cute, so hard to believe it is real! As we cruise past we see that the chapel is built of stone and top of the stone around the water's edge, quite magnificent! To hear the story of the house colours allowing the fisherman to know which house to rerun to when they come back from their fishing trips and to hear that mail was addressed by house colour is incredible!
The buildings are so tall, so thin, so colourful! We cruised around each of the five villages, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia,vernazza and Monterosso, stopping at each to drop off and pick up passengers.
Each village is unique and special and distinct! The agriculture on the terraced cliffs around the villages is almost unbelievable as is the steepness and the seeming lack of any easy access! At every spot along the water and along the walls and rocks are bronze sun worshipping tourist bodies. As we disembarked at Monterosso we stopped to paddle in the sea! I wish I had bought my togs... I would be in there swimming....
We toured the very cute village, buying trinkets, a little backpack and a gorgeous top for me! A stunning lunch in the square dining on zuchini flower stuffed with spinach and cheese, corn bread and pizza was a very memorable experience!
Before we knew it it was time to board a train for Rapolla. It was a very pleasant train ride mainly through tunnels along the cliff edges around the shore. As we got off the train we were all very shocked that Lucy caught a gypsy girl with her hand in her handbag! Fortunately she did not loose anything! I guess Lucy wasn't the first one she tried it on because before we knew it the police arrived and ran in chase... A very clear reminder to trust no-one but yourself as Aida keeps reminding us! Grant and I slept some of the two hour bus ride back to Lucca then we joined the tour of ancient Lucca.
This really is an incredible Ancient town completely surrounded by an incredibly thick wall, at least 20-30 metres thick with gardens and walkways and cycle ways now around the entire wall top. This is a gorgeous ancient town with churches, sculptures and stunning buildings everywhere. They are preparing for a summer musical festival and are busy installing seating in and round the squares ready for open air concerts. Yet another gelato... YUM - I really don't think I have mentioned how much I love these... time for a little bit of shopping, then, you guessed it, bus back to the hotel in time to shower and change for a group dinner at our hotel!
Forever I will remember the stunning sight of the first little fishing village just like something out of a picture book!