On our most recent trip to Italy, we stayed in the Ligurian town of Levanto, just a few kilometers north of Cinque Terre. Levanto is connected to Cinque Terre via the train, and is only about 5 minutes away from the northernmost town of Monterosso. However, if you stay on the train for just one more stop, you find the village where my wanderlust heart lives: Vernazza.
Or at least, we thought it was only more stop. In a real universe where logical things happen, it was only one more stop. But this is Italy after all, and Italy is sometimes it's own kind of universe. A universe where train schedules that are posted for all to see are deemed incorrect by the conductor once you get on the train, and half of the train finds themselves en route to La Spezia, instead of making stops in the other four villages. And did I mention that the conductor makes it like you read the schedule wrong? The universe that Trenitalia lives in is a strange one indeed.
But I digress. After making it's first stop in Monterosso our train sped on to La Spezia, and then a short time later it sped back in the direction we wanted. We got off in Vernazza hungry, thirsty and eager to revisit the village we love so much.
We also had some work to do while in Vernazza. We took the pictures for my first Sakura Bloom Sling Diary post, (which happened to be on the theme of strength), while we were there, because why not? This place is built out of the cliffs, both the homes and the agriculture, and is continually battered by the sea, withstanding sun and sand and salt...it is a testament of strength.
But besides all of that, everyone knows I love a good photo op.
We took the majority of the pictures on a once-hidden-to-us beach, one that I think may have been hidden to a lot of people, prior to the massive storms and landslides that hit Vernazza in October of 2011. I always seem to remember this cave looking underpass as being partially full of water, and I only ever saw one person walk back there. It was a remote rock beach, with scattered sea glass and terra cotta pieces that have been molded and shaped by the Mediterranean. The cliffs were there for all to feel how tiny we actually are in comparison to nature. And the cold Mediterranean was there to wake up our tired feet. It's fun to have visited a tiny town such as Vernazza for the fourth time in about three years and still find new things to love.
After taking our pictures and a snack break for Oswin, we headed down to the beach and Piazza Marconi.
Oswin has been going through phases of teething pretty badly (but still no teeth to show for it), and one of those phases happened to be while we were in Italy. Foccaccia worked wonders on her little gums.
Our trip to Vernazza was short this time around, but it was worth it to see the town up and running again. The last time we had visited was in January of 2012, when the town was still in ruins after the October storm. The restaurants and shops are open, and it made my heart so happy to see a bustling Piazza Marconi. Next time I hope we can grab dinner at Gambero Rosso (above), as their Frutti del Mar risotto was the best I've ever had in my life. Until next time Vernazza!
A la prochaine friends...