Saturday, November 6, 2010

Euro Trip : Cinque Terre becomes Duo Terre

With our little bit of excitement regarding our credit cards, we were a little late to follow through on our plans to visit the leaning Tower of Pisa, on the way to Cinque Terre. So we stopped in Pisa long enough to pick up some lunch and catch our connecting train to La Spezia, were we would catch another train to the first town in the Cinque Terre group, Riomaggiore. I'm still not sure how to pronounce that properly.

We had heard that you have to pick up passses for the Cinque Terre track in La Spezia, so Annika made some initial enquiries, while I waited on the platform with the bags.

I could see her talking to the info officer. She face palmed. That's not good. Then she rushed out and picked up a couple of tickets from next door, and we rushed to platform 7, to make the next train to Riomaggiore.

It turns out that only one of the tracks that connects each town to the next is actually open. All the rest are closed, due to bad weather. When we arrived, we could see a sign saying that the track between the second town and the third town was closed, due to fallen rocks. And than there was a separate sign, with everything from the third town to the last town being closed due to bad weather. That was a bit disappointing.

However, we got a beautiful room to stay in, in Riomaggiore. It over looks the little harbor, though is not quite visible in all the classic photos of that town.

We decided we would see if the track was open the next day, and if not, we would have our trip to Pisa and take our chances with the whole track possibly being open on our last full day in Riomaggiore.

Well, we're on the train back to La Spezia, having seen the Tower and even walked up it. Holy cow, what an experience. Between the lean that was setting my inner ear on full tilt, and the indents in the marble steps, caused by 800 years or so of traffic, it was a bit of a fun house, minus the fun. We made it to the to the top, but with much trepidation. I think there would even had been cause for concern if the lean was not there, but the lean didn't help. All the smiles in our photos were nervous ones.

I should mention the lovely restaurant in Riomaggiore. La Lampere(?) has lovely seafood, and the regular range of pizza. I had a very nice oven baked Sea Bass with potatoes and tomatoes. Annika had a yummy scampi pasta. The waiters seemed to cover three generations from the same family, and the music was... choice, with selections from something you might hear in a classical fine dining restaurant, to Lenny Kravitz and Green Day.

Tonight will be cheap eats, with take- away pizza and French fries. Tomorrow, we will check out the track, hope more of it opens, and travel between by train if not. There's usually enough to explore in each town, with the non park track, if Riomaggiore is anything to go by.

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