Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Around Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre

Wow! There is so much more to Monterosso than we knew, even after seven years of visits.  This trip we stayed long enough to enjoy the full town.

The last ferry of the season to Portofino is today and Laura and Jennifer decide to take it and spend a few hours traveling by sea up the northern coast and experiencing the sights and food of that city.  I take the opportunity to wander through Monterosso, walking up and down the streets and steps, exploring the city as I never had before in all the years we've been coming and staying.

Our first stop every day is the CRAI grocery store at the bottom of the steps down from Hotel Villa Steno.  We buy water (still and sparkling) before we start our hikes and wine on our way back to consume as we enjoy the late afternoon and our beautiful view from our patio of our room at Villa Steno.   We also stop to admire the other options in this small store (we are not in Safeway land anymore!).

 CRAI Five Lands Market

But, enough drooling over the food, today is for wandering around the city.  I first walk down to the harbor with Laura and Jennifer and wave as their ferry heads north.

 Ferry loads and leaves

I then head into the old town of Monterosso al Mare, built into the hills, and take steps up to see where they lead.  I find all kinds of neighborhoods hidden down these streets.  As I walk up and down the steps, paths, and streets, I hear the happy chatter of families, guests, tourists, AirBNB clients, everyone having a good time getting ready for another day in paradise.

 Streets and paths of Monterosso Old Town

At the top of the streets/paths, I receive great views across Monterosso and of the hills in which it is nestled.

 Viewing the hills at the top of Monterosso

Descending back into the city, I walk through the lower streets of the old town, heading toward the tunnel connecting the old town and the new town (the sign across from the fountain in the old town square is for a  fundraising dinner to be held in the square to benefit the victims of the recent earthquake, featuring the signature dish of the stricken region, spaghetti all'Amatriciana).

 Lower streets of old town

 Monterosso's new town beach and beachfront

I started with food and will end my grand tour with food.  The new town has the bruschetta and focaccia  shops, but both feature gelato shops!

Fresh bruschetta

 Focaccia, for here or to go


Gelato enjoyed!

There's a reason we come back to Cinque Terre and to Monterosso al Mare every year.  The sights, the food, the people, the adventure, the character, the charm, the relaxation.  They can't be beat!  Pure vacation!

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