Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Hiking from Monterosso al Mare up to Soviore

We rise on our first full day in Cinque Terre and decide to take a short hike up above Monterosso to Santuario N. S. di Soviore, the oldest Marian sanctuary in Italy's Liguria region.  Completely renovated in the 18th century, the site offers fabulous views of the land and the sea and features a charming chapel.

The hike up takes and hour or so, with occational glimpses of Monterosso from higher and higher up.

Starting up

Views as we ascend

About halfway, we cross the road that winds down to Monterosso and are rewarded with more spectacular views of the hills and the sea.

Views just keep getting better

We step into the small chapel to admire its beauty and serenity, before starting back down to Monterosso.

In the chapel

Starting down

Arriving back in Monterosso

To celebrate our first full day, we walk over the the fried fish shop at the train station and have two  cones:  fried anchovies, and mixed fried fish (anchoves, shrimp, white fish).

Our reward

From the train station, we walk back up Via Fegina toward the tunnel into the old town, passing the famous Monterosso umbrellas decorating the beach on this beautiful day.  The umbrellas are so distinctive that one day we were wandering down the street in Paris and saw an advertisement that had this exact same view and we knew exactly where they took the picture.

Umbrellas of Monterosso

We're back!

Friday, November 24, 2023

Arriving in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre

We arrive again in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy, one of our most favorite places in the world!  We descend from the train and walk through the city to Hotel Villa Steno for ten days in Cinque Terre, followed by a few days in Isola Elba, just off the coast between Italy and Corsica.

Our stroll through Monterosso's new town, then through the tunnel into the old town reminds us again of how delightful and beautiful this area is.

Scenes of Monterosso

Proceeding up the hill to Villa Steno, we are rewarded on our arrival with spectacular views across the town to the Mediterranean.

View from Villa Steno

We arrive late in the afternoon this time as we try flying to Rome and taking the train from Rome to Monterosso rather than flying into Pisa or Milan as we have in the past.  We unpack in our rooms and head out to dinner at Il Casello (where we seem to often have our first dinner when we arrive in Monterosso) and sit on the outside deck alongside the beach.  Tonight we share stuffed anchovies, papperdelle octopus ragu, and spaghetti with seafood sauce.

View from Il Casello

Stuffed anchovies

Octopus ragu, seafood sauce

Walking back from dinner, we spot a sign at the gelateria with Disney character from the film Luca, which was set in a fictionalized version of Cinque Terre.

Luca characters

Further along Via Roma, heading toward our hotel, we follow a religious procession, with accompanying band, participants, and observers.

Procession and band

What a great welcome back to Cinque Terre!  We're lookin forward to another fabulous adventure in this magical place.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Continuing to Stroll Around Charleston

Our next day in Charleston, we start our stroll at the Market Hall at the end of the City Market and head over to the harbor, before wandering back through the city streets toward downtown.

Market Hall

Carriage parking

We pass the Customs House at the edge of the harbor and enter Waterfront Park, which stretches along the harbor to the Battery at the end.  Along the way, we get even better views (than yesterday) of Fort Sumter where the Civil War began and, in the other direction, the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier.

Customs House

Waterfront Park

Fort Sumter

USS Yorktown

Leaving the harbor, we walk back toward Broad Street, the dividing line bewteen the wealthy and most expensive neighborhoods (between Broad Street and the harbor) and the rest of the city (the other side of Broad Street).  Broad Street is lined with historic buildings with a mix of residences, businesses, and public spaces, all subject to "persistent and scrupulous historic preservation."

Broad Street

A few blocks later, we return to the Market Hall, where we stop for a Charleston favorite:  a biscuit sandwich, in this case with bacon and egg (and a few greens).

Biscuit delight

Directions on how to make a biscuit sandwich,
starting with flour, butter, milk, and cream cheese

After our biscuit treat, we stroll a little further through the streets of Charleston, admiring the fabulous architecture and the great scenery.

More sights of Charleston

It's been a short, but fun weekend in this delightful city!