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After 3 days of drizzle, downpours and cloud cover, the sun finally broke through and lit up Italy for us. We took the train from Rapallo about an hour south to Cinque Terre. After consulting the guidebook, we decided to skip the northernmost village of the 5 coastal towns that make up Cinque Terre and started at Vernazza, which was touted as the "most quaint". Our plan was to walk around town, eat lunch and when we were ready to move on, hike the mountain footpath to the next village south. But after alighting from the train and stepping into Vernazza's sun-washed main street, we wondered if we'd ever really want to leave at all.

Even for a completely cloudless sunny day, the tourists in this hugely popular area were at a minimum. I think there were possibly 40 people all told around town when we arrived and at least half of those were locals. We stopped in a small shop selling ceramics and souvenirs and then continued down to the tiny circular harbor, fronted by a church and enclosed by a beautiful breakwater with stone mosaics and benches along its length. A group of local men were arguing politics heatedly in the sunshine. Cats were sunning themselves on the dock. We could see an enticing cave in the hillside opposite the harbor but there seemed no way to get to it. The terraced farms stretched above our heads into the sunshine and the water leapt in white spray against the rocks.

After a long leisurely while in the sun, we found a pizzeria and had lunch and then headed back to the top of town to find the entrance to the walking path. Unfortunately, it turned out that they were all closed, due to the heavy rainfall previously in the week, so we ended up hopping on the train again instead to Corniglia, the next village south of us.

Vernazza street view

So happy the sun is shining!

Curses! Foiled again!

By the time we arrived in Corniglia, it was late afternoon. There's really nothing much there to see, after you climb the 382 (!) steps that lead up the mountainside from the train station. It's a tiny town full of twisty stone passageways and stairwells with a beautiful terraced viewing platform looking over the blue, blue Mediterranean. We visited the tiny oratory church of St. Caterina, befriended a couple of cats, bought gelato and sat in the sunshine in the tiny square to enjoy it. People were leaving, shops were closing, so we headed back to Rapallo. Happily, we still have 3 towns still to see in Cinque Terre someday!

Manarolo in the distance

Stairway to Corniglia

Sunbasking cat in a stone bowl

Karin's favorite Corniglian cat

(All photos copyright Anders Ek)

Bright & Beautiful Birthday Wishes to dbrus and Belated Ones to davesanngel!
mood: productive
music: Erin McCarley—Gotta Figure This Out

From Megsie

The photos are exquisite! I love the cats too. Especially the one in the bowl. Your kids are so beautiful, and look so big! They all of a sudden are so grown up. What happened? The picture of the stairs up the side of the building and then the little bridge thing was so interesting. I want to climb up there myself. Italy sounds so very lovely. Even if there were 382 stairs to climb to get to one of the towns. I have difficulty catching my breath doing laundry in my own basement!

Re: From Megsie

And Karin actually RAN up those steps (and down them later). I was just glad there was a bunch every few turns! :D

Joy here

Awwwwe! The cats! The blue, blue water of the Mediterranean! The steps! The city streets! The cats! :) As usual your photos rock. :D

Only one question... Why wasn't I there?? HA

Re: Joy here

We made friends with cats wherever we went! There were several hanging around outside our apartment building at night, too, that the kids coaxed close enough to pet. :) Anders is an excellent photographer :)

As to your question, I don't know! Why weren't you there??

Re: Joy here

I remember now! My vacation from my non-existing job hasn't kicked in yet!! :D Doncha hate it when that happens?! ;-)

What pretty cats!!!

They were lovely! And there were several others we didn't get photos of...was afraid I was posting too many as it was! :D


the cat in the bowl looks like it was made of melted cat poured into a stone mold. :)

That's about what he felt like too: pure puddled sun-warmed cat!

Owhh... squee at the kittiepix! :-)


Stunning photos. Italy is really beautiful (and they have a beautiful language too!), and I just love to hear about your trip and see these beautiful photos. You describe it so vividly.



And HOW could I forget the cute cats!? They look healthy too and like they enjoy life in the sun - makes me happy! Cute cute cute!


Anders thought it was funny, that the 3 of us were so taken with the cats. He said the Italians would probably think we were insane!

Oh my, the mother daughter resemblance is so apparent in that photo.


I am really lovin' the photos - must have a copy of these 2 of the kids! Definitely can see they have grown up so much since July!! What a great trip! Almost makes me think I would enjoy the Italian coast too! Love, Lizardmom

beautiful photos. you look so lovely and relaxed there...hope that's how you felt. ;) xo

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lizardek's obiter photos
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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

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