Learning some new tricks

This morning started with us organizing suitcases, so we could determine how much pasta we could buy at one of Milan’s markets. We found that almost all the markets are closed on Monday and most are only open on Saturday or Sunday. After completing that we headed for the Metro to buy a day ticket and travel the city.

We headed out to the Isola Merchant Market. It is a highly rated market and open on Monday. Unfortunately, when we got to the market, it is much more of a small food market, as in restaurants, not food stands. Disappointed, we walked around the neighborhood a little bit, we each got a cappuccino, and checked out a local grocery store to see if they had anything we might want. Sadly, they did not.

Fresh pasta being rolled in the Isola Merchant Market
Fresh pasta (maybe we should have eaten here
Cappucinno in Isola (Linda doesn’t always like her picture taken, so Dave got it twice here)
Cappuccino, as good as it looks

We got back on the train and headed to the Duomo. Linda was hungry so we found a panini shop and shared a salami sandwich that had pecorino cheese, yellow tomatoes and olive pate on it – Tasty. We then boarded a tram to take us out to Navigli. This is an area that is known for its bars and aperitivo. When we were last here with Jon and Elaine in 2007, Jon and Dave visited the area. It looked much the same to Dave. It is a “pretty” area with a canal going through the neighborhood, where the restaurants and bars are located on both sides. While we didn’t have a drink, we were able to locate a gelato shop. Dave was boring and went with Stracciatella and Stracciatella di Mente (Mint chocolate chip). Linda was more adventurous and had Noce Pecan and Pecato di Gola (Mixed Nut with Caramel).

Canal side in Navigli
Navigli, bars and restaurants on each side of the canal
Nicely decorated balcony in Navigli
Dave and Linda in Navigli

After finishing our gelato, we headed for the tram back to the apartment. Well, Dave had some serious issues navigating with Google Maps. To be clear, this wasn’t a Google Maps issue, it was a Dave issue. After a delay of probably 20 minutes, we made it to the tram stop and we back to the apartment in about 15 minutes. We likely could have walked it quicker.

This evening started with us taking a tram to our cooking class located about 35 minutes away from the apartment on the east side of Milan. It should have been an easy trip, but such was not the case. About halfway through the trip, there was an announcement in Italian and everyone exited the tram. We were told that the tram was not able to continue and we were only a third of the way there. We thought we’d wait for the next tram, but we were told there would not be another and that a bus would be sent. We decided, instead, to walk to an alternate tram. Along the way, we made the decision to hail a cab. This turned out to be a good decision, as we got to the class on time and we had a nice driver.

Our cooking class had five members, a couple from Surrey, England (Laura and Des), a man from New Jersey (Sateesh), and us. Our instructor, Hillary (pronounced with a silent “h” and the “I” is a long “e” … elary), was great. She was very interactive and loved getting questions; we had plenty.

Our menu for the night was Caponata (a traditional vegetable starter), Ravioli filled with Potato and Basil with a Pecorino cream sauce and black pepper (Ravioli Cacio e Pepe), and Cantucci (we call it biscotti). The preparation and cooking processes took about two hours. It was fun to do the prep and the group worked well together. One thing we were surprised by was how “easy” it was to create the pasta. We have tried this before and failed pretty miserably at it. We will definitely try it again. Of course, the proper machinery helps.

Our kind of place, let’s start by making dessert, Cantucci. Flour, sugar, egg, butter, baking powder, almonds
Laura and Des, couple from Surrey, England
Linda whisking our egg for the Cantucci
Ready to do the first bake of the Cantucci
The vegatables to be baked for the Caponata (eggplant, celery, zucchini)
The Cantucci sliced and ready for the second bakee
The tomatoes and onion ready to be pan fried for the Caponata
Dave kneading the dough for our Ravioli Cacio e Pepe
We had more dough than potato filling, so we made some Tagliatelle
These are the trimmings from the ravioli cutting. They were also cut and prepared for the meal.
Adding the olives to the Caponata
Tomatoes and onions added to the Caponata
Final product for Ravioli stuffed with potato and basil in a pecorino cheese, milk, and pepper sauce
Final product of the Caponata
Sateeesh (New Jersey), Laura (Surrey), Linda, Des (Surrey), Dave, and Hillary (Milano – instructor)

The five of us took the tram back toward the Duomo and as we reached our stops we all departed the tram and went our separate ways. Overall, it was a great evening.

Tomorrow morning, we will do a quick visit to the Duomo and do the final pack of our bags.

If you would like to see pictures in more detail, you can click here: 2022-10-10 Milan.

Relaxing and checking out the wine

This morning started with sitting around drinking Nespresso coffee and enjoying the vineyards. Our peace was interrupted only by barking dogs and farm implements. Dave thought about when we lived in California and the people who bought way out in valley for the solitude of the agricultural setting. Once there, they became upset because of the smells and sounds associated with farming … lol. Dave took a little walk before stopping because the insects were bothering him.

Sunrise from the Airbnb in Mango
Grape leaves getting into autumn

Early in the afternoon, we took off for our wine tasting at Azienda Agricola Dante Rivetti. Our guide was the daughter of the owner, Dante. It was a nice adventure. Grapes were being harvested and that meant processed. It was an interesting process to see the grape skins and juice being separated from stems and leaves. We then went past stainless-steel fermenting casks. From there we went into the aging room and saw many barrels and bottles being aged. It was overwhelming to think how much wine was in this room.

Church in Rivetti from the winery
Pomegranate tree at Dante Rivetti
Harvested grapes ready to begin the process
Hopper of grapes
Workers processing grapes
Machine that separates the juice and skins from the vines and leaves
Our guide explaining to Dave how the juice is processed (the skins float to the top, five times a day the juice is pumped to the top to run through the skins)
Stainless-steel tanks
Aging room – The casks at the end are about a five-foot diameter
Special barrel at Dante Rivetti
This wine was bottled 22 years ago when we moved to California for the second time
Dante Rivetti wine barrel
Packaging area of winery

From there we headed to the tasting room. It was much bigger than we anticipated. We suspect that they do wine tours, including larger buses. As it turns out we had the place to ourselves. That was, until another couple from the US (New Jersey), showed up. They had just arrived in Milan and drove down. They knew far more about the area and grapes than we did. Last time they came to visit they shipped three cases home.

Tasting room

On to the tasting. We started with a white wine, Langhe Arneis Briccodoro. We both liked it, especially, Linda. We then had the Moscato D’Asti Riveto. Dave, not the one for sparkling wines, in general, thought this one too sweet. As he went to pour it out, Linda intervened and finished the glass. From there we went to the Dolcetto d’Alba Sitovarei. It is a red wine from young grapes that is fermented in steel. Neither of us found it interesting. Next, we tasted two vintages of Barbaresco Bric’Micca which comes from younger Nebbiolo grapes and ages for 24 months. The 2018 vintage was quite spicy (not normal for this varietal according to our NJ friend). The 2016 was much milder. We moved on to the Barbaresco Riserva Bricco di Neive. This is a 2015 vintage that is made with older vine grapes and aged for 36 months (24 months in French Oak casks, 12 months in large casks, and 18 months in the bottle). It was very good and liked by both of us. We then tasted three vintages (2013, 2017, 2020) of Barbera d’Alba Alabarda Superiore. All three of the vintages were liked by both of us, but the 2013 was our favorite. Unfortunately, when it came time to buy, we found that the 2013 was only available in magnum bottles.

Wine, cheese, meat, and breadsticks … everything looks good here

In the end we purchased six bottles to be shipped to us and took one of the Briccodoro with us to enjoy in Milan tomorrow.

As we finished up, a group of men came into the tasting room. It seemed that they must be regulars. As it turns out, it is a group of men from Switzerland who come each year. They are a group of “hobby chefs” and when they visit, they cook a meal for the people at Dante Rivetti.

The gang from Switzerland is in the house

We decided to drive into Neive (we were here briefly yesterday) and walk around the town. It is a cute town. Though Dave does not understand why, Neive seems to have quite a draw for tourists. There doesn’t seem to be that much here; though, there are two churches.

View from vineyard road
View from Neive
St. Michael’s Church
Cheisa San Michele – this church was odd; seems more like a museum now
Mary in Chiesa San Michele
Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Neive
Sanctuary of Church of Saints Peter and Paul
Altar in Church of Saints Peter and Paul
St. Michael, the Archangel statue in wood
Back of Church of Saints Peter and Paul
View from Neive
Flowers adorning the street in Neive
Chimneys on old palace in Neive
Downtown Neive

Since we attempted to make reservations too late for the restaurant we wanted to visit in Barbaresco, we needed to make other plans. So, what do you do if you can’t get into the white tablecloth restaurant? You get take-out pizza, instead. We stopped in Santo Stefano Belbo to get the pizza. While waiting for the pizza, we checked out a grocery store. Dave told Linda that he thinks grocery store walk-throughs are like walking through a museum for Linda. Dave wandered down the street to the local church, but realized it was about 18:00 on Saturday and there were a lot of people starting to enter to attend mass.

Church in Santo Stefano Belbo

We got our two pizzas for a total of 12.50 euros and, well, it showed. They tasted okay, but there was not much quantity of toppings. Such is life; we’re on vacation.

Linda navigated us home the back way, avoiding the early evening Mango traffic (that’s a joke). While Dave didn’t get to see much (the road was narrow and the edges dropped off), what he did see was beautiful.

View from road near our Airbnb
Vineyards along the road by the Airbnb
View of maturing vineyard

At the house, we put the pizza in the oven to warm it back up and settled in for the night.

If you would like to see the pictures in more detail, you can click here: 2022-10-08 Mango-Neive.

Those Are Some Impressive Mountains

Dave started the day trying to get the extra suitcase issue resolved. But it will have to wait another day as we had a date with Monte Cervino (The Matterhorn).

We had our usual breakfast at our usual caffeteria.

Two cappuccinos, a chocolate croissant, and a crema croissant

We then headed out of Torino around 10:00 by rental car, carefully navigating the busy streets. Quite nerve-wracking! It seemed a bit hazy as we drove north, hoping it would clear so we could get some good pictures in Breuil-Cervinia, a small ski town just south of the Italian border with Switzerland. It took almost 2 hours to get there and the most difficult, of course, was getting out of Turin. GPS works wonders and it is funny to listen to the same dude you hear give directions at home, rattling off the long names of these Italian streets. Then there are his distance directions, all in meters and kilometers. Can’t he just say six blocks?!

Just like on the train the other day, the terrain turned quickly to mountains and as we exited the freeway ($12 for a 1+ hour ride) onto two-lane roads, we were on the lookout for snow-covered mountains. It took less then 15 minutes to find them and then we rounded a corner and There It Was: Monte Cervino (The Matterhorn). At 14,700 ft in elevation, it is part of the Italian and Swiss Alps. Because part of it is in Italy, they can claim that it is their tallest mountain. The air was crisp, about 60 degrees and the sky was clear and blue. Perfect for picture-taking.

Homes in the valley below the Italian Alps
Town in the valley on the way to Breuil
Autumn colors and Alpen Mountains
Buildings on the way to Breuil
Italian Alps and changing colors
Italian Alps … we don’t know what these bicyclists are thinking pedaling up this roadway
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery

We parked the car on the street and walked around, snapping selfies and long-range mountain views. The architecture here is totally Swiss Chalet. Being a very small town, there were more hotels than anything (winter ski season is coming next week), some nice boutiques and shops, one church and only one restaurant serving lunch at this time. We stopped at the Eden Pub, which was packed with men who looked to be mostly 30-something guys, who had come in from work for lunch. Dave figured that they were ski lift employees getting things ready for the coming season. We were bummed that the tram wasn’t in service yet – we could only imagine the view from up there – and getting there would be something special too.

Linda, Dave, and Monte Cervino
Linda, Dave, the valley, and the Italian Alps
View in Breuil
Italian Alps from Breuil with church in foreground
Breuil, Italy (we planned, at one time, to stay in the upper part of the building on the right)
Breuil, Italy
Dave, Linda Monte Cervino, and Breuil
Dave, Linda, the Italian Alps
Breuil, Italy
Alpen View
Panoramic view of Italian Alps

We ordered off the menu (unlike the workmen who appeared to get all the same thing – lasagna followed by a meat/potato/vegetable plate). There must have been 50 guys stopping in for lunch and they were gone again 30 minutes later. Linda had a beer and homemade raviolini soup (small rectangular ravioli filled with meat and cheese in a chicken broth, served with parmesan cheese). Dave had red wine and pappardelle with porcini mushrooms and shrimp.  The bread has improved coming north – the crust isn’t nearly as hard and the soft white inside is holey and chewy – and there were also breadsticks in the basket. Everything was delicious. We decided that we couldn’t not get dessert as they had Apple Strudel on the menu: YUM – perfect apples and raisins in a dark sugar and cinnamon sauce covered in flakey pastry with thick whipped cream on the side. It was a favorite of ours when we were in Austria years ago and we never pass it up. Too bad we needed to drive back; we could’ve used a nap.

Workmen having their lunch in Breuil
Beer, bread, and wine at le Bistrot de l’Abbe
Pappardelle with porcini mushrooms and shrimp at le Bistrot de l’Abbe
Linda eating her homemade raviolini in chicken broth at le Bistrot de l’Abbe
Apple Strudel and cappuccino at le Bistrot de l’Abbe

We got back to Turin around 4 pm. Linda worked on the blog wording while Dave navigated the hundred-plus pictures. Then we talked about what to do on our last night in Turin. We have hit a lot of the nearby restaurants but the closest one and it is always busy. So busy that the noise can be heard through our windows four stories up. We took a little walk then got to Poormanger just after they opened. As it turns out, their claim to fame are baked potatoes with different fillings. The potato inside the skins are soft, like twice-baked. We each had wine, red for Dave and white for Linda, then ordered: Dave got one called Carbonara which had a creamy cheese, tons of bacon and pecorino; Linda’s was Thai Pollo which was large chicken chunks in a creamy Thai chili/yellow curry sauce with yellow pepper. Both were outstanding and very reasonably priced. We walked along the main shopping street to window shop then went to our favorite gelato shop here – the girl who helps us spent 3 years in Canada and could converse well. Dave had salted caramel and cookies & cream; Linda had mango and raspberry. 

Potato Jacket at Poormanger filled with carbonara sauce, pork cheek, pepper, and pecorino cheese
Potato Jacket at Poormanger with Thai chicken, coconut milk, yellow peppers, ginger, onion, coriander, lime and chili

Back at the apartment around 20:45, we finished up the blog and talked about tomorrow. We’ll be heading south to some of the best wine country in Italy later in the morning.

Markets, markets everywhere

The morning started quietly and with thanks. Thankful for a good night’s sleep and a quiet, clean apartment.

We left the apartment this morning to walk across the piazza to our morning coffee and pastry shop, Caffeteria Palazzo di Citta. Thankful, again, that they were open today. We each had a cappuccino, one crema cannoli, and one crema croissant. The croissant blew us away and we look forward to coming back tomorrow to get two of those.

Cappuccino, Crema Croissant, and Crema Cannoli

From there, we started walking to one of the two markets we’ll visit today (opposite directions, of course). Along the way, we stopped at a cioccolateria (chocolate shop). We checked out the local chocolate candies that were available and said we would return later.

We continued our walk to the market and, lo, and behold, we came upon a church. This one, Chiesa di San Domenico, felt much more like a neighborhood church, not a tourist stop. We thought it was pretty on the outside, so we walked in. The interior, while not lavish, was very nice to see. After leaving the building, we worked on getting some exterior photos. One older woman, seemed quite upset with Dave for taking pictures. She just stood there looking at him. When he stopped taking pictures, she continued on her way. Not really sure what that was about.

Chiesa di San Domenico
Mosaic floor in Chiesa di San Domenio
Altar in Chiesa di San Domenico
Stained Glass window in Chiesa di San Domenico
Stained Glass window in Chiesa di San Domenico
Neither of us could find a light shining on this painting, so between how the artist painted it and the light from the window above, Mary and the baby Jesus jump out at you.
Close-up of Mary and Baby Jesus in painting
Dave was surprised by the Star of David design in this light in Chiesa di San Domenico
Chapel in Chiesa di San Domenico
Exterior of Chiesa di San Domenico with lady who either wanted to be in the picture or didn’t like Dave taking pictures

We made our way to the Porta Palazzo market. This was a huge market with everything ranging from used (I mean consignment) clothing to housewares to luggage to food of all kinds. It was a fun market to stroll though. Dave is looking for a piece of luggage for us to bring some items back with us. Our only purchase was some green beans. The market was exciting for all its sounds and characters.

Used clothing items at Porta Palazzo Market
Porta Palazzo Market
Porta Palazzo market inside food market
Linda checking at the bakery at Porta Palazzo Market
Meat market and bread vendor at Porta Palazzo Market
Fresh pasta in Porta Palazzo Market
Butcher shop in Porta Palazzo Market
Did someone say they needed a calf’s head … sorry, Norman
Seafood in Porta Palazzo Market
Seafood in Porta Palazzo Market
Butchery and sausage trailer in Porta Palazzo Market
Butcher shop in Porta Palazzo Market
Produce vendors at Porta Palazzo Market
Pumpkin or zucca is a very important crop here
Porto Palazzo Market
Porto Palazzo Market

Staying true to our word, on the way back to the apartment we stopped and bought our chocolate candies. Fortunately, we didn’t need to buy much at this price.

Candies at the cioccolateria
Candies at cioccolateria

We stopped at the apartment and rested a little bit. All the activity is taking a toll on us physically, especially Linda, for back and hip pain.

We then headed the other direction from the apartment and went to another market, Market Valdocco Palestro. This market is similar, but smaller than this morning’s market. It is set up on a boulevard with stalls on either side of the sidewalk. The big item of interest here is the Nescafe coffee pods. Vivien and Joseph have a machine for them, so we are checking to see if they have any interest. Dave liked the morning market more than the afternoon; Linda felt the afternoon market drew a better clientele.

Neighborhood near Market Valdocco Palestro; seems a bit more upscale here
Neighborhood near Market Valdocco Palestro; seems a bit more upscale here
Tables in Market Valdocco Palestro
Tables in Market Valdocco Palestro
Tables in Market Valdocco Palestro

On our way home we stopped at Pasticceria Tamborini (this name is similar to the salumeria we went to in Bologna … Tamburini, but clearly different. We decided to have a bicerin here, since the place we wanted to go to is closed today. A bicerin is a hot drink made with espresso, drinking chocolate, and milk/whipped cream. It is an expensive concoction, but very tasty. We became aware of it in Stanley Tucci’s show “Searching for Italy”. One thing we knew was you didn’t stir the drink, you just drank it. Well, one of us had to stir it to get it all together. The other just created a channel through the whipped cream to let the other liquids through it.

Bicerin at Pasticceria Tamborini
What we expected to be biscotti, but turned out to be more like a lady finger

We continued to the apartment and relaxed before Dave headed out to get our rental car. We aren’t leaving until Friday, but it was cheaper to rent the car on Wednesday than on Friday or Thursday. We’ll use the car to go to Breuil-Cervinia tomorrow and then over the weekend in the Bra-Alba-Mango-Asti area. Dave came back slightly unnerved as there were detours along his route to the parking garage and what should have been a ten-minute trip turned into a 35-minute trip. His only hope is that with the re-routing, he didn’t end up in a limited traffic zone.

After Dave got back, we started to get ready for dinner. It’s been a while since we ate dinner, we’ve typically done a heavier lunch and skipped dinner. Tonight’s dinner was at Porta di Savona, a location recommended by Lonely Planet. The food and service were great. Linda had a mixed salad and trout with hazelnuts. Dave had veal tartare with caramelized onions, Caprino cheese, and hazelnuts and agnolotti with meat sauce. For dessert we had Bonet Langarole (chocolate and macaroons pudding).

Tonight’s house wines of choice
Mixed Salad
Veal tartare with caramelized onions, Crapino cheese, and hazelnuts
Trout with hazelnuts and fennel
Agnolotti with meat sauce
Bonet Langarolo (chocolate and macaroons pudding)

After a nice walk home, where we saw a cool church, we settled in for the night.

Cheisa della Santissima Annuziata – sorry, not interior pictures … lol

Same city … new place

This morning started with us cleaning off more dirt that settled over night and packing our bags. Dave thinks unlike at home where his clothes shrink, they seem to have expanded in the suitcase, because it keeps getting harder to close the suitcase.

With the blog in decent shape and everything packed up, we decided to get pastries and coffee at our new favorite place, Caffeteria Palazzo di Citta. Oh, can the day get worse? They are closed. We tried a place called Coffee Joint. They had mediocre doughnuts and coffee. We won’t be back. They did have Wi-Fi, though, so we got the blog uploaded there.

Chocolate filled doughnut, apple pastry, brownie

We then set out for the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. We know you thought you were through with churches. Dave says, sorry, no such luck. The Cathedral is beautiful and it holds the “Shroud of Turin”, the linen in which Christ was supposedly wrapped. While that notion has been proven to be false, it doesn’t stop people from believing.

Cathedral fo St. John the Baptist in Torino; the structure in back is actually part of the Royal Palace
Sanctuary of Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Altar at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (look through the windows behind the altar … remember that image for later)
Last Supper painting in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Last Supper painting in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Side Chapel in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Side Altar in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Crucifix in Side Altar in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Statues and frescos in Side Altar in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Side Chapel in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

After visiting the Cathedral, we headed off to the Royal Palace of Turin. Matt warned us that it was gaudy, but we thought, heck we’ve been to Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg and the Biltmore. Well, never underestimate Matt’s advice, some of the palace is absolutely gaudier that the other two. Actually, it was nice to walk through the palace and art museum connected to it. Additionally, the free garden area outside was very nice.

Dave chasing woman with camera (seriously, she asked Dave to video her as she walked and then twirled)
Entrance to Palazzo di Reali (Royal Palace)
Chapel of Royal Palace in background
Royal Palace Gardens
This art in the gardens represents the author being in the center of the damaged marble (representing the fire in the Chapel in 1997) fallen around him that now allows him to see.
Your greeting at the Royal Palace
Grand Staircase in Royal Palace
Arrival room
Nothing sets off a gaudy pink room like the addition of bird statues
Wooden floor in the Throne Room in Royal Palace
Armor/military display in Royal Palace
Ceiling in Armor room in Royal Palace
Ceiling and wallIt is essential to protect your horse, too.
With the ostentatiousde display within the palace, we were surprised by the common royal carriage
Armor for horse and knight
Everyday dining at the Royal Palace
Ceiling in meeting room in the Royal Palace
Chapel in the Royal Palace
Chapel in the Royal Palace (you may have seen this in the picture of the altar in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist)
Dome in Chapel in Royal Palace

From there we started back to the apartment (we left our luggage in the old apartment and had to pick it up at 14:00). We decided to stop at “Candy Lisa” after seeing gummy bears half the size of your hand. Linda walked through the store selecting some unique items and Dave talked to the check-out girl. She was quite surprised that we were from the USA and we chose to visit Torino. She wondered why we weren’t in Venice, Milano, or some other tourist location. We said we preferred to visit somewhere that had more of a feel of how the locals lived, though there are plenty of tourists here. As we continued, we stopped at Gelmarket. This place pretty much sells just frozen foods. This means everything from fruit to pasta meals to “second plate” meals, “international foods”, etc.

Palazzo di Madama
We decided we could live in the corner unit of this building
Pizzeria in Torino
This is what cause our pain in our apartment

We arrived at the old apartment at about 13:55, just in time. Since we couldn’t check-in to the new apartment until 15:00, we decided to have lunch in between the two apartments (please remember that the two apartments are 150 feet apart). We had a very good meal at Ristorante Conte Verde. Linda had Spaghetti Carbonara (no cream) and Dave had Spaghetti Bolognese.

Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Carbonara

The women checking us in arrived while we were eating. After Dave finished his meal, he walked over to check in. We really like this new place. It has a couple of sofa/loveseat places to sit and a desk on which we can do the blog. When Linda got to the apartment, Linda asked Dave, “How is the bed?” Dave thought, “How the hell should I know?”, but instead responded that the girl checking us in asked if I wanted to check out the bed, but he told her, thanks for the offer, but my wife is downstairs. Linda couldn’t stop laughing. Dave didn’t get why she thought this was so funny. Lol

Entry hall
When we lived in Little Rock, we called this a “Keeping Room”
Kitchen, duh
Another, duh, bedroom

After settling in here, we went out for a little more looking around. That involved checking out some men’s stores to get Dave a new shirt (Dave appreciates no comments about his repeat clothing). Not finding anything for that and a Telecom Italia Mobile store that was of no use, we went off to check out a new area. Guess what, they have a church. It is the Church of St. Francis of Assisi (Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi). It is a blasé church from the outside, but has some beauty to it inside.

Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Altar in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Chapel in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Chapel in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Chapel in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi

From there we walked a little more, stopped at Pam grocery to pick up some things, and then dropped them off at the apartment. Dave got a message about where to park the car we are getting tomorrow, so we went to check the location; it’s really close. In fact, it’s very near where we had dinner on Sunday, so we went to Il Molo, which is across the street. We had beer and wine, a meat and cheese plate, and sausages. It was a fun experience.

Meat and Cheese plate
Sausages and potatoes

We then came home (Dave thought … hey, we haven’t had gelato today). As it turns out, Dave didn’t have to twist Linda’s arm too hard to get her to say yes. Dave had Crème di Nonna Elide (kind of an orange flavor) and Cuore di Panna (core of cream … kind of plain). Linda had Gianduia (chocolate-hazelnut) and Mascarpone with Fig and Caramel. While it was good to try somewhere new, it just didn’t measure up to our standards and we won’t be back.

After gelato, we called it a night and settled in for a quiet night.

If you want to see more pictures or more detail in the pictures, you can click here: 2022-10-04 Torino


The morning started with Dave finishing the blog, which took longer than usual because the internet at the apartment is not very stable.

Dave’s version of the morning: Our next piece of excitement was the drilling into the stone/brick wall in the apartment upstairs that is being renovated. That was the last straw for Linda. We will leave this apartment tomorrow and check into a new apartment in the afternoon.

Linda’s version of the morning: I didn’t sleep well and in the middle of the night I got up to take some pain meds and do some hip/ low back exercises on the floor. This sounds fairly ordinary but the flooring in our apartment was made of some kind of hard pebbly plastic. Fun. Neither of us were very pleased with this place – not clean enough, not comfy enough (what?? No couch??), just Not Enough!! In the morning, the construction noise started from upstairs. We were warned just yesterday by the host right before moving in that there might be debris falling from the ceiling!! At 10 am, I informed a not-too-pleased Dave that I was looking at new places. He took a shower and came out more agreeable. We went out for caffe and pastry and found a new place fairly quickly, just a few meters up the same street!

After dealing with that, we headed out to get something to eat at about 11:15. Not the way the day was supposed to go. As we ate our cannoli, we decided we would take a quick trip to Aosta today.

Our barristas today at Caffetteria Palazzo di Citta
Cappuccino, Espresso Latte, Crema Canoli, Zabaglione Canoli

We grabbed a train that was scheduled to leave at 13:25. It finally left the Torino Porto Nuovo station at 13:35. We recognized that we certainly raised the average age on the train.

Old Street Car
Old Street Car
Front of Torino Porto Nuova train station
Linda by interior entry at Torino Porto Nuova

What a day!  Sometimes a surprising change in plans is fun. This was the day we were going to do tomorrow but with the apartment check out/ check in required for Tuesday, we decided to do Aosta today.

Four hours of train ride (that had beautiful views, but lousy windows to try to capture) for a two-hour exploration in Aosta, a gorgeous mountain town that is Italian with Swiss chalet architecture and food that is mostly French. It was magical. We want to go back! Their tourist season is, probably, biggest in winter.

Aosta train station
View of Italian Alps from Aosta
View of Italian Alps from Aosta
View of Italian Alps from Aosta
Arch of Augustus in Aosta
Mura di Aosta – walls that protected Augusta Praetoria (ancient name of Aosta) in Roman times
Mura di Aosta – walls that protected Augusta Praetoria (ancient name of Aosta) in Roman times
View of Italian Alps from Aosta

We had planned to eat, look around town and maybe do a little shopping. Linda found a great yarn shop but couldn’t afford the luggage space. Dave even offered to get another suitcase!  We walked awhile and saw that the 4- star Bistro we were hoping to have late lunch at was closed (website said open till 22:00) we opted for a sandwich shop on Piazza Emile Chanoux across from Town Hall, only to find that they weren’t serving food. The Italian way is coffee and pastry in am (till noon); lunch noon till 15:00; dinner 19:00 to whenever. We’ve been here almost 5 weeks and really should know better.

Piazza Emile Chanoux in Aosta
Town Hall on Piazza Emile Chanoux in Aosta

We shared some great local wines (Petit Arvine and Torrette) then on the walk back towards the train, quickly grabbed ‘take away’ prosciutto and fungi pizza that was folded over (a 12-inch by 5-inch rectangle). And a bottle of water for the train trip back. Dave was anxious to get back so we could finish with our laundry and pack to move tomorrow.

Petit Arvine and Torrette (Aosta regional wines)
People of Aosta on Piazza Emile Chanoux
Souvenir stand in Aosta seems pretty Swiss focused
Street in Aosta
A couple of balconies in Aosta
Two slices of prosciutto and fungi pizza in Aosta

The train trip home was uneventful and arrived about five minutes late. That’s on-time, right? We walked back to the apartment and quickly realized that we made the right decision to leave tomorrow. We were greeted by dust and rock everywhere. We made the mistake of leaving our suitcases open, so it was in there, too. Linda got the worst of that. Oh, and on the bed, too. Yuck! Dave will be suggesting to our host that he put plastic below the exposed beams to catch the stuff.

Dust and stone throughout the apartment

In an effort to calm our nerves, we headed out to find GELATO! Fortunately, we were successful. Dave had Salted Caramel and Tiramisu; Linda had Fig with Ricotta, Almond Cream, and Hazelnut. Time to call it a night. Here’s looking forward to a better Tuesday.

Travel day to Torino/Turin

Linda woke to the noise of breaking glass and ignored it three different times before she finally got out of bed at 7:40. It’s Sunday morning! Why do they need to put their glass recycling out so early?

We weren’t in any hurry to pack up but were ready to move on to Turin. Corniglia was a charming little sea town said to be the quietest in Cinque Terre in terms of tourist activity. They forgot to tell us that the locals live loudly here! LOL

We left the apartment and headed up the hill a bit for breakfast. A couple of the caffe-bars here serve their version of an American breakfast and that is exactly what Dave ordered. Linda, not up for jiggly bacon and eggs, asked for a cured meats/cheese plate with toast. Both breakfasts included a coffee beverage and juice. The orange juice looked more like Tang but tasted more like mandarin – Yum. Our meals were very good and Dave found out too late that he could’ve asked for jam (as the toast was plain).

Today’s breakfast is brought to you by Bar Nunzio
Dave’s runny whites, but hard yolk eggs, cooked, but not crispy bacon, cheese and dry toast … sounds terrible, but it tasted great. In the back, hot water in the picture to water down the Caffe Americano (next), Latte Macchiato, and Orange Juice
Linda’s meats and cheese breakfast

Between breakfast and heading to the train station, we decided to take one more quick walk (quick, primarily because of how small Corniglia is). We stopped at another Oratorio in town. This one had an artistic show going on that was called “Unruled”. There were two woman playing violins.  They sounded fantastic.

Altar area in Oratorio Dei Disciplinati
Ceiling in Oratorio Dei Disciplinati
Two violinists in Oratorio Dei Disciplinati

The little bus to the train station arrived a couple of minutes after we showed up with our gear but unfortunately when the driver checked our 3-day bus/train passes, he informed us that they expired yesterday and offered no alternative other than to walk to the train station. This was not the end of the world as 1) the weather was 65 degrees, 2) it was downhill on a paved (not cobblestone) road, and 3) Dave did all the work! See photo. It took about 20 minutes and we met a few folks who were walking uphill, some with their luggage. We were glad we weren’t them.

Violinists in Oratorio Dei Disciplinati
Nice view of people taking the stairs in Corniglia

We decided to take an earlier train and spend over two hours in a new place, Sestri Levante, just for a change of scenery. It was a very average place and we quickly found a bar open on Sunday with locals sitting outside, smoking and chatting loudly (recurring theme). Dave had a latte macchiato (espresso with steamed milk) and Linda had a birre (beer). It was enjoyable just to listen to the gentlemen who would be about Dominic’s (Dave’s dad) age when he died bantering in their native language, sometimes with their hands but always loudly!

We must be missing our little ones, because we sure like taking pictures of the tots we see.
A beer and a caffe latte, all is well with the world
Sestri Levante train station
Games of chance at the bar in Sestri Levante
Bar area and patrons in Sestri Levante
Italians, primarily men, hanging out at the bar in Sestri Levante. They all arrived in the last hour.
Italians, primarily men, hanging out at the bar in Sestri Levante. They all arrived in the last hour.
Italians outside the bar in Sestri Levante

Back on the train and headed up the coastline, we went through the Italian Riviera then through Genoa. As we left the coast and headed north of Genoa, the terrain turned flatter with more trees. As we approached Turin, the countryside became farmland. We could see the snow-covered Alps in the distance.

Coast along Italian Riviera
Cruise ships in Genoa
Dave working on the blog on the train

Arriving in Torino at about 18:00, we quickly realized that we “we’re not in Kansas, anymore”. We had returned to a big city life. This was obvious from the size of the train station to the bustle of the street as we headed to our apartment. We chose to take a taxi for the one mile. Once we got near our apartment and encountered the crowds, we knew for sure life would be different for the next few days.

Train platform in Torino Porto Nuovo station
Torino Porto Nuovo train station
Torino Porto Nuovo train station

We had a little trouble getting into the apartment building, first, due to Dave not reading all the information telling you how to get in and, second, due to phone service that still doesn’t seem to work well. Once we got in the building, we headed up the elevator (YEA!! … yes, Dave wrote that). We passed through a locked gate that is shared by other apartments residents, a locked gate in front of our apartment, and the locked door to the apartment. We feel very safe, should someone try to get in … lol. For those keeping track, yes, we have five keys, including the one for the elevator.

After dropping off our things and looking around the apartment (that didn’t take long), we headed out to the streets of Torino. We are clearly in the heart of the central city shopping and dining area. The streets and restaurants were both alive and filled with people.

Apartment entry
Apartment bedroom/living room and shower
View out apartment window

Unlike Rome, this city’s streets are laid out in more of a grid fashion. The architecture seems to have less of a “Roman” feel to it, instead a feeling of a French/continental Europe influence.

Street in Torino
Palace of Savoy Senate
Street in Torino
Street in Torino
Street in Torino with the Cathedral dome in background

After looking at a quite a few menus, we settled on a restaurant called Trattoria Da Ale, located in Piazza Corpus Domini. We ordered a half-liter of house wine and Linda ordered the spaghetti with clams and Dave had the lamb chops. Both were outstanding.

Tonight’s dinner location
Spaghetti with clams
Four lamb chops in scottadito and a small salad, diced roasted potatoes showed up later
Cheisa Corpus Domini across from dinner location

In between ordering and receiving our food, two three-wheeled “deliver trucks” called APE, pronounced “ah-peh”, showed up honking their horns loudly and repeatedly. It turned out that in the back of the vehicles were guitars, a drum set, and amplifiers. We thought they might be setting up to play. It turns out that setting up meant playing from the back of the vehicles. They played for quite a while and drew a good-sized crowd. Hopefully, through the videos below, you will get a feel for things. When they were done playing, they packed up the vehicles, started honking their horns again, and drove off. It was really fun.

Street musicians on APes

We then walked around a little more, coming to realize the restaurant was less than two blocks from our apartment. And, a café that Linda thought would be nice for breakfast one day is located right next door. The advantages of city-life, we guess.

If you would like to see more videos of the musicians or more detail on the pictures, you can click here: 2022-10-02 Corniglia-Sestri Levante-Torino

Oh, September, where did you go?

It’s October 1, where did September go? Oh, that’s right Como, Bellagio, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Parma, Modena, Florence, Orvieto (a couple of times), Rome, Ripabottoni, Campobasso, Siena, Corniglia, Riomaggiore, and Manarola. Whew! We decided we need to get home and veg; this vacation stuff is exhausting.

The weather looked decidedly better today than yesterday. The sky was filled with clouds, but breaks of sky showed through. The forecast for the day called for clearing skies and a high in the upper 60s.

Today looks much better from the living room

It was 60° when we left for our hike to Vernazza at about 9:30. In keeping with his recent skills, Dave started us off on the wrong trail to Vernazza, so we had to turn around. The good news was that it allowed us to be back to the apartment and change into cooler clothes. As the hike and day went on, we were very happy we were able to go back and change.

Sanctuary of St. Peter’s church in Corniglia
Altar in St. Peter’s Church n Corniglia
View of Corniglia from “wrong” trail
View of Corniglia from trail to Vernazza
View of Corniglia from trail to Vernazza
This wagon is on a bar that is used in the farming operations down the hil. You can see the drive mechanism under the rail.
This wagon is on a bar that is used in the farming operations down the hil. You can see the drive mechanism under the rail.
View of St. Barnardino from the trail to Vernazza
This is one of the easy parts of the trail from Corniglia to Vernazza
Easy part of the trail from Corniglia to Vernazza
View of Corniglia from trail to Vernazza
View back to Corniglia from trail to Vernazza
View from trail to Vernazza
Dave on trail to Vernazza
It’s starting to get a little more challengin going to Vernazza
While we don’t condone the defacing of public property, we thought it was cool to see a sticker for Left Coast Brewing, a brewery we visited four years ago with friends who live in San Clemente
Coastline back to Corniglia from trail to Vernazza
View toward Monterosso from trail to Vernazza … the boat in the bottom center is one that goes between the various towns
Heading down the trail to Vernazza isn’t easy either … it can be steep, muddy, and slippery
Sailboats and a freighter in the sea off the coast of the trail to Vernazza
We were thrilled when we could finally see Vernazza with Monterosso in the background. The dark brown building is where tickets to use the trail are validated.
As we approached the restaurant, the bells in town began ringing. Maybe they were welcoming us to town after our strenuous hike.

After about two hours, about 2.12 miles, and elevation change of 397 ft from minimum to maximum, but not total elevation changes, we arrived at La Torre Ristorante in Vernazza. Our reservations were for 14:00, but we asked if we could be seated then and they obliged. For full disclosure, we decided that we didn’t want to walk back up to the restaurant at 14:00, so it’s good they let us change.

Vernazza from Ristorante La Torre
Who is that hanging on the deck of Ristorante La Torre in Vernazza
One of the seating areas at Ristorante La Torre in Vernazza

This restaurant was recommended by Matt and Carlee for its views and food. The restaurant exceeded our expectations on both accounts. Dave ordered the mixed fried seafood, which consisted of anchovies, calamari, shrimp, and fish. Linda ordered the mixed seafood grill, which had calamari, shrimp, fish filet, and a prawn (though it had a claw, which seemed odd). We, too, would recommend it to anyone visiting Vernazza.

Grilled Seafood at Ristorante La Torre in Vernazza
Fried mixed seafood at Ristorante La Torre in Vernazza
Plating at Ristorante la Torre
Chef making Spaghetti di Mare at Ristorante di Torre
Spaghetti di Mare at Ristorante La Torre

After lunch we walked into Vernazza. What a fun little town. It is the weekend, so there are way too many people in town for our likes, but it was still a great place. The boats throughout the town were a treat and the waterfront was nice.

If you remember the cart we took a picture of earlier, you can see a person driving one in this video in the terraced farms of Vernazza
Architecture in Vernazza
Shopping in Vernazza
Hustle and bustle of Vernazza and the relaxation on the steps
Street scene in Vernazza
Street scene in Vernazza
Church of Saint Margherita of Antioch – old church, quite rustic
Street scene by harborfront in Vernazza
St. Margaherita of Antioch Church in Vernazza
Waterfront area of Vernazza
Baots lined up by the waterfront in Vernazza
Laundry day in Vernazza
Altar in St. Margherita of Antioch Church in Vernazza
A very rustic feel to St. Margherita of Antioch Church in Vernazza
Time for something new, a Limoncello Spritz
Check out that Limoncello Spritz
While not clear, the hole in the rock opens to the sea
Looks like laundry day for someone in Vernazza

We then walked back to the train station and boarded a train, with lots of other tourists, to Monterosso by the Sea. This area more sprawling and because of how tired we were, we probably didn’t give it the attention it deserved. It feels more like a resort town to us and there is a very nice beach area that was in use today, even with temperatures only in the upper 60s to low 70s. But, it was warm in the sun (and in the water too, based upon the number of people in the sea). Oh, we were able to find a gelato shop … we know you are surprised. Linda had a scoop of Salty Caramel and a scoop of Mascarpone Caramel and Hazelnut. Dave had a scoop of Stracciatella Mediteranea and a scoop of Crema 5 Terre. All four were excellent.

Street scene and beach in Monterosso
Waterfront in Monterosso
We can’t figure out what that structure on top is – Monterosso
Beach in Monterosso
Cool rock in sea at Monterosso
Sea front in Monterosso
Seafront in Monterosso

Boarding the train, we left Monterosso and headed back to Corniglia. It was about 16:00, so it seemed like a good time for a break

For dining tonight, we ate our left-over meats and cheeses and got a sausage pizza from the pizzeria across the street from our apartment. We enjoyed everything and it was important to get rid of the leftovers, since we will be heading out tomorrow. For a special treat tonight, we watched “L.A. Confidential”. It was a nice relaxing night.

Sausage pizza from pizzeria across the street from our apartment in Corniglia
One last sunset in Corniglia

If you would like to see more detail of the pictures in this post, you can click here: 2022-10-01 Corniglia-Vernazza-Monterosso.

Three down, two to go

Let’s start with a couple of pictures to update you on our apartment here in Corniglia.

This ladder is three stories up from the ground below to harvest the lemons outside our apartment in Corniglia.
To help explain yesterday’s down step to go up steps, this is what we meant. The entrance to our apartment building is at the top of the stairs going up.

Well, the weather finally caught up with us.  When we woke up this morning, we were hopeful that the rain was going to pass us by. It was supposed to rain overnight, but the cars outside were dry. By the time we left about 1-1/2 hours later, it was markedly cooler, it had drizzled, and the clouds still looked menacing. Nonetheless, what can you do?  We have four other towns to see in the next two days.  Let’s head south and east to Riomaggiore and Manarola today.

While the same view as yesterday, the sea and sky are not as friendly.

We made the decision to walk down to the train station. While easier than the notion of going up the stairs, it is still 33 flights of stairs with a total of 382 stairs. The walk, however, was beautiful, even with the gray skies. We arrived at the train station and got on the train about 10 minutes later. We took the train to “the end” and got off at Riomaggiore.

View from our descent on the stairs to the Corniglia train station. Note the blue of the sea.
Dave on the stairs to train station

We exited the train station and started up the hill that led into town. Much of the climb up the hills was through residential areas, causing us to wonder where the commercial area was. Of course, before we could get there, we encountered our first church of the day, Basilica of San Giovanni, (yes, there will be more later). This one is located high on the hills, so it is quite visible. It is very well maintained and drew quite a crowd.

First stop, Rimaggiore
What once was the wall around Riomaggiore (to the right is where the flat way to town is located)
Next time we come, we want to stay at this place
Next time we come, we want to stay at this place (hopefully in better weather)
Selfie in Riomaggiore (it was a day for glasses .. different ones for Dave)
Hillside homes in Riomaggiore
Hillside homes with Basilica San Giovani in the middle of the picture in Riomaggiore
Hillside homes in Riomaggiore … the white structure at the top with a church in front of it is the Riomaggiore Cemetery
Basilica San Giovani
Altar and apse in Basilica San Giovanni
Sanctuary of Basilica San Giovani
Side altar in Basilica San Giovani
Side altar area in Basilica San Giovani
Carvings on sanctuary pulpit at Basilica San Giovani
This “statue” of Madonna del Carmine wins the award for the creepiest religious artifact we’ve seen

We continued our walk and came upon our second church (dang, there are a lot of them). Linda chose to check out her map to see if she could find a place for gelato (before you start judging, it’s never too early for gelato). Dave went into the small church, Oratoria Santa Maria Assunta. While extremely small, it does have some very beautiful artistic elements.

Altar area in Oratoria Santa Maria Assunta
Altar in Oratoria Santa Maria Assunta
Stained glass windows and “crucifix” in Oratoria Santa Maria Assunta

After leaving the Oratoria, Dave met Linda on the street and we began our walk down hill, now, into town. As we walked, Dave pointed out a gelato store. Linda just looked at him and he said, “You already knew that, didn’t you?” Well, yes, she did. So, we stopped and got gelato. Today it was blueberry and peach for Dave and pistachio and chocolate-hazelnut for Linda. It was 11:30, after all, and we didn’t really have breakfast.

We proceeded down the hill and looked in a few more stores at clothing, ceramics, and other items. We also started to encounter heavy drizzle. When we reach the end of the street, we were below Piazza del Vignaiolo. This piazza is just above the marina and afforded a nice view. Unfortunately, with the weather conditions, not much was happening in the area.

Commercial area of Rio Maggiore
Small marina area from Piazza del Vignaiolo in Riomaggiore
Small marina area from Piazza del Vignaiolo in Riomaggiore
View to commercial area from Piazza del Vignaiolo in Riomaggiore
View to hillside homes from Piazza del Vignaiolo in Riomaggiore

We then realized that instead of heading back up the hill, we could walk through a short tunnel and be back at the train station. It made us think we should have come this way, but we still would have had to go up the hill at some point to see things. One special thing about the tunnel was the mosaic work done on one of the walls.

Mosaic pedestrian tunnel on way to Riomaggiore train station
Mosaic wall in pedestrian tunnel to Riomaggiore train station
Mosaic wall in pedestrian tunnel to Riomaggiore train station
Mosaic wall in pedestrian tunnel to Riomaggiore train station
Mosaic wall in pedestrian tunnel to Riomaggiore train station
Mosaic wall in pedestrian tunnel to Riomaggiore train station
Video of walking through Riomaggiore pedestrian tunnel

Once back at the train station, the rain had increased quite a bit. We took cover beneath an overhang until we boarded the next train to Manarola.

A full display of graffiti, train and tunnel

The train ride to Manarola is quite short, maybe three minutes, though the conductor did make it through our car to check tickets for people.

When we exited the train in Manarola, we took another pedestrian tunnel toward the city. We had decided we would have lunch a one of the restaurants here, Trattoria del Billy. Linda looked up the location on her phone using Google Maps, but we lost connectivity in the tunnel. As we exited the tunnel, the rain started to pour harder. Dave found an overhang and stood under it to get our umbrellas out of the backpack. We then started off following Linda’s directions. She had trouble with her phone, again, Dave checked his phone, and we continued in the rain. Part of the walk/hike to the restaurant was up stairs that had so much water running down them it looked like a waterfall. Linda’s shoes and feet got soaked (Dave was lucky that his hiking shoes are waterproof). Well, Dave missed a turn and we needed to double-back and head up some more stairs.  The five-minute walk that Google mapped out took closer to 15 minutes in the pouring rain. When we got to the restaurant, we found that they were full. Another couple just in front of us took the last table.  We decided we would wait for the next table because it had good ratings and we hated for this crazy walk to be a bust!  During our 15-minute wait (Linda inside and Dave outside), the weather got so bad that the wind and rain chased many of the outside diners out of the restaurant. Fortunately, a couple left their inside seats and we were able to sit there. We were glad we waited. The service and food were amazing. We started with a half-bottle of red wine (we know, not perfect for fish, but we did white with meat last night … lol) and place our orders. For a starter we had anchovies marinated in lemon and oil. Having spent our lives making sure there were no anchovies on our pizzas, this was a pleasant surprise (thanks to Matt and Carlee for suggesting we have these). For our main meals, Linda had the traditional Trofie pasta with pesto sauce, potatoes, and green beans; Dave had Taglierini with fruits of the sea (clams, mussels, one-half of a small crab, razor clam, two types of shrimp) in an olive oil, garlic, and wine sauce. Both meals were well beyond our expectations. Dave ended the meal with a caffe latte. Linda ended hers by buying a bottle of cream balsamic vinegar that they had on the table (needless to say, it was very tasty).

The waterfall, otherwise known as the staircase we were climbing
It’s important to have a good slogan
Anchovies marinated in lemon at Trattoria del Billy
Interior of Trattoria del Billy
The open area to the right of the server is a dumbwaiter from the kitchen upstairs used to send down orders
Trofie with pesto sauce, potatoes, and green beans
Spaghetti in oil, garlic, wine sauce with mussels, clams, razor clam, crab, two types of shrimp, and squid
Raxor clam and shell

We asked the best way to the train station and, amazingly, it was the opposite direction of how we came up. He also said it would put us right in the church square.  He said we couldn’t possibly get lost and he was right. It is the San Lorenzo Church which was built in the fourteenth century and is in need of repair.

San Lorenzo Church in Manarola
Altar in San Lorenzo Church
Disrepair in San Lorenzo Church – we felt compelled to make a donation to assist in the restoration

There were few stairs and mostly gradual roads. Once back to the train we headed back to Corniglia. It was time for a little down time out of the rain.

Houses and terraced gardens in Manarola
Commercial area of Manarola
Commercial area of Manarola
Peninsula in Manarola

After a little rest, we headed back out at about 7:30. We were amazed at how desolate the town was. There were very few people on the street. On top of that we tried to cancel our reservation for dinner tomorrow night and found the restaurant closed. We really don’t get it; most of the restaurants were closed. It is Friday night, right? Lucky for us, one of the gelaterias was still open so we could, for the first time on this trip, get gelato a second time in the same day. Dave got salted caramel and vanilla with figs, local wine, and pine nuts while Linda got vanilla with Corniglia honey and a chocolate nut.

Around 21:30 some street noise picked up. There were some children playing and we could hear some men having an “Italian” conversation. You know, the kind that is friendly, but it’s loud.

It was time to start thinking about tomorrow. If all goes as planned, we will hike from Corniglia to Vernazza in the morning and then take the train to Monterosso al Mare.

More detailed pictures can be found here: 2022-09-30 Corniglia-Riomaggiore-Manarola

Wow, that was quick Siena; looking forward to Cinque Terre

After finishing yesterday’s Siena blog, Dave left to find some breakfast breads. Our host left peach jam and milk for coffee so we ate at the house.

We should have included this yesterday. This is the courtyard outside our Siena Airbnb (our apartment is where the wooden doors in the center-left are

We left for the 20-minute walk to the train station, including five long levels of moving walkways/escalators, and quickly found our train platform. As usual in the Tuscan region of Italy, Siena is a bit hilly. Dave was particularly annoyed when our train left nearly 20 minutes late and we only had a 14-minute connection for the next train. It turns out we made up a little time and between the last two stations our next train lost time, so it worked out okay. Lots of stops and a couple of trains later, we arrived in Corniglia (part of Cinque Terre).

Communities along train line
We were afraid we wouldn’t see a church today
Some significant graffiti in the La Spezia train station
travel can be tough these days
Vire from Train
Between Riomaggiore and Manarola
Between Riomaggiore and Manarola
Between Riomaggiore and Manarola

It was not raining here which was a pleasant surprise. We left the Corniglia train station and took the bus up to town because it just felt like too much elevation to walk with two suitcases and two backpacks. Picture Dave when we do the train – he takes the suitcases whenever we go up or down stairs and onto the train, including lifting them up to the storage area over our seats. We should be in great shape when we return home!

Following a video that our host sent us on WhatsApp, we made our way from the bus stop to our apartment. It was all uphill, of course, except for the steps down to the steps up to the apartment building. We had a little confusion about which unit was ours. It was a first floor versus floor zero thing, though this time first floor meant first floor.  The apartment is nice and we have some good views.

Corniglia apartment – kitchen
Corniglia apartment – living area with bathroom on left and bedroom on right
Corniglia apartment – Bathroom
Corniglia apartment – Bedroom
Corniglia apartment – View from balcony
Corniglia apartment – view from living room
Corniglia apartment balcony from city center

We found the town to be very busy and very small. We knew that by 20:00, the tourists would vacate the area. Many of them seemed to be here for the day because you could hear them saying, “Okay, well, we saw 4 out of 5 of the Cinque Terre towns”. Corniglia is in the center of this much-hiked place and because they have no harbor, it is the quietest. And, that is why we chose it.

View from Corniglia city central

We hadn’t eaten since breakfast so at 17:00 we looked for a place to have a glass of wine and discuss our plans for the three days we’ll be here. Tomorrow may be a wash-out due to forecasted rain, but it won’t stop us from seeing all five of these towns. They each seem to have their own particular focus, but the charm of each one is something we don’t want to miss. We have two to the northwest and two to the southeast.

Dave enjoying his wine and aperitivo

After a half-liter of wine and salty snacks at Caffe Matteo, thinking we would have pasta, Linda nixed the plan and went Italian on us! Dave was a good sport about it as we made our way to Lisa’s Market (one of three small grocery markets in Corniglia) to buy milk, crackers, two deli meats, two deli cheeses, some small Roma tomatoes, and a few green olives. The meat was prosciutto and local salame; the cheese was pecorino and local cow’s cheese. We stopped at another market and bought a bottle of local white wine and had them open it for us in case we had no wine-opener. He did not seem to think that this was a strange request!

Young man at market helpin us to open our bottle of wine (he’s not a Yankee fan; this is just stuff I got as a gift from a friend in New York)
Nice sunset in Corniglia

Back at the house, Linda prepared a platter of all the goodies, Dave found the wine glasses and we sat on the balcony in view of the sunset to enjoy the evening. Everything outside quieted down, just as we expected. It got a bit chilly, so we retreated inside to watch the BBC news (first English-speaking TV of the trip) and work on the blog.

Tonight’s do it yourself dinner – crackers, prosciutto, local cow cheese, local salami, tomatoes, pecorino cheese, olives
Dinner on apartment balcony
Beautiful sunset in Corniglia
Sunset in Corniglia
Corniglia sunset
One last look at the sunset in Corniglia