Kris and I have rented a small villa looking over the Ligurian Sea (on the Mediterranean Sea) just west of Genoa, and we took the trip last night down the steep roads into Camogli for a dinner on the coast. The Italian folks here cater more to Europeans than Americans, so we’ve encountered our ignorance of Italian up front and center.
We got up early, said our prayers with The Little Book of Hours, got ourselves ready for our first trip to the Cinque Terra, but decided to take the trains since parking is always a long shot in the resort-ish area. We first bought a ticket that didn’t work; we must have bought transfers or something like that. Then we got a kind lady, who knew less English than we know Italian, who helped us by getting us a “Secondo” (if I could only give you her pronunciation), and got on the train. Near our exit the kind engineer came by, asked us for our tickets, and then remonstrated with us for not “validating” the ticket (which must just put the time you entered the system; that is so you can do your traveling within 24 hours; no validatino, you can go on and on forever; we have no idea). Then he fined us each 5 euros for not validating.
Well, we got to Monterosso just fine, walked the beach a bit, and then got into the old city of Monterosso. Nice church named after John the Baptist. A service was underway: couldn’t tell if it was Latin or Italian, because there were too many tourists taking it in. Then we went around the corner to a church dedicated to the Counter-Reformation monks who dedicated themselves to charity, which meant doing funerals — and there seemed to have been lots of them because our next stop was to scale to the very top of the city to the cemetery. It was an endless set of boxes and mausoleums and flowers and candles. And another church, this one a Cappucin monks place. It had a Van Dyck of Jesus’ crucifixion. Very nice (if art of a crucifixion is ever nice).
We made our way back down to the “centro.” We’ll wander around today, have some dinner on the water, and then take the train back (we’ll validate this time).
By the way, the drive down from Bellagio to Como was an endless set of turns and fighting off, like gnats in the Chicago summer, motorcyclists. They’re nuts. But a good trip after Como; got around Milan as if we were homeboys. The temperature sure has changed: those cool mountain breezes were pure pleasure.
Tomorrow we’ll visit Ramaggiore, another town in the Cinque Terra. We’ll also head up to Alba to visit the mountainous areas.