Bon Journo Everybody,
Wow! What a great last few days we've had up on the northern coast of Italy in the Italian Riviera. On Sunday we left Florence via train – what an adventure itself with 2 - 65 lb. bags, 2 camera cases, a computer bag, and LaDawn’s large travel purse* - and headed up to Rapallo, Italy which is pretty central to the Italian Riviera.
Down the coast we have Cinque Terre, one of the top 1000 places to see before you die - we were there yesterday. And just to the north of us we have Santa Margarita and Portofino, two very beautiful coastal towns to visit in the area. We're planning a water taxi trip to both towns today.
*DAZNOTE: OK, before the “baggage packing police” get on our case, you have to remember that we’re are in Europe for two months, covering two seasons, with a planned 12 day Mediterranean cruise, and two professional presentations to give in Italy and Spain. I hope that takes a little of the heat off of any judgment folks might want to make about our packing challenges ;~)
Getting those darn bags on the train – lifting them 3 feet to the floor of the train and then 5 more feet to the overhead storage area took just shy of Herculean strength to make it happen in the 3 minutes the train gives you in the boarding and unboarding process. Our fellow travelers were a big help in making it happen for us.
Some Of The Most Beautiful Views In The World!!!
Now I know why this place is listed as one of the most beautiful places on earth - BECAUSE IT IS!!! To see these six small towns lodged into the mountains which go crashing to the sea is a sight to behold.
We dodged the rain yesterday enjoying a wonderful glass of the local wine just sitting, relaxing, and enjoying the breathtaking sights like you see below - just amazing!
You can actually walk between all six of these small towns, the adventure is not for the faint of heart - more later. Three of the walkways, including the very popular 30 minute walk, Via del Amore, have been damaged with mudslides from the recent heavy rains in the area.
LaDawn and I decided to be quite a bit more ambitious. The rain was spotty all day and since Via dell Amore was closed, we decided to take the train back to Monterosso – big crowds there - and see if we could hike to Vernazza about a 2 1/2 hour trek on one of the most difficult mountain paths known to man - or so it seemed to a couple of “rookies” as we set out on our journey.
Why so difficult - well, you start out at sea level and climb over the mountain which takes you up to about a 700 foot elevation - think walking up the Washington Monument only every step of your foot way slippery, muddy, often filled with puddles ankle deep and very dangerous - only about 15 inches wide in some areas with NO hand rails to save you from falling several hundred feet should you misstep.
On the upside though, the views were magnificent. Of course the higher you climbed, the better the view. Just check out a few on my images in this post. We've never seen any vista as beautiful as what we saw yesterday - just amazing!!!
Of course, as a photographer I'm doing my best to expose and compose for the best result. Although I was shooting in RAW, shooting into the bight sun made for some very challenging exposures. HDR to the rescue, at least for some of my images. One of my favorite HDR images is shown in my image of the day post “Jewel Of Cinque Terre above.
Anyway, it looks like the weather is lightening up in the area today so we are looking to a photographically picturesque, somewhat less strenuous, adventure today. Can't wait to share with you later this week.
Hey gang, that's if for me today. Tomorrow's schedule is quite busy as we leave the Italian Riviera, pick up a rental car, a quick trip to Pisa and then head down to Tuscany for a few days. Also Internet connectivity is quite good at our fabulous Excelsior Palace Hotel, (THANKS Lisa at Provident Travel) the best hotel in all the area, but the cost to connect is about $42/day USF. We have to eat too so I'll probably not be posting daily ;~)
Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you soon.