Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gotz comes to Italy #1: A late night swim in Cinque Terre


Chris (we call him by his last name, Gotz) flew over a week and a half ago to get away from MN and get a change of pace. He also wanted to visit his friends in Milano J  He has visited Italy before, but never came to Milano, so I took him on a tour of the city on his first day while Josh was at work. I brought him downtown to see the Duomo, the Galleria, Teatro la Scala, Castello Sforzesco and Parco Sempione with the Arco di Pace. He had a long journey and was pretty tired that first day. I’m unsure if he was able to absorb everything he saw, but it was fun to show him where we have been living for the past nine months.

We bought some wine that was produced from the vineyard shown here

The site of the late night swim
An interesting moth we saw outside of our hotel

We decided that the first weekend he was here, we would go down to Cinque Terre in Liguria. Cinque Terre is an amazing stretch of land on the Mediterranean with five towns that come right out of the cliffs. Gotz likes to be outdoors and so do we, so we thought hiking with Gotz would be a fun change of pace. Josh and I have mainly seen cities and done “city” activities, so we were excited to get outdoors and explore nature! We arrived in Vernazza (where we stayed overnight) and hiked to Corniglia. We took the trail with flip flops and swim suits because it was so humid that day. It was mid 90’s and humid- ripe for a hot hike!! It’s crazy that we are already in September and it’s still summer here. The locals tell me that this has been a really intense summer for Italy, especially here in the north. I am in agreement! I’m looking forward to fall.

we bought lots of pesto in Liguria, here are
some of the products offered
It was a hot hike!
view from the trail
The hike to Corniglia was tough (especially in flip flops… probably not the smartest idea), but we had some beautiful views from the trail! There were also some really great flowers along the way- this is my favorite part about being on the Italian Riviera! There are so many beautiful flowers due to the warm, humid weather. The hike was only two kilometers, but it took us a couple of hours to finish because of the inclines/declines, and of course the boys were taking lots of pictures. Josh was excited about going to the next town, Manarola for dinner, so we decided to press on after checking out Corniglia. We tried to hike… but it turned out that the trail was closed, so we had to backtrack to take the train. Once we arrived, the hunger monster was starting to come out for me! So it was time to find some food- STAT! We ate at this amazing place called Tratoria Billy that overlooks Manarola from high on the hill, and the seafood was great! Josh tried the anchioves (fresh) and really enjoyed them! This is a very typical dish from the region, as well as mussels (which I enjoyed!), and other seafood. Being on the sea, I wanted to eat my fair share of seafood that weekend. Gotz on the other hand ate his fair share of pesto.

shopping in Corniglia- I loved this cover up
we saw lots of cats in Cinque Terre, this one was especially cute!
Josh poured water on me so I was
trying to dry off on him!

After dinner we walked down to the port of Manarola and found party set up with music being DJ'd. The party overlooked the water- people were gathering and kids were dancing to the music. It was a really fun atmosphere to sit and listen to the music, while looking out at the beauty of the Mediterranean in the moonlight. The weather was fantastic, so we could see a clear moon reflected on the water making lots of shimmering small waves. We didn’t want the night to end, so we decided to go back to our hotel, put on swimming suits and go for a late night swim. We grabbed a bottle of wine on the way, and sat on the water enjoying the view. We took the swim before drinking the wine of course… and the water was seriously cold at first! But it was so refreshing after the hot hike we took that day. We drank the wine afterwards and met a few people from the U.S. at the same time. They said they had to leave a few days early on their trip to Europe because of Hurricane Irene, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to go (they were from the east coast). They were on their last day of their trip and enjoying their last night in Italy. We chatted with them for a while, then went to a local bar to finish the night. We met some really fun people that night and ironically, they were all Americans! Apparently the secret is out on Cinque Terre and Americans want to visit J

We saw some cliff jumpers in Corniglia

Gotz even took a late afternoon swim to cool off
the vineyards bring in the grapes on this roller coaster
 "thing" outside of Corniglia

The party was down by the water

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