Sunday, July 9, 2006
Bolzano to Cinque Terra, Italy
|Girl watching festivities at the piazza in Vernazza just before the soccer game|
Then onto Cinque Terra (Italy’s Riviera). There are five towns in the Cinque Terra and we had decided to stay at Vernazza, the jewel of the Cinque Terra. We had reservations for 3 nights with someone named Egi (“Edgy”). After a very winding road that led into the parking lot of Vernazza, we were instructed to drive down to the bus stop, unload our luggage, and then drive back up to the parking lot, which we did. Mike dropped Pat off with the luggage at the bus stop which was at the entrance to the village and he drove the car back up to the parking lot, and then he had to walk down to the bus stop. The problem was that the road from the parking lot to the bus stop was a one-lane road for both directions of travel and very steep. If two cars were coming from different directions, somebody had to back up.
Then we called Egi and he sent a nice man named Francesco to greet us and take us to our room, a five minute walk with all of our luggage. As it turned out, Francesco was actually showing us to his apartment which he was renting out to us for the three nights. There were narrow alleys and steep stairs leading to our apartment, which was complete with a kitchen. You really have to know where you are going.
We had dinner outside at Gambero Rosso, recommended as the best restaurant in town. We had a great view of the piazza and the harbor. Mike tried a local dish called Tegame alla Vernazza (anchovies, potatoes, tomatoes, white wine, oil, and herbs), a local specialty. Pat had a baked white fish that was presented completely in tact. Luckily the waiter filleted it right there at the table. It was delicious.
Tonight is the World Cup championship soccer game between Italy and France. Every TV is tuned to the game which starts at 8PM. Everyone is watching the game, and cheering for the Italian team. The game ends with a tie of 1 to 1 so there is a shootout and Italy wins the game. Everyone came running out of their apartments into the piazza cheering, waving flags, blowing horns, and shooting firecrackers as the church bells rang out. The partying continued on through the night. What an incredible moment to experience.