August 10 Of the Trail of Love and Water Balloon Fights: The Cinque Terre

Morning song birds were chirping out our window. Looking below our balcony, the sun was shining brightly in the hotel's private lemon and lime grove. After eating a buffet breakfast on the shady hotel patio, we knew it would be a great day to explore the Cinque Terre.

We sat on the upper deck of the ferry to Riomaggiore. Passing by the other villages in the Cinque Terre, we admired the houses all nestled into coves like steps rising from the sea. All of the houses are yellow, pink, peach, rose, or lime green, all with forest green shutters.

Walking along the Via del Amore in the national park, we could hear the pounding surf on the rocks below. The sea stretched out before us as far as the eye could see. Cicadas chorused above cactus gardens covered with nets to prevent anyone being hit with rocks from the falling cliffs.

Lunch was in Manarola where happy hikers gladly took refuge from the sun on the outdoor porch of Il Poticciolo. Pedestrians don't have to vie with cars for space in this town. They compete for space with colorful wooden fishing boats parked right in the street. For lunch we enjoyed spaghetti with a heaping portion of mussels fresh from the sea sprinkled delicately with paremesan cheese. The ravioli pesto was prepared with basil so tasty it was probably just picked this morning. Hearty crusts of bread just baked complemented our meal.

During our meal we noticed a friendly water balloon fight started between two Italian families on holiday on their balconies. Soon it escalated into a community wide water free for all. Up and down the street, water balloons were lobbed off balconies, and even grandparents gleefully tossed dishpans of water off roofs and balconies onto unsuspecting tourists in the street below. As we ran the gauntlet toward the train station, bags of water came raining down on us which actually was a cool relief from the heat. Looking up we spotted one man hiding behind his shutters ready to ambush anyone with a bucket of water and little children ran around with squirt guns. It certainly was a "backdoor" moment and lots of fun.

We took the milk run to Vernazza. Surprisingly, the same cats from last year were cuddling together on the stairs. Sitting on the seawall over looking the breakwater, the houses in Vernazza looked like a carnival of colors with brightly colored flags hung over the streets. Swimmers floated in the clear water and grateful dogs jumped in. Ducks had their own private cove. Watching the holdaymakers stroll by we couldn't help but join in with a creamy scoop of homemade amaretto ice cream.

Splashes in the street
Manarola water fight
Tourists must take care


305B Coaches said…
Your trip sounds great! I was reading the Globe and they mentioned that a lot of Europeans were doing "stayvacations" since prices are high for them as well and that business at restaurants is down. Have you noticed this from your trip last year? Seems like the weather is still quite toasty as well!

305B Coaches
coachsparky said…
Reading your description of the water balloon fights makes me think about how much people around the world really do have in common with each other! It is also interesting to note the participation in the activity across generations. It reminds me of when I was traveling in Spain and saw parents setting off firecrackers with their kids during a celebration.

Enjoy all of the sunshine! Back at home, we seem to be living in the tropics with at least several thunderstorms each week.

Brendan Bear said…
Thanks Coaches and Coach Sparky for all your positive feedback. We have noticed that there are fewer Americans here, but plenty of Europeans. Sparky, you are right about the fun across generations. It was fun seeing grandfathers hiding and ambushing tourists with buckets of water!
Lynna said…
Good for people to know.

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