After our morning visit to Portovenere, and after dropping our car near our apartment in La Spezia, we took the train to Manarola, one of the Cinque Terre towns we hadn’t seen the day before. It was painless to get there. I used the WC when I disembarked and the woman there inspected my Cinque Terre ticket carefully and said I’d never validated it, which surprised me. She let me use the WC for free anyway.
We ate our lunch in the Piazza Capellini, with an enamel mosaic of local fish in its center, at the trendy Ristorante di Aristide. In the plastic-covered outdoor cafe, Mike frowned above the handwritten menu, trying to determine what to get. We enjoyed pasta with pesto, string beans, potatoes and a Caprese salad: tomatoes, mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. We also enjoyed two glasses of white wine.
We walked down to the harbor to begin our Rick Steves walk, the Manarola Vineyard Walk. The turquoise and ebullient swimming hole and harbor is bordered by a picturesque tumble of pastel buildings, all built on black rock. The breakwater was built about a decade ago.
The main road through town, Via Discovolo, twists uphill, lined by modest shops. Under the road was a water wheel and a surging and gurgling stream. Mills like this once powered the local olive oil industry.
At the top of Manorola is the Parish Church of St. Lawrence (San Lorenzo), with its oratory and bell tower which once served as a watchtower. It dates from 1338 and features two late 15th-century altarpiece paintings. The painted stone ceiling features Lawrence, the patron saint of the Cinque Terre, with the grill on which he was roasted, a symbol of his martyrdom.
We followed the wooden railings and stone walkways through terraced vineyards, enjoying lemon groves, agave, poppies, irises, wild red valerian, dry stone walls, and grapevines with dried heather thatches to protect the grapes from the southwesterly winds. The scent of rosemary wafted through the air. The towns roofs were decked out in local quarried slate rather than tile. Manarola is the center of wine and olive oil production in the region.
We climbed precipitous and uneven steps to the ridge of the vineyards where we had views of Corniglia to the west and the town of Manarola to the east.
It was a beautiful walk, but slow going, especially coming down, when Mike had to lend me a steady hand. I was knackered from being on our feet for so long.
The Manarola cemetery is located on Punta Bonfiglio, which offers commanding views of the entire region.
We had originally planned to stop in Riomaggiore, but we were tired and just wanted to get back to our apartment to relax.
We stopped at the market to buy some zucchini but couldn’t figure out how to weigh it. We had to ask the store cashier to come in from her smoking break to help us.
Back home, we showered all our sweat off and finally relaxed. Mike napped a bit and then he made a delicious dinner of Tagliatelle with zucchini and pesto. After dinner, I bid my husband-chef Sogni d’oro, or “sweet dreams.” We’d be on our way to Florence the next day, via Pisa and Lucca.
*Steps: 17,972, or 7.62 miles (full day)*
*Sunday, April 28, 2019 (2nd half of day)*
“PROSE” INVITATION: I invite you to write up to a post on your own blog about a recently visited particular destination (not journeys in general). Concentrate on any intention you set for your prose.
In this case, my intentions for my trip to Italy were determined before I left home. One of my intentions was as follows: Pick up any book you have on your shelf. Turn to page 79. Pick the 4th sentence on the page and write that sentence at the top of each day’s journal entry. Then brainstorm any ideas that come to your mind related to that sentence. Write a travel essay using that sentence as your topic sentence.
The sentence I wrote in my travel journal was this: “Max frowned above a handwritten page.” This is from a short story called “Navigators of Thought” from the collection Waiting for the News by Tim Gautreaux. Again, I modified the sentence and used a version of it to describe my husband looking over the menu in Manarola.
My other intention was to use an Italian word each day. Today’s word was Sogni d’oro, or “Sweet dreams.”
It doesn’t matter whether you write fiction or non-fiction for this invitation. You can either set your own writing intentions, or use one of the prompts I’ve listed on this page: writing prompts: prose. You can also include photos, of course.
Include the link in the comments below by Monday, April 27 at 1:00 p.m. EST. When I write my post in response to this invitation on Tuesday, April 28, I’ll include your links in that post.
This will be an ongoing invitation. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂
I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!