25 April 2009


Once it was settled that Tue was going to stop working in Geneva by the end of March and that we would have most of April to get the moving done, we decided to realise our discussed plans of a 'pre-Easter vacation' to the Cinque Terre national park in north-western Italy.

The first day went simply with getting there - things were as they usually were: with EasyJet we could get a cheap flight to Nice if we were just willing to get up early; by train we came from Nice to Genoa with only a minor delay; the train we took from Genoa left Genoa Piazza Principe more or less on time, went through a tunnel under the city all the way to Genoa Brignole where the train then stopped dead for the next 40-50 minutes without any sort of explanation given - at one point people started leaving the train, but before we could follow them they suddenly came aboard again and the train starting rolling.. on the other side of our coach an Italian lady raised her arms and cried something along the lines of: "Trenitalia - miracolo!"

We would like to tell you that the train ride along the coast was pretty - and it was, to the extent that we could see anything at all, but the truth of the matter is that we were in tunnels at least half of the time. In the late afternoon we thus exited yet another tunnel and were suddenly in the village of Vernazza. The train station is sort of claustrophobically placed between tunnels on either side and whenever a train that doesn't stop there comes rolling past it's a good idea to hold on to any objects easily carried away by a gust of wind...

Vernazza is situated beautifully in a small gorge running down to the Mediterranean - the harbour and the square are located right at the end of the only street wide enough for cars (and there really aren't all that many cars in the village as they have been so smart as to restrict access by vehicles) and looks quite simply stunning in the light of the setting sun.

Apart from the just mentioned main street Vernazza consists of a number of narrow alleyways, which to the disappointed of Tue turned out not hide any dimly lit bars - in Italy one prefers to live life by the town square.

When we arrived in Vernazza we were nothing less than overwhelmed by the beauty of the place and the number of small cosy restaurants. After seeing the other four villages (Monterosso al Mare, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore) of the national park in the days that followed, we were still very happy with having chosen to stay in Vernazza.

If one knows where to look - or enjoy playing 'Where's Wally/Waldo' - it's possible to spot our room in the photo below. It is the only house in the village where they have a roof terrasse built IN the roof (hint: white house in the right bottom half of the photo).

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