Blog Archives

Behind the scenes

 

Cinque Terre part 4

For those of you following along, this is my last post on our fantastic adventure in Italy. I would like to now share with you some random facts and pictures from behind the scenes of our trip.

While my husband and I both consider ourselves to be rather fit and healthy, we did have a few small problems hiking. We live in Norway where the number one thing to do is walk and its mostly uphill, so that wasn’t a problem. It was the heat we struggled with. It didn’t help matters that on our first day my husband wore leather boat shoes, with NO socks! Needless to say, by the time we reached our destination his shoes were full of puddles and his feet full of blisters. I told him to wear socks but no one ever listens to me. (I know, I sound like my mother)

I knew Cinque Terre would be a beautiful place, but was in no way prepared for the splendor of these five villages and landscape around them. Hiking through olive groves, vineyards and passing lemon trees along the way was heavenly. That’s why I cannot, for the life of me, understand a person’s need to defile such beauty.

Everywhere I looked I could see names, initials and curse words carved into the leaves of the surrounding cactus and Aloe Vera plants. Why would anyone want to mar these robust and time enduring plants?

I insisted on an unplugged vacation, which meant no laptops, iPods, iPads or iPhones (one phone for emergency use only). The television in our hotel room had NOTHING on in English, not even CNN. There’s only so much talking a couple can do (he’s the quiet type). Luckily, I brought a book (two things one must always remember to pack, aspirin and a book). I also had to give my husband permission to cruise the net on our ‘emergency’ iPhone, while I read. I must now confess, curiosity got the best of me and the book I brought along was, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (I swear, I don’t usually read erotica and don’t ask for a review).

Now for the best part – food, drinks and dessert. Cinque Terre is located on the coast and their speciality is most definitely seafood. Now when I think of seafood, I think of lobster, shrimp, crabs and salmon. Here the delicacies are anchovies, squid, octopus and sea bass. The sea bass was good but I didn’t care for the rest, my husband loved it all. I would have been happier with a bowl of pasta, but even that had seafood in it.

Seafood spaghetti anyone?

 

Lunch was never a problem, we always ended up at an outside cafe eating salad and pizza. The pizza was always thin, crispy and loaded with melted mozzarella. The tomatoes plump and red with fresh mozzarella and basil on top.

We found a restaurant on our last night that served real spaghetti, minus the seafood and along with some crusty bread, I chowed down!

I have just two words to describe desert, Panna cotta and Tiramisu. I shouldn’t have, but I did and it was worth it!

We ordered a bottle of  Cinque Terre wine everyday, for lunch and dinner. The local wine is a dry white (my favorite) with a delicate bouquet and nice finish. Being a costal wine it also has a bit of sea tang to it (my husbands words). I don’t usually drink soda, but I have to admit ‘La Limonata’ (Lemon Soda) sure tasted good, on those hot afternoons. The one thing I didn’t see, was iced tea and was only able to drink hot tea for breakfast and in the evenings. I’m surprised I didn’t go into withdraw.

I love eating out in foreign countries, surrounded by people from all over the world. One night as we sat waiting for our meal and enjoying our wine, I noticed there were Swedes sitting to our right. A couple from down-under to our left, a family from somewhere in the UK behind us and Americans everywhere. I’m sorry, I have a bad habit of listening in on the people around me…

Every evening after dinner we’d wander out to a charming little Cliffside Bar, where I’d sip tea and we’d watch the sun go down on another perfect day in Italy. Bellissimo!

The Adventure Continues…

Monterosso:

Cinque Terre – part 2

We chose to stay in Monterosso because it had the nicest and largest beach but with the four other villages beckoning, there was little time for sitting idle on this trip…

The five villages are strung along nine kilometers of cliffside footpaths and overlook the crystal blue water of the Ligurian Sea. The trails wind through olive groves and dry-stone-walled vineyards and are scattered with tourists, from all over the world.

We picked up the first trail in Monterosso and headed towards Vernazza. This is supposedly the most challenging hike of them all. It was 3Km of dusty uphill trails and steep steps that never seemed to end. Even though we started out early in the day, the temperature was a muggy, 27 degrees Celsius and it took us almost two hours to reach our destination. As I caught my first glimpse of Vernazza in the distance, it was love at first sight.

Vernazza:

Vernazza turned out to be my favorite of all the villages. Maybe it was the three musicians who greeted us at the end of the trail playing ‘Amore’. Perhaps it was the sign that read ‘Bar’ pointing us directly into the village, or possibly the bell tower, chiming in the distance. We dawdled through crooked streets lined with colorful old houses and made our way down to the grotto. Here we lost all track of time, as we sat beside the sea watching boat loads of tourists coming and going. We drank local wine and ate crispy thin ‘real’ Italian pizza.

Afterwards, we took the train back to Monterosso and spent our ‘only’ afternoon on the beach before getting ready for dinner.

The next day we took the train back to Vernazza and continued on the path, towards the third village of Corniglia. We got a late start and the temperature was already hovering around 30. This hike was 4Km and took almost two hours. Corniglia is at the top of a steep hill, on flat land and no matter which way you come from you’ll have to head upward at some point. We headed up on the way in, and arrived drenched in sweat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m almost always in charge of the camera and its not because I take better pictures, I’m a control freak (there, I said it). On this particular day my husband was in dire need of a ‘stone cold Pils’ – beer (private joke) and wouldn’t wait up, while I stopped every five minutes to take pictures. There was no need to fear, as I simply followed the sweat drops leading directly towards him. (What can I say, we’re from Norway and not used to the heat).

Corniglia:

Corniglia is the only village not immediately on water and although it was oozing with charm, we were tired and roasting. We found a shady, outside cafe and rehydrated the afternoon away. Afterwards we walked down 400 steps to the train station, thankful we weren’t going in the opposite direction!

We couldn’t walk between Corniglia and the forth village of Manarola because the trail was closed. Torrential rains which caused flooding and mudslides in October 2011, created massive damage to the area and they’re still making repairs. Instead, we took the train all the way to the fifth village of Riomaggiore the next day, and then hiked back to Manarola.

Riomaggiore:

Riomaggiore is an old village situated in a small valley planted with vineyards. Shutter clad buildings are jam-packed between steep narrow alleys and stony flights of steps. We explored the village, bought a few souvenirs and had a nice lunch before setting off to Manarola on the ‘Via dell’Amore’ an Italian lover’s lane.

This was definitely not a hike, but more of a stroll. The path was flat and paved, with benches to sit and kiss on. The view was magnificent and all along the path people seal their love by hanging padlocks and love letters …

This is ours:

It only took 25 minutes for us to walk the 1Km to Manarola. The village is situated in a deep narrow valley and stands on a rocky promontory, that rises directly from the sea. Bright colored buildings are packed both side by side, and on top of one another. Being both hot and tired, I agreed to take the boat back to Monterosso (I’m not a big fan of boats). We missed the one that left at five and had to wait an hour for the next one and were not alone. As we stood in line on a rocky bank along the sea, people starting diving into the water to cool off. Some had bathing suits under there clothes, while others just dove in with their clothes on. Of course my husband had to join in on the fun, clothing and all. It was definitely a Kodak moment but wouldn’t you know, my camera died!

Monarola:

The boat ride back to Monterosso was fabulous and cool, and seeing the villages from the water was a whole other expierence.

We’re not done yet…

Thats Amore


I’ve been nominated for One Lovely Blog Award by my new friend on the crazytraintotinkytown. A great blog about starting a new life in Turkey. So whether you’re in need of some summer sun, or not, check it out!

I also received a Sunshine Award from Kate, the famous creator of Spineless Wonders over at beforiforget Always entertaining!

Finally, a Beautiful Blogger Award from fellow Jersey girl Laura Stanfill she reads and knits, but mostly writes, and she’s good!

I want to do something a little different and I hope no one calls the blog police…

I want to dedicate these awards to my husband, who’s been such a great sport. First losing me to ‘the book’ and now, ‘the blog’. He has also – recently – been scarred for life and I feel partly responsible  Something big part 1.

In his honor, I’d like to tell seven things about him:

1.  He was born in Norway and although he’s only lived a total of three years in America, he talks like a Yankee (I wonder why).

2. Have you heard the saying, “When the cats away, the mice will play?” My husband says, “You know what happens when the cat’s gone.”

3. Have you heard the saying, “I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off?” My husband says, “I’ve been running around like a de headed chicken.” (he has a little trouble with sayings)

4. He never says, “I can’t.” Only “I can try.”

5. He never asks what I’m mad about… He just brings home flowers and waits for it to pass.

6. He snores when he drinks (I had to tell something bad).

7. He rocks my world!

Monday, we (just him and I) are leaving on a much deserved trip to Cinque Terra, Italy. You’ll hear all about it, when I get back…

Ever since the book launch in April, life has been crazy. There are simply not enough hours in the day for book promoting, plus we have a big family. He works a million hours a week and travels, I blog (I’m sure that needs no explaining). I lost my grandmother, we got a new grand-baby and lets not forget the photo shoot of the house… Exhale, Mag!

I’ve already warned him, “I will not be pretty, on this vacation!” I am not packing makeup, I’m wearing my hair in a ponytail everyday and I will be drinking Italian wine at every meal.

We are not bringing laptops, iPads or iPhones (well maybe a phone for emergency) and I’ve already made a list of all the things I want to talk to him about, while I have his undivided attention (he’s going to love that, not)

Ciao!