We had a difficult time leaving Rio Maggiore – so beautiful are its landmarks and people. Typical fishing village. Simplicity and openess equals survival. We raided the local COOP for fragrant ham (not congealed in a package), sweet Alpine cheese and wood oven baked ciabatta. OOOO – don’t forget the fresh grapes sweeter than candy. We preach ‘buy local’. The Cinque-Terrans have no choice – so remote is their community. We reluctantly relinquish our great parking spot as the church bells ring noon. We begin the ascent (take note) through Cinque-Terre National Park. To meet yourself coming and going on roads so narrow you lose a little skin every time someone passes, is about the best description. Knowing my photo addict husband can only watch the road makes me take pictures while on the back with a never ending prayer for safety. The 30 plus kilometres under these conditions take over an hour. We finally near the end of the park tour and decide to rest a little while eating our COOP lunch. It gave us the energy to reach the Auto Strada where we stopped for a needed potty break, gasoline and a Cafe Americano with sfologiatta – a crispy pastry stuffed with lemon scented marscapone. With energy and determination we hit the Auto Strada focussed on our destination to Ponte Terra. The Tuscan sun yielded to cloud bursts of rain that pounded both downward and upward soaking us to the skin. Minutes later, the sun provided the dryer and we are closing in on Pisa and our destination.
We arrived at Hotel Calamidora to an empty reception area. An accommodating handyman called reception and we were told to wait. We sank our tired bodies on beautiful sofas too exhausted to care about the spectacle. We nodded and after a time a hotel maid decided to offer her friendly English to re-direct us. Once permitted through the iron gates, we arrived at the beautiful resort. Sadly the pristine compound cannot replace our newly beloved Rio Maggiore. This is different beauty. The Italian version of our Marriot time share. We have a tiny palazzo for our evening wine and a mini bar that we needed to inventory to prevent unnecessary charges we were warned.
So now its swim time while we wait for the opening of the spaghetteria. We simply desire to maintain our relationship with homey Italian food. The people are even more delicious as we observe them through our forkfuls of food.
So on that note I must add that it will be hard to compete with Rio Maggiore. The craggy faces of the elders earned by life on the sea remind me of my home on the sea in a faraway place.