Friday, November 7, 2014

Italy: Genoa/Cinque Terre - That Time I Almost Plummeted to My Death

We traveled from Venice to Genoa ... one coast to the next. Genoa was not my favorite. It, of course, was the home of Christopher Columbus. So, I guess that's something.

It is a large city on a harbor. The harbor is quite beautiful, but the city itself was just large and crowded.

However, one of the best meals we ate was in Genoa. All the seafood is super fresh, caught right out on the nearby waters. This was one of my favorite meals ... the seafood was divine and then there was the first of three tiramisus I would eat in these weeks. That's a seafood ravioli there too, fresh-made pasta, or course. None of that Luxury pasta works for the Italians.
 The whole purpose of staying in Genoa was because it was very close to Cinque Terre. For me, this was a must-see while we were there. We had planned a whole day just to "hike" it. And, when I say "hike", I mean more like walk a little bit, take a rest, hop on the train and walk a little more, take a rest, and hop back on the train. We don't hike. We are not hikers. In fact, I don't think I've ever hiked anywhere. Maybe once ... in high school ... yeah, I hiked. Once.

The drive to Cinque Terre started out quite nice. The scenery was out of a those large picturesque coffee table books. Gorgeous. I wish I could have gotten some good pictures, but we were traveling at the speed of light here. You kinda have to to keep up with the traffic. Those Italian drivers don't play. 

These were the only two pictures I could get before the ride began to go downhill for me ... literally. Downhill and Uphill.

First off, the plan was NEVER to drive to Cinque Terre. Even Rick Steves, our tour guide we couldn't have done without, said that driving was not recommended because of the roads. However, wouldn't you know it?! The one and only day we had available to go, that would be the day the transportation workers decide to go on strike. Yay us.

We sat and had breakfast and talked about our options. It was just an hour drive and we had a car. It was the only way we would be able to go. It was our one chance. I mean how bad could the roads really be? 

Y'all ... Bad does not even describe the roads once we got into the first town of Monterossa. This is the part where the plummeting almost occurred. Beau says I'm ridiculous and over-exaggerating, of course. But, he was driving, not riding. I tend to think drivers feel more safe when they are driving, not when they are riding. I already tend to be jumpy riding in a car with him on the flat lands of Louisiana. Imagine me hundreds ... maybe even thousands for all I know ... feet up in the mountains. And, not just high up, but one-lane roads with two-lane traffic. The WORST part were the curves, very sharp curves up and down the mountains ... some having no railing. And, there I am ... just basically inches away from a 10,000-foot plummet. Yep, there's the plummet. 

After a while, I literally began to have some extreme anxiety. I had to just put my head down and not look anymore. I started to feel really sick. And, guys, I DON'T get sick with stuff like that. I never have had any type of motion sickness. I have a stomach of steel. Until that moment.

However, we did make it alive. And, still married. Those were two very good things.

And, the treacherous trip was worth it. This is quite possibly the most beautiful place I've ever been. The pictures just don't do it justice. 

We were able to visit two of the five towns.


And, then we took a boat to Vernazza ... So beautiful.

Then, back to Monterossa for dinner and, you guessed it ... gelato.

More extremely fresh-tasting fish ... I had this delish sea bass and Beau had salmon.

After two days, we moved onto Pisa and Assisi.