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Liguria - La Spezia

Streets want to be explored (slowly and randomly, if you're with me) and passers-by watched and listened to, glad of the local wine's quiet company, from sidewalk café tables or while sitting on a beach-side rock. Particularly we'll watch for those restaurants that natives are drawn to—which have arguably homier menus and tastier entrees, for fewer Euros.

The Via dell'Amore winds its scenic way from Riomaggiore (this image) to Manarola. It's a stroll rather than a hike—the way is paved, and with almost no change in altitude; wild succulents trail between the boulders rearing up along your right side, with endlessly changing sea water pulsing among sharp rocks to your left (unless of course you began the walk from Manarola or Corniglia and are making your way southward, thus swapping the sides described). So, climb into this picture—the Via begins to your right—find your lover, and enjoy together. Sigh. Translation: Lover's Lane.

Three nights

Here is the classic Ligurian village, Vernazza—with its harbor afloat with colorful boats, the somber old church's classic outline against terraced cliffs, a gracious square's fun restaurants. Also well-stocked gelato emporia. Its sole downside is the abundance of U.S. tourists here, guidebooks in hand, twenty-four-seven.   


[Thanks, Rick Steves, I guess.]


La Spezia will be our home along the Ligurian coastline. We've traded the bustle of the actual Cinque Terre park towns, for the peace of this suburban corner of La Spezia. It's a cruise port (above) which should be interesting to watch from the viewpoint of non-cruisers this time. Among other things we need to take walks, especially during the evening's passagiata, or maybe in the morning mist when other folks who just can't sleep are out walking. As are we. Wonder if any of them will speak                   ?

View from our balcony. Really.

Onward by rail, then, westwardly skirting the Mediterranean to that comfortable and exciting town on the French Riviera, so well-loved by prosperous English tourists at the turn of the last century,

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