My wife, Natalie, wanted to see small Italian region, Cinque Terre. We love to travel and I believe that it is always pleasure being in Italy. Other places we chose to fill the rest of our vacation are Pavia, Cremona and Genoa.
The first stop we made in Pegli. Just to rest after our flight. Pegli is “former” great resort that had seen better days. We had surprisingly great dinner in small restaurant Il Porticciuolo. I am sucker for good fish soup and I had it. The dinner was so good that we were afraid that raising our expectations so high on the first evening we could spoil dinners for the rest of our trip. This concern had merit.
Our next stop was in Pavia. Pavia is very nice town. Unfortunately, I had not made many pictures. Probably, you need to have time to get in the mood to see something interesting. Great lunch (even romantic) at Certosa di Pavia (Locanda Vecchia Pavia “Al Mulino”) and nice dinner at Locanda del Carmine are my highlights.
In Cremona hiking to the top of tower gave some opportunity for shooting but not much more.
The next day we gave up our car in Genoa and by train moved to our main attraction – Cinque Terre. Our first two nights are in Monterosso Al Mare. Don’t try to escape crowd or avoid touristy restaurant. You are already in the tourist trap. I have discovered tourist trap rule. To find restaurant in the tourist trap you should search for the touristiest place. You can be pleasantly surprised. If food is bad then “what did you expect”. I actually had, probably, the best fish soup of all time (I had many of them) in very touristy Trattoria Ciak La Lampara. The next day we found smaller restaurant and had the worst dinner of our trip.
We hiked to Cinque Terre showgirl – Vernazza. For our next 2 nights we stayed in Manarola.
Visit to Corniglia and Riomaggiore did not help much to relieve us from boredom being inside of the crowd and rely on the train to move from one town to another.
Well … We had unexpectedly magic drink in Cantina dello Zio Bramante. They had absolutely great live music. We were back next evening but they had different musicians and magic was gone.
Our next two nights are in Portofino. On our arrival day we decided to walk to the less hush-push town – Santa Margherita Ligure. Drink and nice dinner was good start for the next vacation chapter.
Before heading to our hotel we had after-dinner drink in Portofino. You don’t need to have a lot of Campari to think that Portofino is not real place but just movie setting. It is easy to understand why rich and famous are attracted to this place. Portofino is where your dreams became reality (or reality became your dreams).
Are restaurants overpriced there? NO!! You have to pay premium for your dreams. Do you really need great food when you sit near sea bay full of boats? You leisurely look at beautiful small buildings and castle on the high hill. Add to this church clock tower. Waiter is very personal. It costs a lot of money. For our dinner we ended up in, strangely named for Italian restaurant, Strainer. We did not have the best food but, probably, the best dinner.
Out last stop is Genoa. After Portofino going to Genoa is to get back to reality. And reality is surprisingly very good and interesting. We discovered Genoa for ourselves and I hope to be back there.
For many more photos go to Italy, 2013