Posted: 2009-10-01


Some good friends decided to spend their vacation with us in The Cinque Terre.  Chad met Hans and Ginger when he lived in Atlanta, and then I met them when they moved to San Francisco.  Now they are living in Atlanta again, and we look forward to having them as neighbors when we return to the States.  Hans and Ginger came with their baby Pryce and Hans’ sister and brother-in-law, Bernadette and Donnie.  We all stayed in Riomaggiore first, and then Hans, Ginger, Pryce, Chad and I moved to Manarola while Bernadette and Donnie headed to Rome and Venice.

Ginger, Donnie, Bernadette, Chad, Pryce and Hans at a wine tasting

With Hans, Ginger and Pryce in Manarola

Manarola is the village just west of Riomaggiore.  It is similar to Riomaggiore in that it has a small marina and narrow streets that wind between the buildings on the hills.  We stayed in Manarola when we were here two years ago, so it is very familiar and feels like home to us. 

A view of Manarola

The town center of Manarola

Hoofing it up the stairs

The main church of Manarola

The interior of the church

Here is the pipe organ for the church - I’ve never seen pipes attached to an organ like this!  You could put one of these in your house

This year, we stayed in a apartment overlooking the sea, and Hans, Ginger and Pryce stayed in the apartment just below us.  It was great.  This little building only has the two apartments, so we had the run of the place.  Most importantly, it has three terraces and a balcony overlooking the sea, and we took full advantage of the setting!  We spent plenty of time outside sharing a meal, reading a book or just looking at the water.

Breakfast on the apartment terrace

Hans and Chad making ravioli from scratch for lunch

Our apartment building was the dark orange one just below the yellow house - you can see the railings around our terraces

Our upper apartment entered into the kitchen from stairs outside - then 2 steps up to the landing for the bathroom and then 2 more steps to the bedroom

Looking the other direction in the kitchen - yes, that is the sea outside the window

The drying rack for the dishes is built into a cabinet over the kitchen sink - genius!  I’m totally building this when I have my own house

The doors from the bedroom lead to the balcony and more steps up to the terraces above - we would sleep with the doors open so we could hear the waves down below…ahh…

Chad and I were also happy to be back in Manarola because our friend Claudio lives there.  We met Claudio two years ago and have kept in touch with him.  He coordinates apartment rentals, so we contacted him again this time to book all of our Cinque Terre apartments.  Claudio also conducts wine tastings and cooking classes.  During our last visit, we did a wine tasting and a cooking class with him.  This year Chad and I did two wine tastings, and Chad and Hans did a cooking class.  We also shared several other meals with Claudio and his friend Rosane.  Claudio’s a lot of fun, so it’s been nice to see him again.

A wine tasting with Claudio, Rosane, and a couple from New Zealand

Dinner at Claudio’s house included polenta with quail ragu sauce, roasted lamb, and roasted vegetables

Dinner also included Claudio’s home-made “digestivo” - firewater infused with herbs to help you digest - Claudio is looking in the dictionary to see what the herbs are called in English

-Julia Abbott


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