Monday, June 28, 2010

Cinque Terre

June 26, 2010

As I stated previously, the toilets here are very random and different everywhere. On the train I commented to Megan that I should have taken a picture of everyone and made a book about the toilets on the trip. Now, you may think it's weird or something, but I think it shows the diversity of the people. Yesterday, I had a bad day. I had to visit the "squatty potty" several times, since it was the only one nearby and I had to go. Basically, there's some porcelain on the ground with a whole in the middle. Think of a toilet that's in the ground with larger sides to stand on instead of sit. You just stand on the sides, squat and move your pants out of the way while keeping them out of the whole. Not very fun for a first timer with a upset bowels. I think that the diversity of toilets shows that the people just use what they have at their disposal and make their own rules up as they go. Out tub at our apartment in Vernazza is very tiny. You have to squat into it and use a handheld shower head to bathe. While inconvenient, it fits the town. The whole town is small alleys with lots of stairs leading up to buildings staggered all over the mountainside. Our apartment is very small and can't fit a normal tub (not sure they could get a big one in the door anyway) so it works. In a place like Vernazza, building codes have no meaning but everything is study and stands the test of time. Enough about toilets (for now).
The Cinque Terre is an area on the upper west coat of Italy on the Ligurian Sea. It means the Five Lands and it just that. It consists of 5 towns nestled into the mountains, most with natural protected harbors. From the north they are Montorosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Take a look at the pictures to see how beautiful they are. They are combination farming and fishing towns. The farming is amazing since it's all done in the mountainside in terraced farms. As you look up the mountain, you can see the vineyards scattered all over. From these vineyards, they produce Cinque Terre wine. To harvest, they use a monorail cart that a person will drive up the mountain and load the harvest onto then drive back down to the main (only) road. Very innovative.
Yesterday, we ate fish for dinner at a restaurant at the top of a mountain on the harbor with a beautiful view. We ordered pasta and fresh fish. As we expected, the fish was whole. Once we tasted it, we quickly got over the fact that it still had its head (and by we, I mean Megan). It was so fresh and simple, the way seafood should be. Then we went down to watch the sunset and got some gelato. Megan got pineapple, strawberry and limon and I got chocolate. Megan almost started crying when she tasted the pineapple. It was amazing! She said it was the best thing she ever tasted. I tried it, and it was good, but I think she just had a bit too much wine for dinner.
Well, off to explore more. We are heading to Montorosso today.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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