Wednesday, April 21:  Cinque Terre, the Five Lands

Today I was woken by more sun through the windows (YAY!), which meant more sunny weather. But instantly we had to pack up again, but didn’t take long because we only stayed here one night, and didn’t take all of my junk out. I was hungry, and happily trotted outside to breakfast. It was a nice buffet selection, including eggs. My mom was very happy for that. I went through the line and got orange yogurt, orange juice, and a chocolate croissant, chocolate spread, and hot chocolate. Everything was delicious, except I don’t think I’ll eat anymore chocolate for a while. Leaving the comfortable chairs outside, we went inside and grabbed our bags and loaded them in the car. But before we left, my dad took us on a walk. It led through the steep stairs again, and finally to the tip of the peninsula. You could see everything from there, and I could even see snow on the mountains! I took some pictures, then went down to the beach. I noticed a curve of big rocks, and decided to extend it and make a cove. It didn’t work, and got Robert kinda wet. But I did see lots of lizards, and a yellow rock that was sparkly, light, and not fools gold. My parents said we had to leave then, so I walked up the stairs and on the path. The way back was a different route, and passing a fancy hotel that Rick Steves wrote was very funny to look at. I don’t know why, it looked perfectly normal. When we got to the waterfront near where we had dinner, my dad showed us an example of a subduction zone in the mountain/island. I learned about that in Science this year, and was glad to actually see one. It looked like a big stripe in the rock. After that we said goodbye to the man at the hotel and got in the car and started driving.

Soon though, we came to stop at a chapel. But it was no ordinary chapel, it was devoted to bikes! There were bike jerseys and bicycles on the walls, but still had Mary in the center and a bell tower. I was confused, and wonder whether it was recognized by the Church. After donating and lighting an electric candle, we walked outside and looked at all of the statues of cyclists. My dad was pleased because he is obsessed with biking (he owns 6 bikes), and was reluctant to keep on driving. I piled in the car, and we drove away. My brother fell asleep until I woke him up for lunch at the Spizzico off of the autostrada. It was a combination of other restaurants too, including Ciao! and Autogrill. I went to the Spizzico and got a cheese pizza with fries. I sat down at a table and enjoyed it, and then my parents came from Ciao! and ate too. After we were all full, I got back in the car and my dad got back on the highway. This time I fell asleep for a bit, but woke up before the end. For 2 more hours we drove, until we got near Cinque Terrre, the Five lands. My parents were confused when we followed the wrong sign to Cinque Terre, and ended up at a rundown camping ground. Puzzled, we realized this was not what we were looking for. My dad got directions, and soon we were on our way. The fourth town, Vernazza, was where we were staying. The directions from the people providing the room was to stay on the side of the road, and someone would come and show you where to park. Soon a nice old man came and showed us the spot, and it was very hard to get to.

It took a while, but eventually dad got situated, but by scratching the front bumper. The man helped us get our bags and led us down stairs, right, down more stairs in an alley, right, in a door, up stairs, in a door, up MORE stairs, and finally to our room. Exhausted, I lay sprawled out on the bed. Then I looked to see the room. It was divided in two parts, our part had two single beds, and my parents got a double. It was very roomy, with a decent bathroom and a mini-fridge and table. Then the man left and went out again. For a while I just laid around, until we went outside. We were near a sunny plaza with lots of umbrellas and many cats. Nine cats. four gray, two orange, black, and white, one all orange, two black and white. I enjoyed playing with them, but had more fun on the beach. I played in the waves, trying not to get too wet, then went in the sand. My brother was soaked because he couldn’t “control” himself, and was very sandy. We both decided to go with my parents at a little cafe on the cliff, but the man at the hotel stopped us, saw we were muddy, didn’t want it in the hotel, and freaked out. He handed us a towel and said to clean up. I did, then hurried up to the cliff.

It was a very nice view from up there, and had lots of big rocks. My parents were ready to get back to the room so we could get changed and go to dinner, so we did. Clean, we walked in the square with lots of boats and sat down at some restaurant. This was pretty much the whole town, very small and multicolored! The buildings were mostly a shade of orange, pink, or yellow. Anyways, I got a cheese pizza, and so did my brother. When it came, I ate it, and loved the cheese on top. My mom got lots of gross seafood, including squid, octopus, and crab arms. She liked some of it, but the scent drew all of the cats around to beg for food at the foot of the table. It was very funny, and I couldn’t keep from laughing. But one mistake was that my mom accidentally grabbed Robert’s sock he had left on the floor instead of the napkin, and started wiping it on her face. Realizing what she was doing, she cracked up and wouldn’t stop. After that we all went upstairs and to bed. Tomorrow we’ll be touring all of the towns of the Five Lands!