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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's amore!

It's amore! I'm in love with cinque terre! So glad we made the trek out here to these five little cities located on the west coast of Italy.  But first I'm going to back up to the morning in bologna. We enjoyed our Italian breakfast of way too many carbs, nutella ( a staple in Europe), and caffe. I still haven't been able to choke one of those down yet.   It is a shot of expresso that looks and tastes like tar. Danny compares the feeling of drinking it to Popeye eating his can of spinach. I'll have to take his word on that and just stick to my cappuccinos here.  We made it inside the Ducati factory and museum today. The factory was quite interesting. Only a small yellow line painted on the floor divided you from the assembly line.  The factory utilizes a Japanese model which entails each worker building a piece of the bike, as opposed to workers just performing one tedious job over and over. The workers were relaxed and seemed to enjoy their job. They were working steadily but had time to laugh and talk as they worked. The safety regs in the building were fairly loose considering I almost got run over at about 20 mph by small vehicles in the building at least twice. After the factory tour we toured the museum ( the progression of bikes built from the early 1900's until today) and the gift shop(s).  Then we were off to the next town. We took three trains ( total about 4 hrs) deeper into the countryside. Near the end of our trip we went through a pitch black tunnel and came out over top the breathtaking view of vernazza, one of the five cities in the cinque terre. We were overlooking jagged, rocky cliffs, with the Ligurian sea below.  Vernazza was destroyed by floods in October 2011. According to the locals the small waterfront town got as much rain in 2-3 days as it normally does in a whole year. The result was 30-40 mudslides. Three were killed and many lost their homes and businesses.  The town is currently in a state of rebuilding. They are clearing the mud and debris. In some places it looks like the storm just happened yesterday. But the town is trying to move on. They are trying to get tourists to the area which will financially fuel recovery efforts and emotionally fuel hope for the locals.  Despite the wreckage we loved this small town. We had dinner in one of the few restaurants that is still open. We stopped for some very tasty homemade gelato. Then we hiked a mountain, stopping along the way to take photos of the dramatic views. We found lemon trees and orange trees and stopped to taste the fresh fruit. Later we sat in the town square and drank cappuccinos. Then we went to bed to the sound of the roaring sea just outside our window; so close that you can feel the mist if you stand up to the open window. It's amore!

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