Have had a couple of relaxing days in Arpino and getting into the spirit of things. After breakfast we do a little pruning on the olive trees. There is some fruit on them, but only small yet. Then we would walk up to the piazza for coffee and Liam would have an ice-cream. Arpino is a lovely town set in the hills having a history older than Rome. The weather has been warm, in the high 20 degrees and humid. The locals say it is usually a dry heat this time of the year.
There is much evidence of the Italian way of life, with many half finished projects. They tend to leave a building unfinished but still use it, because when it's finished more taxes have to be paid. The hospital in Arpino took 30 odd years to completely build and it had only been finished a couple of years then it closed!
It appears as though 90% of the population smoke, almost every young person you see male & female have a cigarette in their hand, and certainly no advertising about health concerns. And Rob thinks, as a general rule: rules are meant to be broken, there is evidence of many people not doing the right thing! Parking in bus & taxi lanes, they pull to the side of the road, leaving the car running, duck into the shop then drive off:-)
Today Rob & I headed off to see Cinque Terra (5 villiage). Leaving Liam with Nana, we caught the bus to Rome, managed the self help ticket machine a little easier this time, and even found the right platform and train straight off, are we becoming regular travellers or what! After almost 10 hours of traveling we arrived in La Spezia. It is a lovely fishing town and port. Nice to see the sea.
Day 1: 4th Aug - we headed off on the train to Riomaggiore and walked along the "via del amore" (walk for lovers). It is a beautiful scenic walk along the cliff edge, paved all the way to the next town Manarola which took about 20 mins. The walk between Manarola and Corniglia was closed so we caught the train which took 4 mins. Then we walked from Corniglia to Vernazza, which took about 1.5 hours and got the heart pacing (and I'm afraid it wasn't from looking at the young Italian men!). It was a relief to arrive at Vernazza, a spectacular fishing village, where we had lunch before catching the train back to La Spezia for a well earned siesta!
Day 2: 5th Aug - today we caught the train to Monterosso early to avoid the heat, beautiful holiday town with locals who like the beach. With aching legs from yesterday we decided to tackle the walk back to Venazza. A really scenic beautiful walk along the mountainous coast. Some of the track was too narrow for passing and a million steps, that's what my knees were telling me! Very glad to get to the town for lunch. We don't think we have encountered as many tourists as we were expecting. It is busy but not unbearable. We got back to La Spezia earlier today so after a siesta we got on the bus to Porto Venere, another beautiful holiday & fishing village. It is truly amazing how these villages are built on the sloping rock faces down to the sea.
On our last night we were lucky to watch a festival parade in preparation for the towns boat regatta.
6 Aug: On the train today heading back to Arpino via Rome. Catch up with Liam and Norma, and hopefully see some Italian relatives that have arrived in town.
Will post some photos when I get back to computer access.