Vernazza was definitely the most relaxing part of our Italy tour (despite the ridiculous amount of stairs that we had to climb to reach our hotel room). Most of the day consisted of resting, eating, shopping, and enjoying the scenery.
We decided to eat out for breakfast (the first time we had done this all trip) since one of the restaurants on the main street specialized in breakfast food. The food and coffee spelled so delicious! We had pastries and cappuccino and Dad had eggs and bacon (he doesn’t do this very often!).
After breakfast, we took a stroll through town and then tried to find the trail that joined all the villages in Cinque Terre together. We headed off in the wrong direction at first, but in doing so, we stumbled upon a large gathering of ducks that had made their home in a small river that flowed next to homes and down to the ocean. It was fun to just stop and watch the ducks playing together. The atmosphere in Vernazza really helps you slow down and take time to admire little things that go unnoticed when you’re hurrying from place to place.
We eventually found the trail and headed off. The views were simply magnificent. The ocean was bright blue, there was hardly a cloud in the sky, and the brilliant colors of the Vernazza buildings were stunning against that backdrop. We had a great time walking along, stopping here and there to take in the scenery.
Eventually we turned back toward Vernazza and made our way back to town. We strolled around for a bit longer, and then my Dad decided to go up to take a nap. We planned to meet up again for a lovely happy hour in the afternoon.
Chad, my mom, and I stayed out in the town, popping into stores to get Christmas ornaments and gifts. My mom wanted to try one particular restaurant that overlooked the water, so we headed up to see if we could get a table and snack on an appetizer. After a bit of a wait (this was probably the most crowded place in town), we were seated at a little table. Meanwhile, some rude American tourists were arguing loudly with the restaurant staff, complaining because the staff could not instantly seat their group of eight. It was very embarrassing for Americans in general.
Later we realized that this restaurant must be very popular with rude, rich Americans because the people seated at two of the tables near us were loud, obnoxious Texans who were arguing about football so loudly that it was difficult for anyone else to carry on a conversation, let alone enjoy the peaceful ocean sounds. The food was fairly pricey, but we shared a few plates of appetizers and then left. While the view was nice, the Americans who were dining there were ruining the experience. We had thought about going to that restaurant for dinner, but decided against it after that experience.
After that, Chad really wanted to go for a swim, but we weren’t wearing our swimsuits and were having a tough time rallying to go up all those stairs just to change our clothes. Instead, we waded out into the water in our clothes, walking through the ocean with the water up to our knees. Just feeling the water on our legs relaxed us and we had a great time looking into the ocean and pointing out little fish as they swam by. Chad was surprised to see a woman breastfeeding as she was standing in the water, but no one else seemed to notice or care.
After our relaxing play time in the water, we decided to go back to the same shop where we had gotten our salami and cheese on the previous day to get more of the same for our happy hour. Unfortunately, the lady who works there had other plans and decided to take a siesta (nap) from noon until 5pm. Ah, the beauty of the Italian lifestyle. Since our original plan was no longer an option, we got a couple slices of pizza, one pesto, one margherita, some orange soda, wine and water, some lemon-flavored candy, and a couple other snacks.
We headed up the many stairs, woke Dad, and went out to the terrace that overlooked the water and enjoyed our happy hour. Every now and then, a fishing boat would pass by in the water below, momentarily disturbing the calm and silence around us.
I was feeling pretty tired by now, so I headed in to take a nap before dinner. A few hours later, we headed down to the same restaurant we had eaten at the night before (Gianni Franzi). Everyone in the family basically swapped what we had ordered the previous night. Chad had the fish and I had the pesto pasta that he had ordered the night before. My mom had the spaghetti and my dad tried the pesto that my mom had ordered the previous night. We all shared a couple bottles of wine and had a wonderful time laughing, sharing stories, and enjoying the moonlit ocean view.
We wanted to end the evening with some gelato and limoncello. During dinner, Chad ran down the street to the gelato place and asked what time they closed. The guy said, “Maybe 9. I don’t know.” So as we were finishing our meal, we timed it out to make it the gelato place before it closed. Unfortunately, at a little before 9, Chad went to check on the gelato place, and apparently the guy had changed his mind and decided to close early. We decided to share some desserts at the restaurant instead and stayed at the restaurant quite a bit longer. It was a lovely way to end our time in Italy and a wonderful meal to remember.
After dinner, we headed up to my parents’ room and sat with them for a little while, sipping limoncello that my mom had purchased at a souvenir shop and snacking on lemon flavored treats. After awhile, Chad and I headed up the extra flight of stairs to our room and turned in for the night. It was a beautiful last evening in Italy.