After spending a week enjoying life in Bologna, it was time to venture out a little. I discussed a few options with my travel consultant Jacques, and then decided that Monterosso Al Mare, Cinque Terre would be the place to go. There are  number of seaside options in Italy – Orbetello is fabulous, and there’s the Adriatic side as well. I wanted something that was easy to get to and make my way around once there. All things considered I was assured this was the place to go.

First of all, Cinque Terre is beautiful. If you don’t know Cinque Terre – it historically consisted of 5 villages, and you could only get from one to the other by boat. These days there’s a train connecting them along with roads and a hiking patch along the rocky shore. Hiking between the villages is very popular.

As I was only spending a day and a half there, I really wanted to concentrate on time spent on a beach, and have it as easy as possible. In Monterosso the train station is right in the middle of town, facing the sea-shore, and a 5 minute walk to the hotel I ended up booking. Perfect!

Monterosso Al Mare, here I come!

The beach. Well, this is the larger beach, split into a number of ‘private’ and ‘public’ beaches. Private means you pay for your chair, and if you want, an umbrella. I came to the beach to lay in the sun…no umbrella required!

Walking around the old village.

So lovely these old streets.

Aaah the beach…

When you follow the main road into the village, this is the view you get once you’ve gone through the tunnel.

Take a close look at the rock on the left…


I repeat. Crazy. Crazy beautiful that is. Really, who sculpts this?

I mean really, look at this! That is amazing detail, carved into a rock on the edge of other rocks…

It seems I never get tired of seeing scenes like this one.

Or scenes like this one…

I think the village is even prettier at night.

And then there’s the food… This part of Italy uses a lot of seafood, and it is delicious. They are also known for the lemons they grow in the area. You guessed it…photos of food coming now…

Dinner on night one. A caprese salad (which I apparently didn’t photograph) followed by Ravioli with prawns. So tasty. And what I love is the fact that the ingredients are simple. No cream sauce, just a nice light wine sauce. Simple flavours.

Of course there was wine. The pitcher did arrive full…and for all of this a meagre 6 Euros. Um, ya, that would likely cost at least $18-$25 at home.

And the best lemon tart I’ve ever tasted for dessert.

Dinner night 2. A caprese salad – what can I say. I love me some tomatoes and mozzarella.

Seafood spaghetti. Again, simple and flavourful. Mussels, clams, calamari. Delicious. No dessert photo this night. Instead of dessert at the restaurant I opted for some chocolate and lemon gelato on the walk back to my hotel.

And there you have it. Two wonderful nights in Monterosso Al Mare. Next time I’ll have to stay longer and hike from one village to the other and see all of Cinque Terre.

For now, all that talk about food has made me hungry so I’m off to find some dinner.