Vernazza: Beauty, Disaster and Recovery – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 10th, 2018

Vernazza - Dolly Travels

Buongiorno, tutti,

We started our morning at the Il Pirata Bar at the top of the town. This restaurant has the best pastries; all are made on the premises. Their reputation has made this small place such a popular breakfast place, that one must get there early to get a table.

While we were enjoying our delicious pastries, we began talking with the couple who sat next to us. By the end of our breakfast we were best friends. We had such a good time with them. We discussed our plans for the day, and before we knew it, we had learned far more about each other than I know about my next door neighbors at home.

Soon, though, we all went our separate ways. I love the way that travel allows me to meet such interesting people as I go along.

The kids had their own plans for the day, so here I am, telling you about my day.

I am sitting at the Ananasso Bar again. Lest you think that I might do this too often, this bar sits right at the harbor’s edge. From here, I can look out at the little cove, where people are swimming. I can see the boats in the harbor and look beyond to the town of Monterosso. Over to my left and closer to the harbor is the good pizza restaurant that we visited yesterday. So, you see, my perch here, for the price of a drink, is perfect.

Today, I went for a walk up through town, past the Il Pirata Ristorante, where we had breakfast this morning. I walked up the road while following the little stream that starts somewhere up above, then flows down through the town. I remembered well, the deluge of October, 2011, where the rains came down so hard and for such a long time, that the mountains washed down into that stream, pushing homes, cars and anything in its path, into that stream, until the town was flooded with mud, debris up to the second story of the buildings.

Today, as I walked through the town, seven years after that disaster, I felt that the people of Vernazza have made a remarkable recovery. Although reconstruction is still going on in some areas: rock walls are being rebuilt, some facades of buildings still need to be repaired, life goes on as before.

As I sit here, watching the tourists, I wonder how many of them know the calamity that besieged the town those years before. I watch the people that work in the shops and the restaurants; I see them wait on the customers, and they are so kind, so patient. They are indeed lovely people.

Vernazza is one of the five villages in a unique area. During the day, the little town is filled with tourists. Many people come here to hike the trails between the villages. I honestly don’t know why the cruise ship passengers come here. When those cruise ships unload their tenders, the town is immediately flooded with up to five hundred extra people; more than the town can comfortable accommodate.

However, when evening comes; the town settles down and becomes an almost-quiet village. The people of Vernazza are resilient. They have rebuilt their town and life goes on in this little city as if the disaster never occurred.

My point in writing this blog post is to remind all of us, that no matter what life hands us, we have the choice to adapt, rebuild, and get on with things, or curl up and admit defeat. I want to pattern my life after the citizens of Vernazza: there is always light at the end of the tunnel, if I choose to follow it. Or I can let the small disasters get me down.

I am inspired by the people of the town of Vernazza.

Until next time,
Arrivederci,

Dolly

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Vernazza Gay Travel Resources

Visiting Venerable and Vivacious Vernazza – Dolly Travels

Author: , August 30th, 2018

Vernazza

Buona sera, tutti,

I am sitting at the Bar Ananasso, on the main piazza in Vernazza. I am looking out at the sea as I savor a new beverage, a limoncino spritz. Actually, I have never ordered one at a bar, but I do believe our traveling group invented this at the apartment in Florence, back in 2008. We called it Tuscan Lemonade. Whatever it is called it is delicious.

The time is 7:30 p.m. The sun seems to still be high in the sky, but the air is becoming a bit cooler. We arrived here in the early afternoon; as usual, we were very hungry. We went to the restaurant that sits at the very end of the harbor, where we could see the sea, and enjoy our lunch.

Later, the kids wanted to explore on their own; as I found out later, Heather went for a hike, Danny went for a nap. I went for a walk, also, but not as adventurous as Heather’s. This area is so lovely, especially now, at the end of the day, when the cruise ship passengers have left, the day trippers have left. Looking about me now, the restaurants on this piazza are full, but the area around me has just a few of us who are waiting to enjoy the sunset.

As I walked through the town today, I saw how well Vernazza has recovered from the terrible flood of October, 2011. The shops and the restaurants have been restored; life goes on as before. The old men were still paying cards at the tables on the piazza. The nonne (grandparents) were still spoiling the little ones with gelati.

This evening, I walked around the little town and observed the people winding down for the night, tourists and locals as well.

The church in the background is still one of my favorite places to visit. I wonder how many prayers have been offered for the safety of the fishermen from this church over the ages. The church was established in early 1300’s. Inside, the decor is simple, gothic style. It is still lovely.

Finally, the sun did set, leaving me with a serene view of the Ligurian Sea. I am so happy that we came here. Although I was a bit sad to leave Florence, I knew that this village would soothe my soul, and indeed it has. The sound of the sea is so calming, although I have seen this same quiet sea when it has lost its temper.

I will leave you with this vision of Vernazza. Tomorrow is another day, and I am certain I will have more pictures to show you.

Buona notte.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Vernazza Gay Travel Resources

Vernazza – Disaster & Recovery – Dolly Travels

Author: , August 4th, 2018

Buongiorno, tutti,

We started our morning at the Il Pirata Bar at the top of the town. This restaurant has the best pastries; all are made on the premises. Their reputation has made this small place such a popular breakfast place, that one must get there early to get a table.

While we were enjoying our delicious pastries, we began talking with the couple who sat next to us. By the end of our breakfast we were best friends – Lynda and Jake, from Toronto. We had such a good time with them. We discussed our plans for the day, and before we knew it, we had learned far more about each other than I know about my next door neighbors at home.

Soon, though, we all went our separate ways. I love the way that travel allows me to meet such interesting people as I go along.

The kids had their own plans for the day, so here I am, telling you about my day.

I am sitting at the Ananasso Bar again. Lest you think that I might do this too often, this bar sits right at the harbor’s edge. From here, I can look out at the little cove, where people are swimming. I can see the boats in the harbor and look beyond to the town of Monterosso. Over to my left and closer to the harbor is the good pizza restaurant that we visited yesterday. So, you see, my perch here, for the price of a drink, is perfect.

Today, I went for a walk up through town, past the Il Pirata Ristorante, where we had breakfast this morning. I walked up the road while following the little stream that starts somewhere up above, then flows down through the town. I remembered well, the deluge of October, 2011, where the rains came down so hard and for such a long time, that the mountains washed down into that stream, pushing homes, cars and anything in its path, into that stream, until the town was flooded with mud, debris up to the second story of the buildings.

Today, as I walked through the town, seven years after that disaster, I felt that the people of Vernazza have made a remarkable recovery. Although reconstruction is still going on in some areas: rock walls are being rebuilt, some facades of buildings still need to be repaired, life goes on as before.

As I sit here, watching the tourists, I wonder how many of them know the calamity that besieged the town those years before. I watch the people that work in the shops and the restaurants; I see them wait on the customers, and they are so kind, so patient. They are indeed lovely people.

Vernazza is one of the five villages in a unique area. During the day, the little town is filled with tourists. Many people come here to hike the trails between the villages. I honestly don’t know why the cruise ship passengers come here. When those cruise ships unload their tenders, the town is immediately flooded with up to five hundred extra people; more than the town can comfortable accommodate.

However, when evening comes; the town settles down and becomes an almost-quiet village. The people of Vernazza are resilient. They have rebuilt their town and life goes on in this little city as if the disaster never occurred.

My point in writing this blog post is to remind all of us, that no matter what life hands us, we have the choice to adapt, rebuild, and get on with things, or curl up and admit defeat. I want to pattern my life after the citizens of Vernazza: there is always light at the end of the tunnel, if I choose to follow it. Or I can let the small disasters get me down.

I am inspired by the people of the town of Vernazza.

Until next time,
Arrivederci,

Dolly

Climbing Vernazza – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , August 24th, 2017

Vernazza

Yes, you can hike all the five villages in Cinque Terre. If you’re able and have the stamina to hike, then, do it! It’s worth it. It takes a day of hiking across these villages. You’ve got to wear proper hiking gear and take note of the sweltering heat in summer. Bring a bottle of water which you can refill or buy when arriving in every village.

Another option: If you can’t all of them, choose two or three villages you want to hike. You can choose any village as your starting point to hike.

Most of the photos below are taken from hiking Vernazza to Corniglia route. It took me almost two hours because I had feet blisters but should be an hour on regular pacing hike.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Liguria Gay Travel Resources

Vernazza in the Cinque Terre

Author: , September 26th, 2014

Vernazza sunset - DollyWow! Once again time has gotten away from me. We are packing, getting ready to leave Cinque Terre tomorrow and all at once I realized I had not posted anything from here.

We arrived in Vernazza in the late afternoon on Saturday. Weather was good, for which we were very thankful. Weather.com had predicted rain for all three days that we would be here. It had rained in Bologna most of Friday and again on Saturday morning, but when we had to walk to the train station, the rain had stopped.

We got to La Spezia, where we had to change trains to get to Vernazza… and what happened? That train was cancelled. A train strike was scheduled to begin at 9:00 p.m that night, but in preparation for the strike, several trains were cancelled. We did only have to wait an additional hour to catch a train, but dealing with that was stressful.

I just think the strikes are interesting, as we never know why they are striking, the strikes are announced in advance, and some trains are required to run. We just don’t know which ones.

Also, they happen frequently. I think it must be something written into their contract that they have to have a strike every few weeks/months. I really don’t know.

Finally we got to Vernazza, got checked into our hotel, had a Happy Hour drink on the main piazza, then later had a delicious dinner at Gambero Rosso ristorante.

Our next two days were spent just relaxing, having Happy Hours on our terrazza, and enjoying the beautiful weather.

Today we took the train to Riomaggiore and Manarolo, just to visit some of the other villages. (Yes, the train strike was over.) The trains were packed today with tour groups from all over the world. This had to be my worst train experience ever.

Thankfully, we made it back to Vernazza without being too squished, but we sure didn’t want to go on a train again for awhile. However, we have to do that tomorrow morning. I just hope we are leaving before the tour groups get on the trains.

Today was the birthday of one of the travelers, Nichole, so we had a little Happy Hour celebration on the terrazza then a fabulous dinner at Gianni Franzi ristorante, complete with a chocolate birthday cake with a candle.

We had an extraordinary sunset. Note how the clouds behind the mountain have the same shape as the mountain. Interesting.

So we say, Arriverderci to Vernazza, and we are off to more adventures in Florence. You will hear from me from Florence, my favorite Italian city

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Liguria Gay Travel Resources

Beautiful Vernazza

Author: , May 23rd, 2013

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on the go again, this time in Italy. She has graciously allowed us to republish her travel blogs. Enjoy!

Vernazza, Italy - Dolly GoolsbyWe came up to Vernazza on the Cinque Terre yesterday. I love Vernazza, in spite of all the steps we have to climb to get anywhere. Our rooms are up a little stone street and stairs, but we have a roof top terrace that gives us a 360 degree view of Vernazza, and we can see all the way to Monterosso. As our landlord told us, being up here but near the sea, is very good for getting rid of allergies, increasing our lung power and keeping us slim by climbing all the stairs. I trust his judgment.

We were afraid we were going to get rain, but so far, we are fortunate. Kiri, Patrick and I stayed in town today, while the other 4 went for hikes. We will meet up again for Happy Hour at 5:00 on our roof top terrace. Our apartment is right on the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia.

This morning we walked along the road above town as far as we could go, and viewed some of the damage from the flood of October, 2011, but these resourceful people are still restoring and cleaning up, rebuilding streets, bridges and homes.

While it is still sad to see how much damage was done in that flood, it is encouraging to see the people still moving forward, and much like seeing the trees still producing lemons, the vineyards still producing grapes, the lilies and wildflowers blooming, to know that life goes on.

After we returned to town, we climbed up the hill to the tower that has a restaurant to check out whether we wanted to go there for dinner. While the view is wonderful, I knew that I really like to have wine with dinner, and no way was that going to be an easy trip down after having a couple glasses of wine. I told Patrick he would have to ask for Grandma’s wine to be put into a to-go cup, and she could drink it in the safety of her room, after dinner.

The people are very friendly. We see some stores open that are only half the size they were when we visited 2 years ago, but the people are resilient, and just keep moving forward.

Tomorrow I will send some pictures of our Happy Hour. I love being up on the terrace at 5:00 p.m., as the church bells ring, the the carillon play the Italian national anthem. I simply must stand at attention and salute the Italian flag. After all, Italy is my second home.

So, ciao for now, and we will talk again tomorrow.

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Dolly Travels – Vernazza After the Flood

Author: , May 30th, 2012

Vernazza After the FloodI have been sitting here, in my lovely hotel room in Vernazza, both out on the deck that overlooks the main piazza as well as the harbor of this village, trying to decide where to start, to tell you about Vernazza. Seeing Vernazza today, the experience was pretty overwhelming at first, so where to begin telling you about it.

As most of my readers already know, on October 25, 2011, Vernazza and Monterosso, both villages on the Ligurian coast, in the area known as Cinque Terre, were hit hard by flash floods. Over 20 inches of rain fell in less than 4 hours, virtually washing the mountainsides down into the villages.

Vernazza is one of my most favorite places on earth. Every year I make at least one trip here, and if I am lucky, I can get up here more often. Today, Susan and I arrived by train from Florence, about 10:30 a.m. As we walked from the train station toward the main piazza, we saw reconstruction going on everywhere. We knew that the village is working very hard to recover, but still I could not take in the enormity of the devastation that had occurred here. The tunnel under the train tracks is all new…and clean. Further down toward the sea, workmen were still scraping mud off building fronts, while entire shops are gutted, with new floors being placed, new everything. The mud had come up to, and in some places, over the second story windows.

Full Story from Dolly Travels

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Postcards From an Italian Adventure – Cinque Terre & Volterra

Author: , June 5th, 2010

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

May 22nd, 2010

Buon Giorno everyone,

Cinque TerraWe had 3 lovely days at Cinque Terre, returned to Florence on Thursday night, then got up early yesterday (Friday) and went to Volterra.

We arrived in Vernazza, on the Cinque Terre, about 10:30 a.m. on Monday. The weather was slightly overcast, but warm. After we got checked into our hotel, we had lunch on the waterfront, at an outdoor restaurant, devouring very good pizze and beer. Our rooms at Martina’s hotel, are very nice, but we have the top 3 rooms in the hotel, my room being up 72 stairs. I think I counted them every time I went up…

My room is a small double room, but had the outdoor terrace off of it, so that was our Happy Hour gathering place every day. It was so relaxing.

Cinque TerraAfter lunch the first day, the other ladies took off to do some walking, just in Vernazza. Because of all the wet weather before we got there, the trails between the towns was closed. Some were wet, but the biggest problem was that landslides had closed the trails with rocks and debris. I did not go for walks with them, as I just wanted to savor being in Cinque Terre again. I did go out and buy some postcards, then spent a lovely hour on the terrace writing them. When the girls got back, they brought some salami and cheese, bread and some of the great Cinque Terre white wine.

Later, we went to dinner at Il Pirata, a small restaurant at the top of the town, owned by the Sicilian twins, Giancarlo and Massimo. They both remembered us from previous years, and we were treated very well. Massimo poured wine for all of us, as we had to wait for our tables. Then they served us the most delicious seafood salads, pesto lasagne, eggplant parmigiano, among other dishes. We just had to have dessert as Giancarlo is pastry chef extraordinaire.

Cinque TerraEach day we went up to Il Pirata for breakfast, having fresh squeezed orange juice, cappucchini and pastries. I know, I know… I am not eating sugar, but my will power went right down the drain in Vernazza. (Of course, when we got back home and I had gained a kilo, I got my resolve back again in a hurry!!)

Tuesday, we woke to gorgeous sunshine. The ladies wanted to go to Riomaggiore and walk the easy part of the trail, which was open, then they hoped they could get up to Corniglia. I did not feel like climbing the hundreds of stairs to Corniglia, so I elected to go by train to Monterosso, by myself. That was very nice. I explored the old town, walked all over that area, finally having lunch at a small cafe on the beach. It was glorious.

When we had our Happy Hour Sharing Time, I found that the girls had been able to do an alternated hike, through the vineyards, up at Corniglia. We all had such a good time. That night we went to dinner at Gambero Rosso, a very nice seafood restaurant, right in the same piazza as our hotel. The seafood, being locally caught and very fresh, was delicious.

Wednesday was not so nice. Overcast, slightly breezy, threatening to rain, but we all went to Monterosso together. I had not done the Switchback of the Friars walk, so we did that, which was again, stairs, straight up (almost) to a church at the top. We also went on walks through town, visited the Anchovy packing plant and visitor center. We got to taste the anchovies, and saw a video on how they pack them. They are very good, and not anything like anchovies that we get in the United States.

After lunch, we got the train back to Vernazza, and had our last dinner at Trattoria di Sandro, which also had fresh seafood, and another wonderful meal. We bought wine from Martina, whose Dad has a vineyard there in Vernazza. Very good white wine, for 7 Euro per bottle.

Thursday we came back to Florence, made a dinner of pasta with tomato sauce and sausage, roasted some veggies, had a salad and bread, and retired early.

Yesterday we took the bus to Volterra, which is a two-hour trip from Florence, but it is such an interesting little town. We spent the day there, returned home about 7:00 p.m., a bunch of tired people. I had frozen soup before we went to Cinque Terre, so we had that, heated up, of course, cheese, salami and bread, and a bottle of our 4.40 Euro wine… which, by the way, is on sale this weekend, for 2.90 so I sent the girls back to the store to buy as much as they could carry!!

Today we went to the San Ambrogio market, we are doing laundry, and later are having a cooking session, with a lesson on making panna cotta… and another good meal for dinner here tonight… we are making the asparagus risotto with porcini mushrooms again, as it is the most wonderful thing I have eaten in a long time, plus chicken marsala, roasted veggies and salad, and if our panna cotta turns out well, that will be our dessert with strawberries.

Tomorrow, our cooking session will be learning how to make ricotta potato gnocchi….
I will let all of you know how that turns out.

Ciao for now… off to the laundromat.

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