September 7th, 2009
It was Monday afternoon and we boarded a train to Genoa (from Milan) but just a comment about the train station in Milan...WOW! I think this was a Mussolini project...not certain of that fact but will check it out and report. Anyway, it is quite impressive. If you have ever been to Union Station in Washington DC you would be similarly impressed...for different reasons, of course. (Okay, I checked my facts and the original "Milano Centrale" was built in the 1860's and was replaced by a new station inaugurated in 1931 and under the influence of Mussolini, designed by at least two different renowned architects, one, Ulisse Stacchini, who concentrated on the iron/steel work canopy (Mussolini architect) and the other the building itself...Louis-Jules Bouchot started by Victor Emmanuel III but completed under Mussolini).
We changed trains in Genoa and arrived in Monterosso al Mare, the most northerly of the five towns in The Cinque Terra. We planned to stay with "Manuel" (Manuel's Guest House) and called to let him know that we would be arriving around 7PM. We enjoyed a nice stroll from the train station to the center of the "old town" and stopped to ask a fellow in one of the tiny squares how to find this obscure B&B and that gentleman just happened to be Manuel, in person! He called his nephew, and thanks for that because the nephew carried our two carry-on bags and one of our two small backpacks up the 130 steps to the apartment!
Upon arriving at the top of these steps for the first time we were greeted by a fantastic view (the first photo) and two very cordial couples with whom we enjoyed, perhaps, the coldest and tastiest beer I have ever had...or...maybe it was enhanced by the trek up those steps...but no matter what the reason, the view, the conversation, the beer and the wine that evening were all great!
We had a late dinner at a restaurant we were familiar with from a previous visit and slept well!