So after the summer I had last year, I decided to take this one off from excavating to allow myself some time to relax and get my head back on straight (jumping into the school year and school play last August did not help). But I couldn’t just not travel, so after much debate and planning I applied for a class at the American Academy in Rome and then Sara and I decided to add on a few extra days of just plan travel. So we packed our bags and jumped on a Lufthansa flight to Rome! Sara is a wiz at using points (and she will help you with any of that if you ask her) and so we were able to rent a car on the points and take off. Our first stop was Albinia, where I had worked for the last two summers at the Excavations of Cosa. We had an AirBnB near Bar Hawaii and the Sottopassagario of the town. We met up with the current dig team for dinner and then a tour of the site the next day. They are doing amazing work there (check their blog out). Sara was amazed at all the work being done there (and all the knowledge required to understand Roman archaeology). She was really appreciative to have a personal guide for the area.
Next we took off to drive to Cinque Terre. In my ten years I’ve never visited this beautiful area and was really excited to see it. And since Pisa was on the way I decided to visit another spot that I hadn’t seen either since who wants to visit the industrial mess that Pisa is known for. Sara and I finally found the piazza del Duomo and parked. We were able to assist in helping keep the tower upright. After our walk around we were off again for Cinque Terre.
We were staying in Riomaggiore at another AirBnB that Sara found. We parked the car near the cemetery and took off down a narrow set of stairs that the area is known for. We found the place, up another set of stairs, and met Franca (a wonderful woman to rent from) who showed us the place and the secret set of stairs that cut out a ton of stairs. After settling in we went out to a long dinner at Ripa del Sole (they were crowded and understaffed, it was expected but the British lady there did not appreciate it).
The next day after a short episode of trying to find gas (I may have forgotten to fill before leaving La Spezia), we got the Cinque Terre Parco Treno tickets and headed to Corniglia and climbed all ~370 steps to the town from the train station and then started hiking to Vernazza. It was stupidly beautiful and a little hot. Once we made it to Vernazza we dined on Foccacia and fried squid. After that we were a little tired out by the tourists there and the hike so we checked out the Castello Doria and then took the train back (with a pit stop at Manarola for an afternoon coffee). We then dinned on the terrace and enjoyed the cool evening air.
Friday we took the train to Vernazza and hiked the rest of the way to Monterosso where we had a breakfast snack in the town. We then decided to show our Colorado colors and rented a sea kayak and paddled out to Punta Mesco which is an area protected from motorized boats. We saw some herring gulls sitting and anchovies leaping, which inspired us for lunch (we had fried anchovies). Then after the train home we napped, dined, watched the sun set and then capped the night at Bar O’Netto and Vertical Bar with some local brews. Sara of course met some people who she had one degree of separation with from Fort Collins.
Saturday we packed up, visited the Church in Riomaggiore and then headed out on the road. We wanted to visit another small site and stopped at the Roman town of Luni. We walked around the forum and museum and then headed to the amphitheater. The site is super small so really manI also introduced Sara to PennyMarket where we had take away lunch and then booked it for Rome. Once we made it to Rome, we checked in (another points deal) and Sara got an upgrade to an awesome apartment for the night.
That is where I’ll have to leave it now. I’ll share Rome journeys next!