After hiking through the Swiss Alps, we decided a little relaxation was in order...after all, we were on vacation! We decided that the Italian Riviera was the best choice so from Zermatt we grabbed a train which took us down to the Mediterranean. Our first stop was Monterosso al Mare, one of the 5 villages of Cinque Terre. It was SUPER packed and WAY more touristy than we expected (or really liked, for that matter). We still took the opportunity to hike the Cinque Terre trail - the 8 mile (with 3000 feet of elevation gain/loss) trail that connects the 5 towns. After Cinque Terre, we took a train up the coast to a much more sedate (and more our speed) resort town of Sestri Levante. Our hotel was a castle (with a private beach, of course) and the town was far more enjoyable than Monterosso al Mare. Just prior to our departure, we met Brian's parents in Geneva.
The scenic view from our hotel in Monterosso al Mare Not quite as grandiose as our views in Switzerland The tight streets of Italy The beach at Monterosso al Mare On a busy Sunday afternoon the beach (and the town) was packed The beach clears out a bit as the shade approaches Looking down the coastline of Cinque Terre Looking over to the other beach of Monterosso al Mare Brian and Lisa The Giant of Monterosso Al Mare Monterosso Al Mare Monterosso Al Mare The church in the distance was built in the 13th century Monterosso Al Mare Monterosso Al Mare Monterosso Al Mare Starting down the Cinque Terre trail to Vernazza Looking up at the terraced vineyards above the trail The narrow Cinque Terra trail between Monterosso and Vernazza Lisa snaps a photo of this creepy looking spider Looking back on Monterosso al Mare Looking southwest to the remaining 4 towns of Cinque Terre Vernazza Olives Vernazza The train tunnel leading to Vernazza Vernazza Vernazza Looking down on Corniglia The path as it winds through the terraces in Corniglia Manarola, the next town down the trail Looking back at the coast at Corniglia Manarola Manarola Via Dell'Amore - the last section of trail Many lovers had placed locks (...frequently sold by the nearby souvenir shops) along the path to show their love....oh - and lots of graffiti too Via Dell'Amore and Lisa Lisa and Brian Via Dell'Amore Riomaggiore, the last town along the Cinque Terre path Riomaggiore The entire trail was 8 miles long with over 3000 feet of elevation gain...not as bad as Switzerland, but it was WAY warmer! Manarola Monterosso al Mare Cooling our feet in the Mediterranean Basilica di Santa Maria di Nazareth in Sestri Levante The quiet Baia del Silenzio of Sestri Levante The remains of a church bombed by the US in 1944 Looking out over Sestri Levante from our hotel Our hotel...a castle The private beach of our hotel, Grand Hotel Dei Castelli The beach continued around the rocky promontory on the left A view of the beach from up on the hill The main beach of Sestri Levante Some weird berry One of Guglielmo Marconi's towers used in his early radio experiments The rocky coastline Our window(s) on the second floor Taking the elevator down to the street The other part of the castle hotel An old abbey outside of the hotel Sestri Levante Baia del Silenzio Basilica di Santa Maria di Nazareth Sunset in Sestri Levante Our hotel is up on the hill (cleverly labeled HOTEL) Sunset in Sestri Levante Sunset in Sestri Levante Basilica di Santa Maria di Nazareth The cave that lead from the street level to the elevator up four stories to our castle...cool, huh? An unannounced visitor to our room... Brian, greeting the unannounced visitor in the traditional way of trying to poke it with a stick Jay, Joan, Lisa, and Brian in Geneva We met my parents in Geneva before flying home Geneva...a fairly dull city especially when cloudy Brian, Lisa, and Joan Lisa and Brian walking through the market Cathédrale Saint Pierre This was the adopted home church of John Calvin and dates back to the 8th century Cathédrale Saint Pierre Cathédrale Saint Pierre Lisa, Brian, and Jay Lisa and Brian Geneva, of course, is known for its watches...Rolex, Patek Philippe, TAG Heuer, and...well...Swatch Geneva also has a huge fountain...not really sure why...but it does. And this is the city's most famous landmark. The Jet d"Eau sends water up 500 feet A very specific restaurant name