After an eleven hour drive up the coast past San Francisco through vineyards and forest and Mendocino we arrive at the Pine Beach Inn in Fort Bragg. It is a wonderful beach that is great for divers, beach walking and to simply to absorb the beauty of nature all around you. I painted this in oil on a 12"x24" canvas while on the beach as the fog and mist lifted. The sky peaked through mist and lit up the wave to let us know that it is going to be a beautiful and peaceful day.
We have two remaining towns to explore on our third day in the Cinque Terre. We take the train to Riomaggiore. The train is packed with visitors that had just arrived, probably from La Spezia ( the gateway city) , but we are doing this tour backwards. You can't tell from the picture here, but it is a very steep climb up the street. There are lots of pricey souvenir shops with items that you can get in Florence for at least half the price. Gelato is still a good deal anywhere. So we stopped at bar and enjoyed people watching as we ate our delicious treats then we take a walk to the harbor and check out the only gallery.
The last town that we visit is Manarola. It is a very small villiage that has some of the most beautiful deep water swimming places that I have ever seen right at the end of the town. I think this a free beach. We did not have our beach stuff with us as we knew that we would have to be back to our B and B and collect our luggage. We spend the last night of the Cinque Terre in La Spezia. I do not reccommend La Spezia at all. It is a dirty city, with pick pockets. I was mis-led by pictures on Pinterest that were probably mis-labled. The places to stay there are cheap for a reason! In retrospect I think we could of stayed the whole time in Rapallo and took the train to all the towns. ( no... I take that back we loved our place in Monterroso. )
My sister rented a beautiful little apartment near the Ponte Vecchio
on the country side of town. Her apartment is surrounded by a church, art museum, two gardens, villas and a castle -fort.
This is a great place to wind up
my days in Tuscany. I spend three days here, one of which is spent at the Uffizi Gallery looking at some of my favorite old masters; Botticelli, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael and many others. Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in world and I got to explore it from many vantage points.
On the last day in route to the airport I enjoy a light breakfast with my sister at this bar near the train and bus station. She will be continuing to live in Florece until September while she also travels to places like Milan, Rome, and the Almafi Coast.
Because of storms in 2011 the trails connecting the five towns have been washed out. The only trail open at this time is the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia. We take the train to Corniglia. Had we known that we would have to climb about seven flights of stairs to get from the train station to the road to town we may have done something different. After a nice lunch at a resturant near the trail head we head off on what is supposed to be an hour and a half walk. The views are spectacular. The trail is a mixture of steep stairs, and up and down rocky trails meadering through vineyards. Storm clouds come in and it rains a little, just enough to make the journey alittle cooler for us. We stop half way and paint so our hike is actually extended to four hours. Will post the painting later.