So I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I am a planner. Especially when it comes to traveling. Especially when it comes to accommodations while traveling. Call me crazy, but I like the comfort of knowing I have a place to lay my head at night. Well, Teresa and I arrived in Vernazza, Italy, on a weekend in July, with no advance reservations for a place to stay. But more on that at the end of this post. First, the fun stuff! 🙂
Vernazza is a small, colorful town perched on a rocky hillside overlooking the sea and is part of the five towns of the Cinque Terre in Italy. We visited here in 2007 as part of our summer in Europe. When we arrived and had settled into our accommodations, we immediately changed into cooler clothes and took a walk down to the water.
This place has the feel of a beach town, which I absolutely love, and was hopping on this Friday afternoon! The views from shore are beautiful and the water is a crystal clear blue!
Although it was extremely early (by Italian standards) for dinner, we were starving and so decided to find a place to eat. We found an umbrella-covered table at an outdoor café overlooking the water – couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting!
And this is where I had the most delicious meal of my 10-weeks traveling through Europe: pesto lasagna. Yes, lasagna. But pesto lasagna made in the region of Italy where pesto originated! I still dream of this meal! The best pesto I have ever had! Oh my goodness! My mouth is watering!! (If there was any doubt before regarding my love of food, I think this probably clears it up nicely)
And I must also mention the cheese pizza that Teresa ordered. Nothing too out of the ordinary except it was 1) HUGE and 2) in one piece. No pre-sliced pizza here! We both just stared at it for a bit wondering how in the world she was going to eat it when our server (ahem, one of many rather good-looking Italian guys we came across) came over to our table, picked up her knife and fork and proceeded to cut her pizza one slice at a time. But he didn’t stop there! He then cut the tip of each slice into bite-sized pieces. This all took him about five minutes and we just watched in silence. I wish I had watched in silence with a video camera recording…
After dinner we walked through town looking through shops, then decided to buy some ice cream to take back down to the water. There are quite a few gelato places here for such a small town. And every last one of them was closed. Not to be deterred in our quest for ice cream, we found a small convenience store that had a freezer of frozen treats. Not quite the same as hand-scooped gelato but we were happy anyway.
We took our ice cream treats to the rocks by the water and watched the sunset. Ahhh….so nice! On our walk back through town to our room we noticed that all of the gelaterias were open again! Candid camera? Perhaps…
Accommodation Info / Tips
Most people who visit Vernazza stay at a Bed & Breakfast or a private room in a local’s home as there are only two small hotels in town. And unfortunately, it’s a bit difficult to make advanced reservations here (other than at the hotels) since there is virtually no information available on the internet (at least there wasn’t much in 2007 😉 ).
We had taken the train here from Rome and arrived on a Friday afternoon. I was very relieved to see a small Tourist Information office at the train station and quickly made a beeline for it. The girl who was working there gave me a list of places in town that provided accommodations. She was also kind enough to call
some all of them to see if they had any availability. And…I was very stressed to find out that none of them did. We had taken a chance just showing up without reservations and praying that we would find something once we got here. Well, just as I was ready to walk out and give Teresa the bad news, the girl noticed a piece of scrap paper with some stuff written on it on her desk and said there was a place next to the train station that had availability.
She walked me outside and pointed to a building right next to the train tracks that looked very sketchy. She called the woman who lived there who informed her that, yes indeed, she had a room available and it was only 50€ per night. I knew the place must be junk but I agreed to have a look at it anyway. I left Teresa at the train station with our bags and walked to the building. Paola met me outside and led me up three steep, narrow flights of stairs to a room that was surprisingly big, bright and pleasant with two beds. The bathroom was outside the room but was also big and clean. I confirmed with Paola that it was available for three nights and was only 50€ then went to get Teresa and our stuff. Yay!! Prayers answered!