After leaving our wonderful stay in the Luberon Valley we spent a lovely night at a high end hotel in Bordighera and then a couple of hours the next morning wandering along the waters edge of the riviera. The colour of the ocean there is just fabulous. We were amazed too at the hectares of glass houses installed on the steepest of slopes in the area. As we drove west along the coast they were a feature for kilometres. The only thing I can imagine they are used for that would be economic is hydroponic food production, but they are a major feature of the landscape.
The next two nights we spent at a much more economic hotel at La Spezia. Arriving in the mid afternoon we wandered into the town centre to explore a bit and on the advice of the hotel reception, the next morning caught the boat to the the towns of the Cinque Terre, thinking this would give us a great perspective of the coast. We set ourselves up in a prime viewing position at the front of the upper deck with only the Captain in front of us while manoeuvring at each village, so we had an unfetted view. After the first stop however the rain once again came to spoil our parade, and after holding out for some time we eventual surrendered and in a rising swell stumbled our way downstairs to shelter. It was a good way to view the area though and we would recommend it, particularly in better weather.
The whole Cinque Terre region is a testament to the tenatious spirit of the locals not only to live in such a rugged terrain but to build houses and tend gardens on what to others would be impossible slopes. It must be their high fish diet that maintains their knees and other joints to keep it up!
From La Spetzia we had til after 4 pm to get to our new accommodation at Lo Stallino in Tuscany, so we headed to Pisa, which was sort of on the way. Again we were too hesitant about the availability of parking near the tower and ended up walking about 3 K more than we need to, but you're never to know that when you start out!
After a pizza and beer for lunch at Pisa we headed off to Lecchi and arrived after a drive that,in the last 20k, resembled the twists and turns of upper Buckrabendinni, for those that know it. The difference is this roads are paved and sufficiently wider than in Provence to take some of the tension out of it for Marg.
It seems I have scored 5 out of 5 in the accommodation with Lo Stallino exceeding our expectations in every respect. Once again our hosts have supplied us with a welcome hamper of food, pasta, coffee and a cold bottle of Proseco. We supplemented this with a trip to San Sano, 1k away for olives, pecorino cheese and prosciutto for happy hour. The all too fast consumption saw us a happy, giggling mess in no time as the photo may show!
When we left the Luberon valley we felt that it would be hard to beat the experience we had encountered there, but so far Italy is providing a true contest!