Cinque Terre Photo Diary
At the bottom of the hill, we were met by Pamela and a van to take us to Ristorante il Ciliegio and to enjoy the hospitality of its owner, Gianni. This was the sight of my first ever encounter with rabbit and anchovies. Anchovies were prepared every conceivable way―cured, fried, stuffed, and drizzled with lemon, cracked pepper, and olive oil. We learned that this staple fish must be eaten quickly, because it deteriorates rapidly. Otherwise, it has to be salt-cured to preserve it.
We then took the train to Vernazza, a colorful port of hustling tourists, where we met up with a restaurant proprietor who was not scheduled to open his business until the following day. There we were served Ligurian cuisine on a railed perch in an old fortress facing the sea. I cannot describe to you in words, or even in pictures, if I had one, of the view offered from our table. Suffice it to say that I felt like an eagle in a nest high above the smashing waves of the sea. We were so mesmerized by this little Italian woman, who was taking a break from her chores. True to the good-natured spirit of her culture, she even waved at us!
I knew it would be good when we were greeted by two diminutive Italian women in sensible shoes. We were escorted from the train station to a restaurant/cooking school, inconspicuously located in an alleyway just minutes from the Friday marketplace. We dropped off our belongings, then went directly to the market to purchase ingredients.