The south of France was our next destination for a bit of sun and heat. Unfortunately, we arrived at the tail end of a wet and cold spell. But we made the best of it, and ended up with some very nice days to explore the city and the surroundings.
After a week of work in London, I extended my stay over the weekend and visited Dubrovnik since I’d always heard a lot of good things about it. Arrived on Saturday afternoon. The bus ride from the airport, above the cliffs dropping down to the deep blue sea gave a tantalizing glimpse of what lay ahead. A walled fortress city set against an azure sky under a bright blue sky. Dubrovnik Old Town really does look like something out of a fairy tale, beginning with the imposing stone walls that encircle it.
We had been in Lerici for a week and on Saturday we visited Cinque Terre in gorgeous weather – the forecasted rain never materialized. Any hope of a repeat of the nice weather for our trip to Portovenere vanished the moment we woke up on Sunday morning. Thick gray clouds scudded low across the horizon and a steady rain fell from the sky, quite heavy at times. The forecast called for a possible break in the rain in the afternoon, so we decided to hang around Lerici in the morning and walk around in the rain. The rain didn’t really let up by the time we finished lunch, so we just decided to take our chances and go to Portvenere regardless.
After a week of work in Lerici, we arrived at the weekend ready for a break. Since we were so close, visiting Cinque Terre was the obvious option. We drove to the train station in La Spezia and bought tickets to Cinque Terre. Due to devastating rain and landslides in October, the villages were hurting (especially Vernazza), but they were still open to visitors. A quick 7-min train ride later, we alighted at Riomaggiore, the southern-most village of Cinque Terre. Rain had been forecast for the day, but it turned out quite sunny in the end.
After our quick Paris stop, we were off to Italy. We had wanted to go somewhere warm, and settled on the Amalfi coast. Then it was a matter of picking where along the Amalfi coast we would go. Given the scarce parking, we did not want to drive. We wanted to be someplace where we could just relax and walk around a lot; somewhere big enough to keep us interested (in terms of walking paths, restaurants, etc.) for a few days. We didn’t want to deal with the hustle and bustle of a big town (like Positano), but also didn’t want a really tiny place (like Atrani). In the end, the town of Amalfi seemed to fit the bill, so that’s where we went.