Riomaggiore - Italian New Year

Trip Start Mar 03, 2005
Trip End Mar 04, 2006

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Elena's friends were heading to a place near Siena for New Year's, and it seemed paying a hell of an amount of money for the priviledge. As she had never been before, I suggested we head to the Cinque Terra and Riomaggiore for New Year's Eve. I really had only spent a day there myself, so I was happy to have a better look around.

Its a two hour train ride from Firenze, through Pisa and down the coastline to Riomaggiore. Alas, the drizzle has set in for New Years Eve in Italy. No snow, just annoying cold and rain.

Where we are staying is quite possibly the coldest buiulding I have been to in the world. You breath out and fog drifts across the room. A fridge was provided. I suggested that it would be warmer inside it, than outside in the room.

Riomaggiore seems quiet. Oh dear. Bars are closed. No one is around. Maybe my suggestion wasn't that great....

In the early evening we headed down the main street. Only 3 restaurants are open in the whole town, with all bars and the majority of choices closed up for the night. The first two restaurants are full! Thankfully the last choice has one table left, so there we are, huddled under it, in the semi outside conditions with one of those large gas heater things just over our heads.

Young Italian hoodlums seem to think it is a hoot to throw down enormous firecrackers during the festive season. You see them light up, then throw them down, covering their ears to the bang. There are no sparks or color, just a bloody annoying loud bang. From 3pm a small troop of idiots wander the town letting off crackers. The sound echoed through the small streets, scaring the hell out of all those here, including some older local residents who nearly had heart attacks. I wanted to kill the little shits. Elena wouldn't let me.

We ate fresh seafood and drank very Italian chianti to bring in the New Year, with the explosions of hoodlums running through town. It was probably not the party we were looking for, but who would think that the Cinque Terra would close down for December 31st. Some times New Year's Eve isn't as you anticipate. At least ours went off with a bang.

A New Year. 2005 was certainly unique for me. I wonder what is instore for 2006.

First cab off the rank for 2006 was a stroll to Manarola. The drizzle has stopped, but it is still overcast and chilly along the Cinque Terra. Elena and I spent the day sneaking from town to town in the Cinque Terra. Cafes, gelatis (even though it was cold, it is never too cold for gelati), coastline. Elena describes it as "Bello!" which is a thumbs up for those of you who can not speak Italiano.

On our last day down the Italian Rivera, Elena and I snuck north to Santa Margherita. It is another spot I have previously visited, but Elena hasn't, and Tratoria Garabaldi and their Pesto e Pomodoro Parpadelle is too good to miss out on. The day has turned sunny, and it is a balmy 12 degrees. The gloves are off. It feels like summer compared to last week.

The day's go too quickly in the Italian winter. Soon enough it is time to return to Firenze. Elena and I make our way back to her home town, and my Italian home town. Perhaps it wasn't the party to end all parties, but a few days down the Italian coastline are a memorable way to finish 2005 and start 2006.
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