Monday, 20 May 2013
COSTA CLASSICA 7th April 2013 La Spezia
7th April 2013
After a calm night at sea we arrived early at La Spezia, Italy, to be greeted with fireboats and water, ship whistles, blue skies and sunshine, and a bright yellow helicopter flying around the ship as we approached the quayside. It was quite exciting, especially as the helicopter pilot flew extremely low and close and we could almost see the colour of the eyes of the cameraman who was hanging out of the open door of the helicopter. We waved!
As we edged nearer, the waiting band played and local dignatories hurriedly finished eating their cake and other refreshments, under the shade of a marquee. We were told that this was the first time a Costa ship had called at the port, so we were given a big welcome. One of my companions mentioned that he did not wish to be pedantic and point out that several other Costa ships had docked there before, albeit only for scrapping.
La Spezia greets Costa Classica
Funnels, flags and the fly-past
A smaller welcome
24 piece Brass Band and dignatories
These grabbed my attention
Yes, they were cakes, so I was invited to have a piece.
Cinque Terre, as that part of the coast is known. The plan was to take the train to the furthest village of Monterosso, and then walk back part of the way along the coastal path.
Train through the tunnel
Monterosso bay, where we went first
The brick-lined tunnel to walk to the next little bay
Back through the tunnel, to the tourist office, where we were informed that there had recently been several avalanches along the coastal paths so three were closed. She suggested we take a train back to another village and visit it, before returning to another train. She also told us that the avalanches had caused several fatalities and two people were still unaccounted for, which was dreadful to hear.
Getting off the train at Vernassa
Then down to the tiny bay for lunch
Our boat coming to collect us at 2.40 p.m.
Goodbye to the delightful Vernassa
One of the trains going through one of the tunnels
Not for the faint-hearted! There was a big swell and only a tiny area to set foot on from the swaying gangway. On the way we had seen where some avalanches had come down - what a tragedy - although other paths looked fascinating, up and down the mountain-sides.
Rugged rocks for the ragged rascals to run round
More amazing rocks
Another tunnel back to the station, to get another train in yet another tunnel.
Another train, another tunnel, to return to Riomaggiore. These are so weird and wonderful, these huge long tunnels cut through the mountains for the trains.
The view from the dining room as we left La Spezia, with the snow-capped mountains
Goodbye La Spezia
Ships seen: Beluo VG3777