Ride to Cinque Terra

Time to leave my cosy little hotel room...
This is Gianni whose family owns the Piccolo Hotel. His helpfulness made my stay in Milano a wonderful one. He has two sons, 16 & 17 who he hopes will take over the family hotel in the future.
My bike (Italia) in front of the Piccolo front entrance... remember this is Italy... you can park wherever you like!
I headed out of Milano (no small feat!) and was soon on the autostrada to Genova. They have "pull offs" on the side of the road to use for "SOS", to rest, or in this case to take a picture!
This man was working hard in soil that does't look that great IMHO.
This is another view of where I had pulled off the road.
The autostrade are almost all "raised".
A picture of on of the autostrade's bridges in the distance.
Off to the side, a lovely town curled into the mountainside.
The church's "steeple" soars above the community.
Look very carefully! I wasn't the only one at the side of the road.
I had just come down off that section of the autostrade.
I was on the south side of Genova.
Two wheelers everywhere.
In one direction, a view of part of the city...
On the other side, the less populated mountains.
Cacti at a roadside shop.
I bought a drink at this fellow's outdoor "bar". He was curious about the Canadian lady riding on her own. He taught me a few Italian words (which with my great grasp of language I forgot in two minutes...).
Another stop along the coast.
The main roads seemed to be higher up than most of the city...
... but there always seems to be a steep road leading further up to houses.
I was able to take these pictures from a pedestrian bridge over the main road.
The views from this stop on the road were fabulous!
Don't miss the "castle"!
Ahhh... the beauty of being able to stop just about anywhere on a motorbike! :)
Anyone willing to take this ramp up?
A pleasant place to sit and breathe in the atmosphere!
How's that for an above ground pool??
Beach maintenance!
From where I was taking these pictures, I was almost at eye level with the church's spires.
The light colour in the water is "stirred up" sand.
Further down the coast, a small port.
Very interesting scuptures (this and next picture) made it worth the stop at this small town.
Don't you just love the "window treatments"?
Bigger town...
... bigger bay...
... bigger boat!
Different vantage point...
... same port...
...same ship.
Now travelling along the "Cinque Terra" road, I encountered villages only accessable by hiking in/down.
Terraced crops of grapes and other vegetables.
The church is always the central part of every Italian town...
... but beaches are important, too!
As I ventured along the "skinny" roads, one vantage point would be outdone by the next.
I spent more time "parking" the bike than riding it!
Some of the road "drop offs" were a bit intimidating when cars came whizzing by in the other direction because the roads were JUST wide enough for two cars...
... and I was on the "free fall" side!
Luckily there wasn't much traffic except for the pedestrian kind... one of those two people taking my picture at this plateau.
I wonder how much man power over how many years made these terraces so fabulous???
Simple abodes but they fit the landscape so well.
Everything growing so neat and organized with a little "wild" thrown in for colour.
Some local art decorating a "turn out" retaining wall.
Perhaps a wine-making facility?
Cinque Terra is definitely a place everone should experience.
Around a bend and suddenly, La Spezia was before me.
La Spezia is one of Italy's major naval ports.
I parked the bike as close to where the hotel was supposed to be and set out on a hike to find it.
Many interesting things to see along the way...
... shops to glance into...
... selling lots of different things...
... interesting people... (and petz!)
But I soon grew tired of all the stores and became frustrated because I couldn't find the street the hotel was on.
When I was just about ready to give up, I found the "street". I knew the hotel was red, and the building down this... alley?? ... was red!
I was exhausted and glad for my comfortable little room with the elephant towels welcoming me! P.S. Did I mention that once I found the hotel, I lost the motorcycle?? 20 minutes of wandering later I got the assistance of the owner's husband in locating it!
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