We stood in a single file line on a staircase against the rocks watching the boat come into Riomaggiore. There was no dock to disembark from, but a small metal gangplank which bucked precariously on the waves. The boarding process was an impressive dance with a careful rhythm: wait until the waves calm for a quick instant, then dart on the boat fast as you can. This went on for 20 minutes or so as the crowd on the steps waited anxiously.
After the boarding excitement, it was a warm, breezy but exceedingly pleasant ride to Portovenere, another one of the Italian Riviera towns Liguria is known for. Our journey to Portovenere included a bonus tour of the surrounding small islands, so we stayed aboard for the scenic ride.
Back in Portovenere, I gained more appreciation for the Cinque Terre’s rustic beauty. While lovely, Portovenere is just another tourist town in my eyes. We had some focaccia and beer as part of our focaccia sampling mission and shopped for olive oil before refreshing ourselves with a gelato and prosecco in the town’s main piazza. I think the best part of the day for us was simply being on the boat on a warm day and seeing Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza and Corniglia from the water as we returned to Cinque Terre. If you have limited time in Cinque Terre, stick to the five towns and pass on Portovenere.
© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2014.