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Monday 22 September 2014

Framura & Cinque Terre

How on earth is it Monday again already?! 

But, if there's one thing guaranteed to lift our lacklustre Monday moods, it's a little bit of holiday daydreaming. So, we thought we'd kick off the week with a travel post. Here's part II of my Italian summer adventures - a week in Framura, a little Ligurian village nestled midway between the Cinque Terre and Portofino.

After the most magical Tuscan wedding, we waved goodbye to the wedding crew and hopped into our hire car to zip across Tuscany and hit the coast for a bit of recuperation.   To break up the journey, we decided to stop at Lucca for a wander and a lazy lunch.

Suitably stuffed full of salami and spaghetti, we jumped back in our Fiat 500 and headed up the coast to our home for the next few days. Having been bitten by the Airbnb bug back in June when we played country bumpkins for the weekend in a barn conversion in Somerset, we decided to give the bland chain hotels and dated B&Bs a miss and instead booked an Airbnb in Framura. Best decision ever! 

Perched at the top of a wiggly, windy road with incredible views out across the water, our apartment was a two bed, two bathroom home away from home. The whole flat was beautifully decorated and super bright and airy with a sun-dappled garden at the back and a huge terrace overlooking the sea at the front. In the weeks leading up to our arrival, our lovely host, Elena emailed us with details of anything and everything we could possibly need to know about the apartment from wifi codes to where to eat, how to find the apartment to the best secret beaches nearby. We arrived and were greeted by Elena's friend who handed over the keys, gave us a mini tour and then left us to dash around exploring our new pad...

Pretty wiped out after three days of wedding celebrations, we decided that we would cook in that night, so off I pottered to the village and the most incredible corner shop ever, where I stocked up on Ciabatta, olives, mozzarella and parma ham as well as all the ingredients for a monster prawn and pesto risotto.

I got home just in time for a couple of sunset glasses of rose and a little grazing on my corner shop spoils before rolling up my sleeves, donning my apron and cooking up a storm.

We ate curled up on the sofa in front of the Big Lebowski (luckily the apartment came fully stocked with enough DVDs, CDs and games to keep even the most ADD child entertained) and within seconds of scraping our dishes clean, we were both yawning and heavy-lidded, ready for a huge sleep.

The next few days passed in a happy, sunny blur of blue skies and too much pasta. We mixed mornings baking out on the terrace drinking coffee and reading magazines with afternoons exploring and even a couple of gelato-burningly energetic walks. 

But, on our first day, after the large Limoncello consumption at the wedding, we decided that it was probably wise to while away the day at Monterosso al Mare lying under an orange and green striped sun umbrella with nothing more stressful on the agenda than kindle reading and deciding where to eat lunch. Total bliss!

In fact, it was so perfect that the next day we decided to seek out another beach for yet more snoozy sunning. Two days of lying supine meant that by day three we were ready to take on the challenge of walking the Cinque Terre - an eight mile hike along the coastal pathway that takes you from village to village. We set off bright and early in an attempt to dodge the hottest part of the day and were rewarded with a relatively deserted trail and some stunning photo ops.

By the time we arrived at the final of the five villages, Riomaggiore, we were ravenous so headed straight to a shady cliffside restaurant where we descended on a huge Italian feast washed down with a few glasses of very well-deserved rose. After lunch we wandered down to the harbour where we spied a man renting out speedboats which seemed a pretty perfect way to round off the afternoon. So, before you could say 'anchors away' we were puttering out of the harbour on a little dinghy heading for a quiet cove along the coast where we bobbed for a couple of hours of swimming and sunsoaking.

On our final day, we woke up to grey skies so decided to scrap the beach day we'd planned and instead hopped in the Fiat 500 and whizzed up the motorway to Portofino for a day of wandering, people watching and deciding which of the mega yachts we'll buy when we make our millions.

When cocktail o'clock rolled around we strolled up the hill to the Hotel Splendido for a few rounds of bellinis and negronis with the most beautiful backdrop.

And then, it was time to pack up our cases, bid a tearful goodbye to gorgeous Framura and head back to Pisa to fly home. But, even as I dragged my case to the car, I was sure that I'd be back before long, so today, on this dull Monday, perhaps it's time to hop over to Skyscanner and take a look at flights to Pisa next summer...

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