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Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui

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Corniglia, 19018

Flower festival in Corniglia

Dear ——–,

Corniglia was probably the hardest of the Cinque Terre towns to get to. Some of the trains didn’t stop there and you either have to walk up 400 steps or take a stuffy shuttle bus to get from the train station to the center of town. But once you get there, it’s a charming little town. Someone there even had a sense of humor — he or she wrote the word “aeroporto” in chalk with an arrow pointing toward a small look-out point. The narrow stone streets were festooned with flags and, on the day we visited, older women were scattering flowers on the ground. We had apparently stumbled across the flower festival of Corpus Christi. When we returned to Monterosso later, there were elaborate pictures made out of flowers and seeds on the walkways near the main church. It made me wonder whether this is where the idea for Pasadena’s Rose Parade came from.

Flower art on a stone street in Monterosso al Mare


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Monterosso al Mare, 19016


View of old town part of Monterosso al Mare from our agriturismo

Dear ——–,

Monterosso had herds more American college students in mesh running shorts than I’d expected, so it was nice to have our own little slice of quiet at Agriturismo Buranco. The agriturismo was a short walk up a steep, slippery road from the old part of town, but we were soon surrounded by grapevines, olive trees and fuschia flowers. The foccacia they served at breakfast was a revelation — pillowy soft, infused with just the right amount of olive oil. It made the dry stuff we get in the U.S. seem stale and tasteless. We also ate as much pesto as we could since one of the Liguria’s other food contributions to world cuisine is basil pesto. We weren’t ever disappointed. Even though it was raining on our second day there, Meri, our host at Buranco, walked up a tray with snacks and two glasses of their tasty — almost chardonnay-like — white wine. We put Stella to bed and then savored the wine the farm’s covered porch.