Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cinque Terre, Hong Kong in Liguria

This is, of course, ridiculous -- Hong Kong in Liguria!  My brother-in-law Elliot Weinbaum, who had his sights (thank goodness) set on going to Cinque Terre laughed out loud when I said that the Cinque Terre reminded me of Hong Kong.  But it is true, in a very, very limited way:  every single piece of land on these steep, steep, rocky cliffs is used, and houses are built one atop another, clustered on the tiny peninsula's that jut out into the sea in a way that reminded me of Hong Kong island, where the full width of developable land on which those hundreds of skyscrapers have been built is no more than a few hundred yards.  

The inhabitants of Cinque Terre, who had difficult access even to the water which they looked over, seem perched on the edge of the country, having fled (back in the 13th century) from other more dangerous places.  Like Hong Kong, it seems to make no sense to build here.  And yet the end result are towns of ridiculous quaintness, and wines of great quality coming from grapes grown at 45 degree slopes (with a contraption which snakes its way up the hillside to transport the ripe grapes), and an eight-hundred-year-old walking path that takes your breath away -- because of the beauty of the scenery -- while taking your breath away -- because of the steepness of the path.  I am convinced there were more uphills than down hills.

A bride-to-be, checks her cell phone before preparing for her pre-wedding photo shoot overlooking Manarola.

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