Today we were off on the bus at 7:30AM to go to Cinque Terre. We took a bus to the port of La Spezia and got on a boat. The boat took us along the coast in choppy water, to the 5 villages of Cinque Terre which are perched on the sides of mountains. Until recently they were relatively isolated and the only way to get to them was to walk or take a boat there. Now, of course, they have train service. These villages are made up of very skinny, tall buildings and narrow windy streets. They are painted in pastel colours and all have shutters. Our boat dropped off and picked up people at each small village while the surf crashed onto the rocks along the shore. It was amazing how the crew tied up the boat just the right distance from the rocks and the small concrete dock. People got on and off the bow of the boat via a metal gangway that swung and swayed as the boat was lurching back and forth in the action of the waves. Neil and I had positioned ourselves on a bench at the bow of the boat and watched with fascination as people went on and off the boat. No announcements about life jackets or what to do in case of emergency! Just lots of people on and off at each stop. We finally got off at the last and largest village, Monterosso. We ate a lovely lunch there and looked around the town. During our stay there, it started to pour buckets! The water was pouring down the streets in rivers. (sound familiar?) But this time we had our umbrellas! From Monterosso we went by train back to La Spezia and back to Montecatini on the bus. We had 20 minutes to change once we got back to the hotel because we were going for dinner at a local house. The dinner was delicious and wine was dry and went down easy. They don't put preservatives in the wine here and I find that I can drink a few glasses and not get woozy at all or drunk. The tour guide has been wonderful and gave me replacement batteries for my camera because the 4 batteries that I had brought were dead. The people that we have met have been really friendly. Heidi, our guide took all our email addresses today and is going to give the list to all of us before the tour ends.