The weather was rainy today so instead of hiking (I was sore anyhow) I took a pesto making class. It was at this cliffside restaurant that I ate at the first night. There were 9 of us in the group today (sometimes they have up to 30) and we were all from the United States. Everyone was a lot of fun, so it was a good morning. The class was perfect and well worth the money. First, you picked basil leaves off your plant and put them in a bowl with ice on top.
Then, we ground up garlic with sea salt in a marble bowl (surprisingly not that much).
Next, we put the basil and pine nuts in and had to start mashing it very quickly. The owner of the restaurant was leading the class and he explained how pesto can go bad quickly by oxidizing if you don’t do it quickly enough. We were aiming for the perfect light green color.
We tried the pesto and it was a bit bitter, so it only needed one more thing…cheese! We used two parts Parmesan and one part Pecorino.
After adding the cheese, it got a little dry so we then added olive oil, ten seconds worth! The pesto was fantastic.
The guide let us taste his own batch which was made with a blender, admittedly not as good, but for the quantities he has to make he can’t make it by hand. They then brought us out wine, meat, cheese and bread. The helpings were generous and we sat there enjoying our food and chatting.
After 3 glasses of wine so early in the day, and with the weather still gloomy, I went back to read and ended up napping. Eventually the sun did come out so I decided to explore Riomaggiore. I now learned all hiking trails to there are closed right now, so I took the train. I found a cafe to sit in and tried to order and iced latte, but out came iced milk. I made it better by ordering a donut and I sat there and edited some videos.
The next day I was switching cities, heading to last and largest city of the five. I woke up early to hike again, the same route, but this time took the train part of the way there as well as back. I then grabbed my bag and hopped the train back to Monterosso. The hotel wasn’t as close this time, so I hauled my things on a 15 minute walk, which included some steep stairs! This hotel is much better than my other one thought because it has a beautiful balcony, garden and terrace. Finally some outdoor space I can use! I walked around this city, checking out the beach and the shops before sitting on my patio with a glass of Prosecco they gave me. After getting a lot of writing done, I grabbed my book and headed out for dinner. Today I simply enjoyed just being outside and relaxing. I also found a pharmacy and bought a face mask which added to my relaxation.