The Cinque Terre is part of the Italian Riviera in the Liguria region of Italy. The entire area is a national park, and we took the train to where we were staying, Monterosso Al Mare. After checking into the hotel, we dropped our laundry off – hurray! There was a lemon fest happening that day, so I went in search of lemonade. We found some tasty lemon cake and limoncello instead.
I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to see the Mediterranean Sea. The calm and peace that I felt from the water and the sounds of the sea were so comforting. We went down to cafe Belvedere for a group supper and had the most amazing seafood antipasto medley. The anchovies were amazing. The rest of our supper was pasta with Pesto, as Pesto is from this region, a lemon sorbet dessert and espresso. The restaurant was just off the beach, and we got to enjoy seeing a vivid sunset over dinner.
There was nothing planned as a group this day… our vacation from our vacation. I wanted to explore the 5 villages but was good with doing whatever dad wanted to see together. Dad liked the idea of just having some down time. I asked him if he was okay with us splitting up for the day, and he said that was fine.
Several adventurous people from the tour group were going to hike from Monterosso to Vernazza at 10 am, but I missed that hike since I went to mass. I thought I might do the hike anyway and found out the normal path was closed. The alternate hiking route was a 2-1/2 hour walk to Vernazza. There were warning signs about no water, bathrooms, et cetera. Hmmm, I could take a long walk or the train? Choo-choo time.
The Cinque Terre is known for the lack of commercialization as no cars can reach it. However, many tourists flock here to enjoy village Italy, the beach and its colorful scenery. I forgot these are all hill towns. With stairs. Lots of stairs. No wonder everyone is fit and trim.
Rick mentions one of the easiest hiking trips is the Via dell’Amore (Pathway of Love) from Riomaggiore to Manarola. I was determined to do a hike, but it too was closed and washed out. I met a guy from Florida who said the hiking trail from Corniglia to Vernazza was amazing.
Since I couldn’t walk to Manarola, I was going to hop back on the train to see it.
This place was a zoo at 1 pm. There were so many teens and college kids that it felt like spring break. There was quite a variety of smells and vendors with fried fish. I stopped to see the kids jumping off rocks. It looked like it would be fun.
I was looking forward to seeing this village in person. I had seen photographs of this place and wanted to be here to experience it. I started hiking up, but I took a wrong turn and I found myself in the vineyards above the town. I then came across this scene (the photo to the right), and it was a “pinch me” moment. I couldn’t believe I was here. I wanted to come back at sunset and photograph the village again.
The village with a ruined castle was said to be the jewel of the Cinque Terre. So I went there next but thought it would be bigger. I made my way to the harbor, enjoying the tourist stores and smells from the vendors. I thought it was past time to eat and enjoyed a piece of bacon focaccia bread. It’s quite common here. Time to storm the castle.
Trying to find the way up to the tower castle was interesting. Oh the stairs. I love stairs, I love stairs… I’m still trying to convince myself.
I took a break after climbing up to the castle and wrote some postcards and was texting my girlfriend back home. I cannot say how much I missed her. Sigh. Onto the last village.
I missed the part about the 385 steps to get up to the village. Gelato was my reward after this hike. There wasn’t much to this village, but I did like the view from the back.
The switchback stairs up to Corniglia
I was way early for the sunset in Manarola. I met a pro shooter there from Roma and we chatted for a while. I trained back and got some more Gelato. Kinda like home, my Dad waiting for me outside the hotel. We traded stories, and I showed him my photos from the day.
I do feel better after a good walk.
I did a double take on that number.
Some days I need a little help