Cinque Terre, Italy
Up early to met the girls for brekky at 7.30 to prep for our coastal trail walk.
The trails run between the 5 villages, and are both gruelling and spectacular, but due to land slips and maintenance only the first two legs between Monterosso and Vernazza, and then on to Corniglia were open, which was disappointing.
The first leg to Vernazza is regarded as the most challenging, and didn’t disappoint, with many steep climbs and descents amongst the amazing views thru cliff clinging vines and olive groves.
We started at 8.30 to avoid the harsh midday sun, but were still bathed in sweat within minutes of leaving as we battled away up hill and over dale.
The first sighting of Vernazza was striking, the village climbing up from the ocean up the valley into the hills behind, a kaleidoscope of colours. It’s a most beautiful little village.
We finally reached the village at about 10.15 stopping for about 45 minutes looking around the shops and the waterfront area, the girls fascinated by the Italian stallions on display.
Then it was off to Corniglia, the only one of the five villages not by the water, which meant going UP!
Hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds) of steps later with the loss of about 2 litres of sweat we reached Corniglia, fairly drowning!!
Man, it was HOT.
By now it was lunch time and we were starving, and in my case, stinking!!!
I had worn a gym top, and it was putrid.
No loving from the girls at all, and quite frankly I was struggling myself……so off to get a new tee, and bit of a de-skank, and all good again.
As we had run out of trails we headed down to the train to check out the last two towns, Manarola and Riamaggiore.
Both were lovely, typical of the area with small lanes heading towards the sea, lined by shops and restaurants with three or four floors of apartments above.
One small initiative set up between the five villages was to collect a small round pendant at each village, designed by a local artist, which had that villages name set around it.
Called ‘step by step’ it commemorated your visit, you get a stamp on a passport as you buy each pendant, in either bronze or silver, which are added to a necklace as you move along , and together look pretty cool.
The poor girls must have been sick of me dragging them around each village looking for the jewellers that sold each piece. Luckily they were pretty easy to find!
A groovy memento to the Cinque Terra.
Pendants collected we headed down to the ferry for the trip back to Monterosso, to find the next one left in two hours, so by train it is.
Pity, ‘cos it would have been great to see from the sea, but the conditions have been pretty bad on the water and only a skeleton service has been operating for the last couple of days.
Back home we headed to the bar for a Spritz.
But not for me…..if you have noticed, the bonce has been getting out of control, and as my stylist is 13000 k’s away I headed to the local barber for a trim.
Mimmo, said barber, made his scissors sing, I acquired an Italian do, and I was off to join the ladies.
Spritz done, showers all round (separately!) and down to dinner and an early night…..or not.
Dinner was ok, but the waitress seemed unable to understand the concept of the wine order, and after repeated requests for ours to appear we gave up, had water with dinner and retired to the deck of our hotel.
Now, it was quite the balmy night so a refresher or two wouldn’t have seemed out of order…
As if by magic two bottles of red appeared, and two hours, and much yakking later we finally called it a day/night.
A long, very rewarding day exploring the Cinque Terra was over…..and out!