I really wanted to do the Cinque Terre hike though, so I popped a couple of Advil and decided to tough it out and JUST DO IT! I took the train from Monterosso to Riomaggiore to start from that end. It’s a super short train ride (like, 5 minutes) and was SO packed with people. Yes, Cinque Terre is very popular with the tourists.
The first part of the hike is called Via Dell’Amore, which means “Pathway of Love.” This trail has only been open since the 1920’s. Before that the towns of Cinque Terre (despite being geographically close) were fairly isolated from each other.
The trail changed everything. It was routinely closed due to frequent landslides but after World War 2 it was re-opened and became an impromptu meeting place for young men and women and thus became the lovers lane that it is now. It’s the easiest leg of the trail, and is extremely busy with tourist of all shapes, sizes and ages.
|This scene reminded me of the old B&W movie Rebbecca…|
There is graffiti everywhere with love hearts with names in them along with the (now familiar) love locks. There weren’t too many, but apparently they’re routinely cut off. This part of the trail only takes about 20 minutes and takes you straight into Manarola.
|The love locks.|
|The flora and fauna is interesting… cactus!|
|I’m not 100 % sure what this was all about, but I liked it!|
|View from the trail heading towards Manarola.|
You know I have a fondness for birds. Even the ones most people think are annoying and gross. The pigeons in this country are breaking my heart. I see so many that are injured, missing toes, limping, can’t fly and are obviously close to death. What can you do? No one cares about the pigeon! The seagulls seem to be doing OK though…
I was starving so I stopped and had lunch in Manarola. It’s just a lovely little seaside village with shops, restaurants and the most colorful little houses I’ve ever seen. It reminded me a little of the shanty town in the movie Popeye starring Robin Williams that no one seems to have ever heard of whenever I talk about it…
I had a focaccia sandwich with gooey cheese and prosciutto. I fear that I’ll never be able to eat North American focaccia bread again. It is SO good here it’s insane! Also a regional specialty!
From Manarola the trail is closed until Vernazza due to a rock slide, so I got on the train and got off at Vernazza.There is a detour, but I just talked to a couple who did it and they said it was brutal and straight uphill, so I’m glad I decided against it in the state I’m in.
I was going to stop in the middle town of Corniglia but the train was so packed and I felt like crap so just figured I’d give it a miss. Looking back now I kind of wish I HAD stopped there. A girl I met from Ireland said it was a really sweet town, and her favorite of the 5! Oh well, I guess I’ll see it the next time I come, right?
The village of Vernazza is adorable. It’s one of the bigger villages, and has a nice waterfront area to sit and have lunch or watch the people fishing. This is where I made my gelato stop… pistachio again, I can’t get enough of it!
The walk from Vernazza to Monterosso is the most challenging from what I understand. I’ve been walking so much, and gone up so many stairs I should be in pretty decent shape right now, but combine the cold and being overheated it was kind of killer. The views were spectacular though. You really need to get away from the towns to get a good perspective of what they really look like. So much colour, charm and beauty! And what cold make this area even better? It’s such an incredible growing region, so the local ingredients make for fabulous food and wine. Oh how I love Italy.
|Heading back to my Terre.|
|Looking back at Vernazza.|
|Looking towards Monterosso from the trail.|
|More unloved cats. Sheesh people, just spay and neuter your $#^%&* pets!|
|Looking back toward Manarola.|
I met an Irish girl where I’m staying (same one who told me how much she loved Corniglia)and we went and grabbed some dinner (oh and drinks, of course!)
We both wanted the same thing so we shared the salted anchovies (how many times can I eat anchovies, I know!) and the linguine with pesto. It was pretty scrumptious. It had green beans and potato mixed in as well, so simple, and so delicious, not to mention regional… we are in pesto country here!
It was so wonderful having someone to go to a restaurant with and say “table for two please!” I’ve gotten used to dining alone, but its so much nicer to eat with somebody else!