Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quattro Terre

Arrived yesterday in the Cinque Terre - Manarola to be precise, one of the 5 towns strung out along the coast here. Ended up going out to dinner last night with 2 kiwis from my room... not that I come all this way to hang out with kiwis, but they were good value, from Nelson, in their 40s... we managed to get an Italian guy to buy us a bottle of wine too, score!

Anyway, today I hiked the trail, which for most of the way goes right along the coast. It's absolutely gorgeous, not sure if that will come through in the photos, since most of the time you're literally on the side of a cliff with just the ocean in front of you - from time to time, obviously, you get to one of the 5 towns which are perched on the hillsides and all done out in pastel colours which are probably mandated by the town council or something...

I was up early and went on the Via dell Amore (Lover's Way) to the next town, Riomaggiore, which is the first on the left so to speak. This is the easiest track - 1 km, 20 minutes, all flat and paved. A good start to the day. I had breakfast there and then walked back to Manarola, picked up my togs, and set off on the serious hikes. The next trail, to Corniglia, was steeper - still only a km, but the estimated time was 1 hr 10 to do it, think I took about an hour. The pinnacle was the 368 (?) steps to get up to Corniglia itself, which zigzag up the hillside. Sweaty and berry after that I tell ya! Then it was on to Vernazza, 4 km away and an estimated 1h30 - knocked it off in about 1h15 I think, what a legend! This was also pretty steep and quite a slog since it was getting towards lunchtime and it was sunny and hottish, although not too bad.

I had planned to take the train to the last town, Monterosso, cos I couldn't face the 2 hr hike that everyone says is the most difficult, but I found the beach at Vernazza and just stayed put for the rest of the afternoon - even had a bit of a swim! Had dinner there and then caught the train back to Manarola. Great day - who woulda thought Gwan would enjoy hiking and beach so much?

Tomorrow I think I'll take the boat to Monterosso, lie on the beach there for a while and then tackle that 2 hour hike down to Vernazza...

PS Happy birthday Mum! xx

1 comment:

  1. Thanks love!
    What a lovely day - hope the next is just as nice.
    M xxxx


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