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Published: October 13th 2013
Cinque Terre on the western coast of Italy 8 & 9 October 2013
Cinque Terre is a stretch of coast line on the northern section of the western coast of Italy. It is known for its stunning scenery of the Mediterranean coastline against the cliffs and ancient farmland of 5 villages which provide a lovely experience when wandering around the little streets. There are no cars in the villages and the only way to get to most of the villages is by train or walking up steep steps over headlands. The 2 days we spent walking and training up and down this stretch of coast line was magnificent weather.
On the 1st
day we spent all afternoon, until 8.00pm exploring Riomaggiore, the furtherest town (caught a train to this village) then caught a train back to Monterosso (the 1st village) unintentially as the trains were late and the one we caught was an earlier express train that was running late and therefore didn't stop at the village we were planning to stop at. This didn't matter as we decided to walk to the 2nd village, Vernazza, which was the hardest walk apparently, 3 kms long.
It took 1 hr 20min and initially it was very steep-going. The scenery was SPECTACULAR. We made sure we stopped frequently.
On this path, a local villager was selling a "freshly squeezed lemonchello" which he marketed very strongly. We decided to have one each. It was the sweetest drink I have tasted in years. It also had an incredibly strong alcohol kick and the lemon taste was somewhere in the background. Oh well, we thought, Tom at least wouldn't have a hypo!!!
After the walk, we decided to have a cold beer in Vernazza after looking around the village. This lead to having dinner there and watching the sunset – beautiful! We had to wait for the train so it all worked well.
While there, we learned of the destruction of a flash floor that happened in October 2011. Apparently, after several days of steady rain and with saturated soil, this one particular day they had 20 inches of rain. This caused the devastation. The little cove we saw, was almost completely covered in with mud.
During the same storm, one of the other coastal tracks was also washed away and is
still out of action.
After dinner, we caught a train back to Monterosso. While waiting for the train back to our camp site at Deiva Marina, which took about 20 minutes, we stopped at a bar on the beach to see the remainder of the sunset, had a local bubbly and tapas (if we were still in Spain it would have been called that!!), before jumping on our train.
The weather was absolutely beautiful with blue sky and a few fluffy clouds. We were over dressed so tomorrow we made a mental note to be in shorter slacks.
The next day we caught the train to Manarola (number 4 village) and looked around yet another village which had character.
We then hopped back on the train to travel back to Corniglia. There was a massive flood in October 2011 and the coastal track between village number 3 & 5 (Corniglia and Riomaggiore) has been closed since then so we couldn't walk them.
It was lunch time by the time we arrived in Corniglia so we stopped at a restaurant and had minestrone soup with spaghetti (of course
– we are in Italy!!). There was a major black cloud coming over the mountains and by the time we had finished lunch, it was spitting with rain. We wanted to walk the 4km track back to Vernazza (number 2 village), so not to be beaten by the rain, we bought a couple of umbrellas and started to walk. It started to rain even heavier, so we used this as an excuse to visit a bar for a drink – coffee!.
After that, the rain eased to a sprinkle so off we set. We were told that this 4 km path would take a shorter time as it is easier track than yesterday’s walk. They were right. We still had a lot of stone steps to climb and then down the other side but other than it being a little slippery because of the rain, the incline and declines were not as great.
The views were just as spectacular. We stopped many times to take it all in. The 4 kms took us just over 1 hour. The view we took in towards Vernezza, before our final descent, was beautiful. A young couple took
our photo with the village in the background.
Satisfied we had seen all that we could had, and knowing that one can only eat and drink so much at the lovely restaurants, we hopped on our final train and made our way back to our camp site. We picked up the motor home and headed for Pisa. What beautiful memories (and photos) we will have of Cinque Terre.
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