Day 5: Cinque Terre

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March 12th 2018
Published: March 12th 2018
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Ok, by far, today was my favourite day and it felt like one of my travel days. We went to Cinque Terre and boy did we walk - so it felt much more like one of my normal trips.

We had pretty crap weather again today. Pouring rain first thing in the morning - it was supposed to clear up around 9am... eh, it sort of did. So, we drove out to La Spezia to catch the train into the towns (since cars aren't really allowed, and def not giant motor coaches). The trains were an adventure lol. First off we got to the first station like 15min before the train was coming and our guide had to go buy the tickets. I'm still surprised we actually made it - we literally were running down the subway and up the stairs to make it on the train (and make sure we had everyone..!!) Let me tell you, trying to get 44 people onto a train - in one car - all together - is a nightmare. At our second stop they were ringing the bells to close the doors and were yelling at us because two of us teachers were literally standing against the doors to make sure they wouldn't close as we tried to all get in. It was crazy.

Then I had one of my clumsy moments on the first train ride too. One of the kids super had to pee - but we weren't sure how long it was until our stop - so I'm like omg ok go but hurry. She then walked right past it and was going into the next car so I jump up and 'power walked' after her - but I didn't want to scream her name through a train - so I'm like trying to get her attention just as she's leaving the car - but I was going a bit too fast considering my shoes were wet, and my walk turned into a run and WHAM did I fly hahaha. I hit the ground/one of the doors like a bag of potatoes. I did succeed in stopping her because she froze and looked to see what the loud crash was. I'm then on the ground just laughing and all the Italians are laughing at me and I was so glad that wasn't in the car with all our kids hahahaha. (PS my entire right calf is bruised I landed so hard. Thankfully it was just a bruise lol)

ANYWAY. Enough train stuff. First town was Monterosso al Mare. The plan had been to go do a 2hr hike along the coast to the next town, but because of the early morning rain the trail wasn't technically closed... but they weren't selling/collecting tickets. Basically it was 'you're on your own if you decide to risk it'. We opted not to risk it for obvious reasons. I was bummed though. But it ended up being a really good thing because it gave us way more free time in the individual towns which meant I got to do my own hikes 😊

There's nothing in Monterosso. Well, maybe in high season when things are actually open but literally nothing was open. We basically stayed long enough to find a toilet, order a coffee/tea, take a few pictures and that's it. Then it was off to Vernazza. It was raining, but not nearly as hard now, so I mean, small victories lol. For most of the trip I've been staying with the other teachers, but now I was free to be in my element and just go. So I did. Everyone else went to grab lunch and I pretty much bolted for the coast. (One of the other teachers and a handful of kids did too - but they went towards the church side - I went the other way by accident lol). It started to rain again and hard, so I as a little on the fence... but thankfully by the time I actually found the trail (in the maze of stairs and houses and laneways), it was starting to clear up again.

When I did finally find where I wanted to go - ugh it was so beautiful. It's a mixture of the colours of the houses, how narrow the buildings are, the water, the elevations and the rustic vibe. Just amazing. I was so happy - since it was the trail, everyone was saying hello and I got to chatting with a few other Canadians, some Americans and a Dutch family. I basically went as far along the trail as I could in the time we had and that was that. I just had enough time to grab a slice of pizza (mmm) back in town before we headed on out. I still can't believe it was only like 6 of us that bothered to do the viewpoints... guysssss when else will you be here?? I was showing them the pictures and they were like ok yeah, we're doing a climb at the next stop.

Next we went to Manarola. I made a beeline to the waterfront first. They hadn't roped it off yet, but we were quite far back just because the waves were insanely huge as they came crashing in. We only were able to stay for about 5min before they did rope it off further because the waves were just too big. I then up the side of the hill for magnificent views down into town... when once again it started to rain lol. It's very temperamental weather here... but nice thing with that is that the cloud cover made for some nice backgrounds.

I followed the trail around the cliffside - unfortunately it didn't go very far because they had it physically blocked and closed due to the weather (or time of year?). There was a small boat landing though, so I decided to walk down there... not realllllly a path, but it wasn't closed, so I went. Ugh, watching and listening to the waves there was just amazing. I was sure to stay back because the waves were really flying in. When it started to really rain (again!) the waves got to be a little bit too much height wise, so I retreated back to the main path and back to town.

Last stop was Riomaggiore. Nothing was open in town which was disappointing. Literally like 2 restaurants and 2 little souvenir shops and that's it. I get it's not high season but holy, it's quiet other than the random other tour groups here and there. Anyway, myself and the other hiking teacher went on our way, first to the right. There was a decent view not far up, but then the trail kind of ended or there were stairs that went up into houses. I think he tried the stairs, but I saw a bunch if my kids in a playground (lol) so I went to say hi and chat with them a bit/give them directions from the way I came.

I then headed back to tackle the left side. Omg the stairs. I'm looking at it debating if I have the energy... I decided to walk around the church area first and words cannot describe how happy I was to accidentally find AN ELEVATOR!!!!!! like... talk about luxury here. And it was even free! I took that up to the top of the hill. Of course there was the usual pristine view of the village and water. There was a castle/fortress thing, but it was under renovation. As I wanted back down I was a jerk lol and asked people if they knew about the elevator. Kids thought I was kidding. Nooooope. Sorry dudes. See, Mme always finds the tricks 😉

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