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Published: November 2nd 2009
Day 11-12 Sanremo to Riomaggiore
We efficiently zipped around Sanremo on Saturday morning, seeing the sights, and liking the town better in daylight. It was overcast, so we didn’t get in any beach time, and took the noon train back down the coast to Riomaggiore, one of the Cinque Terre towns. It was a five hour trip, but the scenery was just as great the second time…we got into Riomaggiore at dusk and found an apartment with a kitchen to rent for two days… We ate dinner in the small cove as it grew dark and the trick or treaters made their rounds…yes, Halloween has come to even this small Italian town!
We explored the tiny alleys and pathways here after dark, getting lost a few times, but found our building without ending up in someone’s private home (this almost happened at one dead-end!) We bought eggs and cereal to make a real breakfast before tackling the 12 kilometers of the Cinque Terre trail the next day. (It is hard to understand how the Italians function on coffee and sugar for breakfast…)
On Sunday, we headed out around 9:30, going through the pedestrian tunnel under the small
mountain that separates the main part of town from the railway station and the park office. After buying our one day park passes, we set out. The day was cool and sunny…and the air clear…the water here is a deep blue green…darker than the Caribbean turquoise.
The first part of the trail is paved and mostly flat..there is elevator service at both ends so babes in strollers and disabled people can access these beautiful vistas. Once we left the town of Manarola, the trail was rougher: paved with rocks, and often uneven. The entire trail is 12 kilometers, with much up and down. Sometimes the steps were as steep as ladders! At times the trail right on the edge of the cliffs; at others it is further inland. Near the last village, Monterosa, it was very narrow….It takes about 5 hours of walking non-stop. We did it in 6.5, with three stops (two to eat, one to play in the water). About half of the hikers were over 40. It got warmer as the day went on…and it was just wonderful hiking in the sun along the Mediterranean, with vineyards and citrus and olive orchards all around us,
Sunday night, I cooked fettuccini with freshly grated parmesan, bought across the street, and pesto, and semi-homemade tomato sauce… and we watched CNN for the first time on this trip…
Off to Lucca on Monday.
Day 13 Riomaggiore to Lucca
We had to take three different trains to get here...it is a short distance, but complicated from Cinque Terre. We woke up to rain this am, as predicted. I walked down by the sea early...no one was around. After another home-cooked breakfast we left for Lucca, passing many marble quarries and some salt marshes.
Once here, we found that our hotel luck has held (we figure it is because we paid our dues to the hotel gods on that awful trip when we got stuck in LA with no hotel rooms within 30 miles...). There was a huge comics and gaming convention here over the weekend, which we missed by one day. We saw kids leaving with their costumes, and the huge tents are still up in all the squares...
Lucca is totally surrounded by 12 meter walls built in 1500-1600, that now have trees planted on them along bike and walking paths. If you
Russian Church Sanremo
The wife of a czar lived here for awhile and had this exquisite church built for herself.
watch "House Hunters International", the town was once featured on the show and they filmed the bike trail on the wall. We found a room in a 600 year old palace that was converted to a hotel in the mid 1800s. We walked around a bit in the rain...there are two beautiful churches and the remains of a Roman stadium...the town was first settled in 600 BC. We will stay here two nights and probably head for Sienna next.
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So glad you went there! Outstanding memories for all of us who were fortunate to walk the trails. Going up to the Lake District?