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Published: September 25th 2014
September 24 - Cinque Terre - Manarola
We left our hotel in Florence at 9:00 am sharp with our driver to Cinque Terre. The drive was very interesting, we passed by many marble and granite quarry's. We saw many raw blocks of granite and marble ready to be processed and shipped out. We also drove through the city of La Spezia. A beautiful seaport town with large cruise boats, ocean going transport vessels, and one of the home ports of the Italian navy. We then began the climb up the mountain to the sea. We made a number switchbacks and finally entered a large tunnel which emptied us out to the Mediterranean Sea. We then started our trek to our village, Manarola. Manarola is the second village of the five along the national park of Cinque Terre. You have several options for traveling to the villages. The first option is buy a ferry ticket, each of the city's have ferry service every two hours, you can see the villages that way. The second way is by train. There is a train station in each village and you can take the train between each village ( about 10 to
20 minutes between cities). The train travels through tunnels next to the sea. The third options is a series of trails, very steep and rocky between the villages.
We arrived around 11:00 and checked into our villa, two rooms, one entrance, two bathrooms,and roof top terrace to look down at the city and catch the sunset. I think one the best places we stayed, very casual and homey. We of coursed got our map, checked out our city Manarola and then Dan plotted our course to the city to the south Riomaggioe. The main trail (easy) was closed due to rockslides. Normally the walk would take you 10 minutes. But 531c trail was open! Straight up the mountain separated the two cities. You go from 100' above sea level to 780' straight a rocky trail. Once at the top, you have a little rest stop and wonderful view of the coast. Of course you head down the other side to Riomaggiore. Straight downhill, but the trail is a little wider and more like two goat width size, instead of the single goat width.
Riomaggiore is beautiful with a cinder block church in the center
and then everything headed to the ocean. We stopped for shopping and rest, reloaded our water and began the trek back to Manarola. Going up was tough and we took a number of breaks. It also helped us clarify our decision for Thursday to take the ferry to the four three other cities, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Monterosso.
We arrived back in Manarola around 5:00 pm and headed to the water. The swimming area is down at the entrance to the town from the sea. Very cool, we changed into our swim suits and all went for a swim. Water was great, very clean and very salty. A perfect way to finish our climb.
We then headed into town for our shopping trip. We decided to grocery shop tonight and pick up our meal, so we set up on our roof top and relax. Our menu consisted of the following:
Two beers for Dan
2 large bottles of water for Doug
1 bottle of Cinque Terre wine for Sherry and Jane
Two small loaves of bread
Two kinds of cheese
Tub of fresh strawberries
Tub of fresh pesto
We headed up to rooftop and completed our Cinque Terre happy hour spread! See picture
We then proceeded to feast and filled our bellies. Great supper and great sunset, we allied grabbed blankets and watched a beautiful sunset! Great day and the most relaxed place we have been.
We sleep in Thursday and begin our quest to see the cities if Cinque Terre.
Doug & Sherry and Dan & Jane
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