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Published: August 30th 2011
I think I am starting to think more like an Italian. I can't remember which town was which in the photos I took tonight, and I'm fairly unconcerned about it. (Sorry all you friends who may be planning a trip and would like to know!)
We had a really funny train ride to Riomaggiore - completely in the dark, as the lights weren't working in our carriage and the train trip through the five towns is mainly tunnels. It could have been quite freaky I suppose, but it didn't worry us. (See what I mean about the Italian influence?!)
I love the fact that the long evenings allow us all this 'stolen time' to have almost another day's worth of fun. We didn't even set off until after 7pm, but it was hot and sunny. When we got off the train at Riomaggiore we wound our way down to the town and straight up to the path which led to Manarola. Here was where I did freak out a little. I am not funny about heights usually, but the path was narrow and it was a long, long way down. The flimsy wooden hand rails didn't cut it at
all, and I spent heaps of time making sure the children walked on my right - away from the edge!
We had heard all about the padlocks on the Via Dell'Amore, where young girls and boys pledge eternal love to each other by attaching a padlock to the gate, and throwing the keys into the sea. We did see quite a few combination locks though, which suggests to me that some couples are still hedging their bets! This walk was very easy (My nana wouldn't have had any trouble), so we walked even further along once we got the Manarola, past wonderful terraced grape vines, until a landslide turned us back. The landslide has closed the trail to Corniglia indefinitely. The views were spectacular, and Isabel was impressed by the young locals jumping off what I christened "Death Rock" - a huge rock in Manarola Harbour which has a rope going up the side (Think the start of the Ayres' Rock walk) so that people can clamber up to the very top, then jump off into the sea - with a big audience watching from the walls of the harbour. It's the Cinque Terre alternative to Bungee Jumping.
A fair bit of nagging went on, as Isabel thought she might like a try, but that will have to wait for her next trip when I won't have to watch. Yes, my minute of thinking like an Italian was over!
The sunset was truly gorgeous, and we had some funny moments as Hugo serenaded us home along the trail. We were well and truly ready for dinner by the time we got back to Monterosso at 10 or 11pm, and it was delightful sitting at one of the outdoor cafes on the promenade, looking over the beach and watching the people go by. I think we'll sleep well tonight.
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