Hiking Cinque Terre

Trip Start Feb 15, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Italy  ,
Saturday, May 20, 2006

We decided to take advantage of the fact that the Italian border is less than 2 hours away to finally visit a place we had heard all kinds of great things about: Cinque Terre!

So we packed the tent etc. and off we were. The trip didn't start too well with the car overheating on the way up to the mountain pass. We didn't really know what it was but we decided that we wouldn't let the banana slinger spoil our vacation and go anyway. And it was a good decision snce as long as we were driving fast enough, the car wasn't overheating. So we tested the Italian freeways and got up to 210 km/h. Fun! It's a pretty drive but the last part through Ventimiglia and its 100 dark tunnels wears you out.

We arrived in Levanto, a little town just east of the five villages forming Cinque Terre and found a cool campground. That evening we had dinner in Levanto, which is actually not really part of the whole tourist buzz around Cinque Terre, but it's a really cute place.
We first had a campari and olives on a terrasse over the beach, watching the sunset. Pretty cool. This was followed by cheap but good pizza. We are camping after all.

Next day we set off with our backpacks and hiking shoes to climb the hills along the coast. It's pretty steep along there! And the sun was warm. But it was so beautiful to have the turquoise Mediterranean on one side and the vineyards with charming houses on the other. We stopped at an old guys' place and had a homemade lemonade. These lemons were so sweet that we didn't even need sugar! But then I went ot the toilets and after I saw what this guy called his bathroom with a shaving kit that was from another era and no soap or running water but a bucket full of gray water, I was a bit more skeptical about the hands that had just skeezed those lemons. But we survived. Then we arrived in Monterosso. It's a cute plac with a beach, so we sat there for a while and had our panini. Then we continued to Vernazza, which I think is the cutest of these town, all curled around a big rock with a little bay. We walked around and enjoyed another sunset. Then we took the train back to Levanto and had dinner there. We went back to the restaurant where we got kicked out the first night. apparently they liked us this time. That night we tried to take crazy night pictures, but we're not so good at that stuff, sorry.

On the third day we took the train to the western end of Cinque Terre and started walking back. the first town is Riomaggiore which is pretty big. We enjoyed some coffe overlooking the ocean ad then set off to Manarola. This first part is a paved pretty flat path and it's full of tourist grops following some kind of hat or umbrella being waved around by a loudmouth guide. We felt like running awa from them but it's just too narrow. But the views are still beautiful and we finally arrived in Manarola. Frm there we continued to Vernazza and stopped in a little creek and went for a swim. The water was incredibly clear, just like in Thailand, and we could see little fishes everywhere. There was a cool Aussie guy and we talked for a while. Unfortunaely he didn't have the great idea of loaning us his mask and snorkel. too bad...
Then we arrived in Vernazza which was still as cute. We took a boat back to Levanto this time. Seth was so eager to get us a spot on the roof close to the edge that he almost ran over a few old ladies. Seth! The boat ride is definitely worth it with beautiful views.

The next day we just hang around, packed our stuff, bought some wine and olives and started on the way home. The banana slinger was still as fast and overheated again in the mountains. We later found out that the fuze for the fan had blown and that the car was only fine when there was enough wind to cool it down, so speeding was a good thing to do.
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