"Wish You Were Here II"

Trip Start Apr 18, 2007
Trip End Jun 29, 2007

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Flag of Italy  ,
Tuesday, June 5, 2007

An overcast day - not the stuff for postcard photographs but perfect for walking. We bought our two-day pass that gives us access to the walking trails of the Cinque Terre National Park and unlimited rides on the trains connecting and the 'environmentally friendly' buses within the villages.

The first stage between Riomaggiore and Manarola is also called 'Via dell'Amore' - The Lovers Walk - and is an easy 20 minutes/1 kilometre on a wide paved footpath (with many seats along the way.) It was heavily populated with older Europeans - German, Swiss, Austrian - ambling in groups. The second stage - Manarola to Corniglia - degenerated to goat track with loose rocks requiring careful watching by those guarding their ankles. The gradient also increased and the walkers were reduced to a mix of young backpackers and the serious (and usually older) Europeans. The latter came with correct footwear and clothing and one or two walking poles used as if Nordic skiing. Corniglia served as our lunch stop while we studied the map. Stage 3 to Vernazza was a 4km track with a serious uphill climb over the crest of the ridge, so we took to the rails instead.

Vernazza was the most vibrant of the four towns today with the most gelaterias, cafes and souvenir shops thus far. It also had a small beach inside the breakwater and the sun peeked out long enough to entice swimmers into the water and sunbakers on to the rocks. We parked ourselves here for quite a while, enjoying a good coffee and much photographing of the scenery and the local life before catching the train home to Riomaggiore.

We found the local take-away hidden a few doors down from the laundromat, utilised both and then took dinner up to our private roof terrace. The church bells chimed, the waves lapped below and the sun went down over the horizon. Could have been just a few degrees warmer, but otherwise - it doesn't get much better than this.

Top tip, Sandy M!!
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