"Little Cloud"

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

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Flag of Italy  ,
Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A train today from one end of the Cinque Terre to the other - Monterosso - the largest and most commercialised of the five villages. It also boasts a beach although not a beach as we would consider it! The end with the smaller rocks and pebbles was roped off for the paying customers who were provided with deck chairs and umbrellas.

Not that it was beach weather! Overcast again and cool. We walked the streets, bought some lunch and watched the rain start. Little clouds grew bigger, more numerous and darker. We had intended to head back one town to Vanezza and travel up through the hills on the eco-bus to see the terraced vineyards and lemon groves.

Until the Italian trains failed us again...

Collision this time, an old Italian man gesticulated to us as the announcement reported a 45 minute delay. It was closer to an hour and a half when a train pulled in from the opposite direction. The announcement in Italian hinted that it could be reversing direction and the population on the opposite platform scattered across the rails. It did indeed return towards Riomaggiore, so we bypassed the bus trip in favour of an assured ride home.

Many (younger) travellers had run across the tracks which lie just a step below the platform - strictly forbidden off course - and rightly so... We have watched numerous express and freight trains on this line in the past two days and they do not slow even a whisker as they pass through stations that are merely breaks in a long series of tunnels through the hills.
And these five stations are always packed with tourists who are invariably shaken when an engine bursts out of a tunnel at 80km/hour, tooting at them! We had already wondered how many accidents Trenitalia deal with every year before today!

Some observations from this stop:

Almost 100% of older Italians smoke - and far too many young ones.

There are no pashminas for sale here!

Someone has beaten Bunnings here and sold too many white plastic chairs!

American college student backpacker season has started.

Traditional Italian life goes on here, with the older people walking to the shops each morning and sitting in the streets at night for long discussions.

There is a small junior school, so there is presumably a younger Italian population too - not just the elderly and the tourists!

Subway stairs and Prague hills have not helped me with stair climbing around here, but the elderly kept turning up in the upper reaches of the town! Whilst I tentatively climbed the irregular steps to our 'street',  Mario who escorted us there ran up (with my bag on his shoulder) in his sandals.

The coffee is good and just 1.50 euros.
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