Cinque Terre

As I mentioned yesterday, Genoa is pretty quiet on Sundays, so we took the train down to Monterosso al Mare. Cinque Terre (the five lands) consists of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, the last being the only one we didn’t visit today. For those who have seen the Disney film Luca, the scenery would be very familiar – the film’s setting is based on the villages of the area.

After grabbing a focaccia in Monterosso as a bit of a late breakfast, we started off hiking to Vernazza around 0930. The trail involves long stretches of rock steps with cliffs very close a fair bit of the time. All of this means you get some amazing views of the sea as well as the villages, vineyards, and olive plantations built into the mountainside.

We arrived in Vernazza around 1130 and almost immediately found the others in our group who took the train instead of the hike. It turns out Vernazza isn’t a particularly big place, but it is right down on the sea just like Monterosso. We stopped for lunch at Trattoria Da Piva Vernazza, recommended to us by our guide Matteo the day before. Da Piva is owned by Raphael, a friend of Matteo’s, so Raphael took a picture of us to text to Matteo to let him know we had come to visit him.

After lunch we split again and hiked south again to Corniglia which, unlike the other villages, is about 100 meters up the mountainside with no access to the water. As before, the hike afforded some amazing views of the sea and surroundings. In Corniglia we stopped at Alberto Gelateria for a well-earned gelato.

The regular hike between Corniglia and Manarola has been washed out since 2012, which means that if you want to hike between them you need to go all the way up the mountain, along a ridge, and back down (note: this may be wrong, it might actually be the last hike that is washed out). We took the train. Corniglia has a bit of a different feel to the other villages, and instead of being entirely tourist-oriented, feels as if it also has a decent fishing industry. The largest indicator is that the streets are lined with boats, all of which would presumably be in the water during fishing season. As expected, Corniglia does have access to the sea, but this appears to be mostly via craning boats into the sea, and had no beach or boat ramps that I saw.

It was fairly busy at this point, and hard to get a table for five people anywhere for a bite to eat, so we decided to return to Genoa. We had a bit of confusion on the train and ended up taking one more than we needed to, but got back just fine. On our way from the train station to the apartment we stopped at Strakkino for some pizza and, in my case, a beer.

We didn’t get back to the apartment until around 2100, making for an around 14 hour day. Everyone was happy to relax for the evening.

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