There are lots of photos in this post (25ish) – give it some time to load so you can enjoy them all!
For the next five days (including today), I will be posting a photo of one of the Cinque Terre villages, in order from South to North (the same way I traveled). In each post, I’ll give a very brief background on the village itself and what it has to offer.
The first village of the “Five Lands” is Riomaggiore. First settled back in the 13th century, the town of roughly 2,000 residents is home to a small beach and a main street (Via Colombo) filled with shops and restaurants. The outskirts and hills of the town are littered with small vineyards, producing some of the best wine in all of Cinque Terre.
What a day.
Did I run to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa for a minute just so I could run and catch another train? Yep.
Did I make it to all five Cinque Terre towns by hiking? Yep.
Did I sweat more than the average human doing so? Maybe.
Would I do it all over again? Instantly.
After a 5am wake up alarm, I headed to Stazione Termini to catch a regional rail to Pisa (remember I’m at the tail end of the most expensive three months of my life, so I take the slow, uncomfortable trains now. More on this later). I had decided while planning this trip, I might as well see the tower since the regional rail stops in Pisa. My plan was to hop off the train, jog the mile to the area where the tower is, then quickly jog the kilometer to another train station closer to the tower – sound doable? Well, it was, but it was definitely tense.
I got off the train at Pisa Centrale (which was 5 minutes late) at 10:20. My next train was leaving at 11:11, so it still seemed within reach. I pull out my phone and remember I completely forgot to screen shot the map of Pisa. No worries there are signs. A funny thing about signs in Italy is that they tend to send you a slightly longer route so you hit the main shopping streets.
I had hoped to catch a train to the first village, but I was expecting too much for the train to arrive on time. We made it when the other train was departing, so I took a moment to go into the tourist office to check trail status. Unfortunately (and also kind of fortunately) the main tourist trails (closest to the water and easiest to complete) were still out of service due to a landslide in the fall. The forced me to do what I had originally intended by hiking around north of the cities and higher in the mountains. Oh and I saved 5 euro having to do so (that’s close to a days worth of food folks!).
A view of Manarola – the path to the right was the path I took up to this spot.
A view north down the coastline
Some very fitting graffiti on an old billboard/sign
Passing Volastra, I was about halfway to Corniglia. The hike was amazing. With cliffs over a hundred meters high and more terrace farms, even if you’re tired it’s hard not to appreciate the beauty.
It’d be tough to hate this view while working.
The trails through the vineyards
Not surprising the most of the land up here is terraced for farming. Corniglia to the left.
The trails were awesome – not for those that are afraid of heights though.
Trails sometimes curved back inlands, so you’d get to enjoy the forestry areas.
A view back towards Corniglia
Everything was starting to blossom, perfect timing!
As I sit here on a bench in front of the ocean town Monterosso, couples and families walked by giving me weird looks. Not sure if it was because I was all alone in a beach resort town, or if I had a disheveled look on my face after a long day of hiking. I did meet a nice couple from California who were spending a few weeks in Italy touring around.
I jokingly (or not jokingly) thought about how if I happened to run into my future wife here, I would have proposed on the spot. This place was unbelievable perfect.
With roughly seven (yes the number 7) hours until my train would be departing from La Spezia Centrale, I wanted to spend more time by the water than in the train station. All was well till it got dark and very windy… and cold. I took a train back to La Spezia around 11:00pm to begin the six and a half hour wait.
To be continued tomorrow…Tags: Cinque Terre, Friday, Hiking, Italia, Italy, La Spezia