Monday, September 22, 2008

Hiking the Cinque Terre

This past weekend, we spent a weekend in the Cinque Terre, a National Park consisting of five villages on the Ligurian coast. We made our way there early on Saturday (it's about 2.5-3 hours away by train) and got off in Monterosso, the northernmost of the 5 towns. The weather was ideal -- partly sunny and not too hot, and before setting off on the trail to the other villages, we got some delicious focaccia (a Ligurian specialty) for the trail. Monterosso has a pretty attractive beach (even the free part), so it was a bit unfortunate that we had left our swimwear at home since the weather report hadn't predicted very high temperatures. Actually, we separated for the first part of the hike, with Kristen opting for the train to the next village (she had read that this first part was the most strenuous), whereas I hiked through terraced vineyards and olive groves to the next village, Vernazza. There, we sat by the harbor for a while and adored some of the many cats we saw before heading out towards Corniglia. We arrived there a little after 3pm, and found the owner of the bed & breakfast we had booked in a bar near the village center. Since it was earlier in the day than we were expecting to be there, we spent the rest of the day sitting on the balcony of our room, reading and enjoying the view before going to see the sunset on a terrace at the end of the village. Dinner was in one of the restaurants of the village -- fresh seafood for me, and pasta with pesto (another Ligurian specialty) for Kristen.
The next morning, after an al fresco breakfast from the same bar, we headed out on the trail again, this time with much less climbing than the day before. We therefore arrived in Manarola, where we walked up and down (literally!) the main street, before settling down to a good lunch, again with fresh seafood and pasta with pesto. Strengthened, we walked the last, easiest bit to Riomaggiore along the Via dell'Amore. There, we burned some more calories by walking up to the small castle at the top of the town, and to the marina at the seaside, before negating all that with some gelato. Content, we walked back to the train station to take the train back to Florence, along with the hundreds of American college students (probably on "study" abroad) who had had the same idea of spending a weekend in the Cinque Terre as we did.

1 comment:

linda said...

Spectacular views from your great photos! Also, I love the one of the bakery goodies.