12/05/12 – 14/05/12
Monterosso al Mare - Cinque Terre, Italy
+ Riomagiorre, Manarola, Corniglia & Vernazza
Au reviour France, Buongiourno Italy!
It’s 1:55pm and I’m sitting on a train somewhere between La Spezia and Florence. I’m pretty sure we’re passing the Apennine mountain ranges as they’re on my left and pretty difficult to miss. We’ve just spent 2 days in Monterosso al Mare the largest village of the Cinque Terre in the region of Liguria.
What can I say apart from – I LOVE ITALY! I hope the rest of Italy will be like Monterosso but I highly doubt it. Although it’s a major tourist spot it doesn’t feel ‘commercial’ and the food (ohhh the food!) is amazingly fresh and tasty! We had dinner at a beachside restaurant called Bar Gio which served a delicious seafood spaghetti for €6.50, then grabbed gelato for dessert while taking a beachside stroll (corny, I know) €3.00 for 4 scoops. I mean, how cheap is that! I loved the simpleness of freshly made pesto smothered on freshly baked focaccia for only €2.00… OMG yum! Take me back!
Anyway aside from the food, we planned to come to the Cinque Terre (translated ‘five lands’) to hike the entire trail linking the 5 coastal/cliff side villages. Unfortunately the trails between Vernazza and Manarola were still closed for repair due to torrential rains which caused floods and mudslides late last year. We were still able to do two of the tracks, one from Monterosso to Vernazza (1.5hrs hike) and the other from Riomagiorre to Manarola a.k.a “the lovers walk” (30 min stroll).
The hike from Monterosso to Vernazza was quite difficult yet very rewarding. It was steep, narrow, hilly & hot! And talk about adapting to your surroundings; the steep rugged mountainsides are heavily terraced! Row after row after row of vertical farms growing mostly olives and grapes… some of the vineyards are planted on such steep hillside and so close to the sea that the grapes have to be harvested by boat! A truly remarkable natural work of art and credit to the hardworking locals. Arrivadeci Monterosso al Mare, until we meet again x