Monday, May 11, 2009

Cinque Terre

Wow, what a day! I couldn't weed out any more photographs so please bear with the abundance of photo's.

We had a so, so night due to the damn church bell with it's over eager bell ringer. Most churches simply chime the hour but this eager beaver has to play an entire melody on the hour and then chime the half hour and he does it for all 24 hours of the day. The church happens to be only about 200m away so the bells are loud and clear, particularly at 03:00, so although we slept it was a little interrupted.

We've come to Cinque Terre on a recommendation but without really knowing what it actually is and we were not disappointed at all. Cinque Terre is actually a national park which incorporates 5 seaside villages and walking paths have been constucted between the villages which all sounds pretty pedestrian until one sees the scenery! Think terraced hills covered with olive groves cascading down into an azure sea. Absolutely fantastic!

The walk from Monterosso to Vernazza took us about 2 hours and I managed to get Caron to pose for a photograph. In reality, she was so tired from the climb that she wouldn't move even if I pointed a camera at her, 500 metres straight up from Monterosso using steps - not that the steps were the correct distance apart! then about 2 kms up down and around following the mountains and then down 300 metre via steps and rocks again.......

This shows the town of Vernazza which is just spectacularly photogenic; one feels like one can close one's eyes and just click away.

Not to mention some of Vernazza's inhabitants who were equally photogenic. Close your eyes girls! Boys, you can peek!

We had lunch on the piazza next to the harbour if one could call it that. Caron had a pansotti which is a spinach panzerotti in walnut sauce and I had spaghetti de mare all washed down with a carafe of vino. Great lunch and an even better setting. Vernazza, although it is clearly a tourist town, has managed to prevent itself from becoming a tourist trap thus far.

While waiting for the train we saw lots of posters warning us of robbers on the train stations and in the trains themselves. Nice that they have to warn us rather than that being the default situation.

From Vernazza we took the train because the next section of the walk was reportedly closed for repairs but overshot our destination and ended up in Riomagiorre from where we walked back to Manarolo which turned out to be as spectacular as Vernazza but in a somewhat different way.

Where is the beach to launch the boats you may well ask and it must be pretty impressive to launch because you can either use the gantry to lower your boat down the cliff face into the water or you can use the ramp which is so steep I'm really not sure how they get the boats up.

Our final destination was the town of Corniglia which we didn't enjoy so much because the walk ended in this ...

... and Caron really didn't feel like the 382 steps up into Corniglia for an ice cream (after 2.4 km of walking up, down and round ....) so I was in the dog box for a while until we had descended the same 382 steps to the ferrovia (the iron road). While we were walking towards Corniglia there was a male nudist on the beach below us so Caron also had an opportunity to perv away so now we're even!

What a fantastic day, I would highly recommend this to anyone and particularly if they happen to like a bit of a walk. Walking along the coast amongst the olive groves with the olive nets spread below them and the azure mediterannean on the one side was just magical, the rest of the trip is going to have to be something else to top this.

1 comment:

Nicki Naude said...

Looks spectacular Roland! We're rather green, and find ourselves missing the itlaian gelato's and the great cappacino's.... and you guys of course!