Monday, September 14, 2009

CINQUE TERRE - Best. Hike. Ever.

Five towns. Five times the awesomeness.

Cinque Terre is absolutely amazing. (Warning: this note doesn't come close to explaining the gloriousness that is Cinque Terre) There are no roads interrupting the provincial life of the tiny towns - the only transportation between the towns is walking or taking the trains or ferries. We reconvened with the group in La Spezia on Saturday morning (9/12) and caught the train to Monterosso, the largest and northern most town of the five (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola & Riomaggiore) . The picturesque hikes get increasingly easier and shorter as you work your way south from Monterosso, so we decided to get the hard part out of the way first.

The first challenge we ran into was storing our luggage. In most train stations, there is a place where you can store luggage for a small fee. The luggage storage attendant at the station in La Spezia was nowhere to be found and, upon arriving in Monterosso,  we discovered there was no place to deposit bags. Fortunately, I just had a backpack, but most others had a duffle bag. We searched all over town for somewhere to keep our luggage, but to no avail. So we began our hike, luggage in hand.

As we were almost out of town, Peter & Colleen, a couple from Vancouver, Canada stopped us because they couldn't believe we were about to hike 9 kilometers with all that stuff. They generously offered their hotel room for the day and would not accept any compensation - they told us of all the help their son had received from strangers during his 6 month charity trip in Eastern Europe. They said just to pay it forward. Without their kindness, our day would not have been as wonderful as it was!

After the challenging, narrow, up-and-down hike between Monterosso & Vernazza, we stopped for lunch overlooking the bay in Vernazza - my favorite town of the five. The region is where pesto began, so I ordered Trofie al pesto, a dish typical to the area, and shared a half liter of vino bianco (white wine) with Tom.

We continued hiking, enjoying the views, conversation and exploring each town. We stopped on the way to Manarola to take a dip in the Mediterranean at a smooth rock beach where the beautiful water was clear and refreshing after a day of hiking under the hot Tuscan sun. Afterwards, we dried off as we finished the rest of the hike going down the famous Via Dell'Amore between Manarola & Riomaggiore. It was definitely one of the best days I've had. My words can hardly do justice to the experience, so I would encourage you to check out my pictures on facebook and make it a goal to visit Cinque Terre yourself!

No comments:

Post a Comment