Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trip to Cinque Terre, Italy (July 2017)

Cinque Terre means literally five lands. They represent five coastal towns along the Italian rocky yet beautiful Riviera in the Liquria Region of Italy. There are a lot of Rivieras, but it all originated from Italian Riviera where these coastal towns are located. They are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Cinque Terre is a UNESCO heritage.

These coastal villages are all built on the steep slopes of hills. So they are vulnerable to heavy rain that can cause floods and mud slides. This disaster occurred in October 2011, which killed 9 people.

We took the Expat bus to the train station of La Spezia from where we took another train to go through the towns. We made a plan to travel from Riomaggiore to Manarola and to Corniglia by train. And by foot from Corniglia to Vernanzza. If time allows, we will take a train to Monterosso al Mare and from there we were going to take a boat to see the towns from the sea. A Philippine boy Josh and his sister wanted to join us so we traveled together. Throughout the journey, I was amazed how Josh's sister was lso much like our daughter Amanda. Her giggling, her height, her walking posture from the back, her age (the same as Amanda), her speaking tone etc. all reminded me of Amanda. I thanked her for being like Amanda.

Riomaggiore - We had to save time in early towns so that we can hike a section. All others stayed down by the train station, but I hiked up to a vista point where I could have a panoramic view of the town as well as the sea.

Manarola - We did not have much time either in this town. Together with the young man, we hiked up to a higher level, but we could not find any vista point like in Riomaggiore. Well, we would not hit a home-run all the time.

Wherever we went, gelato was waiting for us. I was not the only one craving for gelato. Here is the evidence.

Corniglia - This town was the only town that did not have direct access to the water. So we took a shuttle from the train station to the town. From the town, we began to walk to the next town of Vernanzza. The journey would take at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Moreover, the sun was strong and it was quite scorching.

The journey was tough due mainly to the heat and secondly to the bumpy and rocky trail. The scenery was quite good at certain places, but we had to be satisfied with the hike itself.

The halfway break point was quite strategic. Their lure to take a break was quite compelling. We had orange slush but we sweated far too much to be replenished by a cup of slush.

From the halfway point, the trail was mostly downhills. But it was still challenging.

When we finally arrived at Vernanzza, we all were delighted.

Vernanzza - We had to eat lunch in this town or else. We still hoped to be able to make to the next town. But if we did that, we would not have been able to make it in time for the return bus. So we regretfully decided to take a boat to return to Riomaggiore from where we took a train to return to La Spezia.

We had to wait some time and the foods were pricey, but the sea food dishes were excellent.

After lunch, we explore the town a little bit. I found a place that I had to pass through a cave tunnel to reach. It was a secluded beach tucked in behind the rocks. The water was so clean and clear. It was soothing to see people sit down on the rocks at the sea shore seeing and feeling the waves.

Monterosso al Mare is supposed to be the largest town of Cinque Terre with a decent beach and fine restaurants. Well... next time.

On the way back from Vernanzza to Riomaggiore, we saw the coastal towns from the sea. They were cute and pretty, but compared to Amalfi Coasts, they were far too small in size and less beautiful. We would have appreciated their beauty better had we not experienced Amalfi Coasts first.

Nonetheless, our journey was mentally rewarding although physically exhausting.

On the way back to the hotel we saw a mountain of white marbles. The view was unclear but spectacular.

Overall, we had a full day of delightful adventures and fun-charged excursions. It is always good to live a life fully. - Jeffrey 

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