“Cinque Terre is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the 5 towns, colourful houses and vineyards cling to steep terraces, harbours are filled with fishing boats and restaurants turn out seafood specialties along with the Liguria region’s famous sauce, pesto. The Sentiero Azzurro hiking trail links the villages and offers sweeping sea vistas.”
That sold it for me.
I’ve only really been to the Ligurian coast once – climbing based on Finale west of Genoa. We also came close finishing the three week GEA in the Apennines to the north of La Spezia a few years ago but hadn’t time to visit the coast.
This time I’m heading straight to Moneglia a coastal village between Portofino and the Cinque Terre. My fellow passengers on the flight were from Durham and I slipped back into my early accent as chat passed the time quickly. Its interesting how a common background leads to familiarity. An early arrival at Pisa airport, thanks Easy Jet, had me on a bus to town. The ticket queues at the rail station were a testament to Italian inefficiency but after half an hour or so I was on a train to La Spezia. A dash saw me on the coastal train onwards. Glimpses of the Med. and the iconic villages flashed past but a lot of the time we were in tunnels.
Moneglia looked a bit run down but improved as I approached my hotel, Piccolo, near the sea front. Disappointingly there seem to be buildings blocking off the sea front itself. I realise later that this little town is much quieter and less touristy than the other resorts.
I’m here in roundabout way on an Exodus walking holiday, the rest of the group are coming later on a flight from London. So I make myself at home, have a swim in the sea, refresh and go out to find supper. My choice, Restaurant Vela, is a great little family run place and they look after me well.