Cinque Terre. Monterosso – Vernazza – Corniglia.
This week is different for me and I’m not sure about walking with ten other people no matter how charming they may be. I feel I’m missing things on the way – flowers, birds, houses, shrines etc. OK you see them in passing but if I was on my own or with another much more time would be spent observing and absorbing. More time is spent chatting rather than experiencing the route. If you drop off the back to contemplate the rest are waiting for you to catch up – I don’t need that! Anyhow worse is to come today as we hit the crowded Cinque Terre paths.
Our morning train takes us to Monterosso the most westerly town of the Cinque Terre – Five Lands. The old part of town with narrow streets full of cafes also had two unusual churches. All humanity was here – Americans, Japanese and the rest of the world’s tourists. Some are content to eat ice creams in the expensive port but many are clambering in various attires along the famous cliff hugging path. Traffic lights would not seem out of place to regulate the flow of people. An entry ticket is needed by the way. Anyhow the path high above the sea is dramatic. We walk through pine and oak forests and terraced vineyards. There are good views back to Monterosso and eventually down to our next destination – colourful Vernazza, with its natural harbour dominated by the Doria Castle.
Lunch, local Focaccia bread with Pesto, is taken in a little cafe away from the port itself but everywhere is crowded.
Then more steps climbed out of the village and we traversed high again towards Corniglia which is perched on a promontory rather than at sea level. It was an interesting place to explore with little passageways leading nowhere and good views of the coast. There was time for an ice cream before heading down flights of steps [382 I didn’t count them] to the station platform for the return train.
My antisocial self survived, actually enjoyed, the day: I’m getting into tourist mode. Back in Moneglia a swim refreshed me ready for a meal at a small restaurant [U Limottu] up an unfrequented side street. Ate the best fish so far in this town and the best wine from Colli di Luni a complex red Niccolo V.