Last year I finally achieved one of my – rather minor – dreams…not only did I go to Italy, but while there, I hiked through Cinque Terre! Since I first heard of it and saw pictures of it some 5 or 6 years ago, and I had day dreamed about going there and walking through the tiny mountain/sea villages myself!
September 2014, I finally achieved that dream. I loved every second of it, for so many reasons that I will go through while sharing some photos, that honestly don’t do the place any justice, it is WAY more beautiful than these pictures can show.
This was the last place I would visit in Italy, having already been to Venice then Florence, I was already in love with Italy. Arriving there from Florence (and Passing through Pisa on the way), I was stunned by the last leg of the journey. That train from Milan to Manarola where I would stay. I cannot find the proper words to explain of the beauty.
I love trains. I love the ocean. I love mountains. I love the greenery. All of this is combined in one sight!!!! That is as close as I’ll get to explain how I am feeling.
Manarola is the second village of the 5 villages “Cinque Terre”. I climbed a steep hill from the train station all through the village to where my hostel was. And I was greeted by this view from above.
The day I arrived I had a slow easy evening, going down to the bottom of the village, having dinner and a bottle of wine by the water. “When in Rome, live like the Romans.” And from what I’ve seen since arriving in Venice that wine is abundant, and I couldn’t complain about that.
Then came the day of the hike. I was excited! You see, apart from the reasons mentioned above about why Cinque Terre was so beautiful in my eyes since I arrived, another reason for being excited is that since I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2011 and I have an ever lasting never-goes-away nostalgic feeling for any hikes! I love walking through the nature.
Then the hike!
Monterosso to Vernazza
That was about a 2 hour hike, 3.6 Km, up and down some mountains bordering a blue ocean, leaving behind Monterosso with views like this
Passing through “mini Paris”, and several love locks in different places…
And walking on cliffs and beside vineyards
Until Vernazza started appearing.
I was looking forward for lunch and coffee…but the break extended a little bit to include a beer and some chilling…After all, I’m a slow hiker and I appreciate my breaks too much to give them up!
And then the second leg of the hike, from Vernazza to Corniglia…leaving Vernazza behind looked beautiful, and then more cliffs, vineyards, ups and downs, and blue ocean. It reminded me a lot – albeit much shorter – of the camino and how much hiking made me relaxed and concentrated on the moment rather than on what is coming next.
About 3400 meters later, I reached Corniglia. This wasn’t a very tiring leg, not as tiring as the first one, so I was excited to keep going and hike one more leg of the trail back to Manarola where I am staying. It was weird though, I was following the signs, and I ended up in the train station! I thought it’s a sign, if the road got me here, I’ll take the train back home, which I did.
In Manarola, another breathtaking sunset while eating homemade lasagna and sipping on a bottle of wine, it was my last night in Italy. The next day I’d be taking loads of trains to get my passport that I’ve been stupid enough to forget, yet lucky enough to have some angels fix that for me. Anyway, I’d leave you with two more photographs on the sunset, the wine, and Manarola.
Have you hiked the Cinque Terre trail? Is it one of your dreams like it was one of mine? I do recommend it, it is not a demanding hike – average is more like it. It is very rewarding, though, and definitely worth the sweat.