Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cinque Terre or should I say Quattro Terreni?

It began as a great day.  We had breakfast at the hotel and then took a five minute train ride from La Spezia to Riomaggiore.  The weather was perfect. We walked around Riomaggiore for a minute which pretty much allowed us to see the whole town.  We then started walking on the path of love -  Via Dell’Amore - a footpath cut into the cliffs above the sea from Riomaggiore to Manarola. We walked around Manarola for a while, got a ton of pictures, but were anxious to get back on the trail to the next three small villages.  But after a short distance, the path was closed because of storm damage. We could see the path all along the cliffs to Corniglio, and were sad not to be able to walk it. We went back into Manarola for lunch -- pizza and cannolies, of course.  The regional train only comes every 90 minutes, so we had more time to wander.  This turned out to be a good thing because Manarola was the coolest of the four towns.  We had some gelato and then hopped on the train for Corniglia.  From the train to the town there were about a thousand steps uphill, and I was grateful that the weather was so cool.  We walked through the town which was even smaller than the last two but was so charming.  Great smells came from cute little restaurants. The town was high on the hill overlooking the Mediterranean.  Next town was Vernazza which I was excited to see because my friend Annabell had said it was her favorite of the five.  We walked the six thousand steps back to the station (there were more on the way down) and headed to Vernazza.  I had heard there were floods last October and that Cinque Terre was hit hard, but so far the towns looked pretty good. In Vernazza though, there was a lot of damage. The ground floors of all the buildings along the main street were washed out and filled with debris.  It must have been a beautiful town and it made me so sad to see all the devastation.  As we talked to people we learned that this town was by far the hardest hit and again the path leading to the next town was washed away.  So much for walking from town to town.  We went back to the train station to catch the next train to Monterosso, but it never came. Eventually we gave up and headed back to La Spezia.  We didn’t get to see Monterosso, we didn’t get to take the amazing cliff side trail from town to town and we were stuck waiting for a train for the better part of two hours.  Still, the trip was unforgettable and we saw some amazing stuff.  We had dinner in La Spezia, slept in and had a great breakfast the next morning and are now waiting for our train to Lucca. 


Gelatos are the best!

Josh attacking Kelly, a family tradition.  
Some of the devastation in Vernazza.

A picture of a picture of the mud slide.
Monterosso from the beach of Vernazza.

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