Another good sleep and a beautiful morning! Breakfast on the 4th floor and an earlier departure of 9:00am to catch the 9:14am train to Riomaggiore. As we are soon to find out, Italian trains are not as punctual as the German or Swiss!
The train arrived late and was packed. We managed to squeeze on and at the following stop of Levanto we were like sardines! There was a problem of some sort at Levanto and we waited for 15 eternal minutes sandwiched amongst other Cinque Terre hikers. Finally on our way, and within the next couple of stops the crowd had thinned and we could not only breathe but actually sit down.
We got off at Riomaggiore and took a walk to the marina for the view and to take photos. We wandered a wee bit in the town and then it was time to re board the train to Manorola.
More crowds, pushing, shoving, automatically closing doors and finally we were all on board. A tour guide’s anxiety: 22 people in tow, throngs of people – some who may be pick pockets – wondering if, in the end, everyone did make it on the train, did they all know where to get off, and could they push through the crowds when we arrived at our station? Thankfully we were able to account for our full group and dispersed with instructions to return to the train station at 1:20pm.
Manarola is a lovely town with a gorgeous harbour. However hunger took priority and nine of us stopped at a lovely sea side restaurant to have lunch – pasta, seafood and acqua frizzante. We still had time to wander and then reboarded the train to Corniglia an hour and a half later.
Corniglia is another gorgeous Cinque Terre village full of beautifully coloured buildings, and narrow winding streets perched high up on the cliffs. From the train station the choices were – 365 steps up the hill or wait for a shuttle bus. Caroline & Ed were brave souls marching off up the giant stairmaster – well done as the Brits would say. I considered it however it was now 33C and we still had a 2 hour walk in the hills ahead of us. The view from here was magnificent! Apologies for not taking more photos with my iPad to add – I promise to add them as soon as I arrive home.
Ok we are now ready to tackle the 2 hour trek along the coast to Vernazza with spectacular views of the sea below us. Should be fairly easy, right? Initially yes, however as we hike onward the incline got steeper with more and more stone steps. In conjunction with the incredible heat and humidity, it was becoming gruelling.
I feared yet another revolt so, we in the caboose, took it very slowly with many rests in the shady areas. Thankfully there was the occasional cool breeze to save us. Finally we started back down into Vernazza and as you may have guessed, it was a very steep downhill. Now most would think, ah but downhill is easier. It is easier on the heart rate but a killer on the knees. As Leslie put it, those ______ stairs, ______ stairs, _____ ______ stairs! I don’t thinks she liked today’s hike much! Ha ha, you think?
And those of us with knee issues were labelled as the ‘walking wounded’. Tony, bless his heart, said well at least you are still walking – a little humour is always good! Our bodies hurt at the time, however we can now have a good laugh and exchange a few ‘war’ stories.
By the time we reached the town of Vernazza, it had been decided that tomorrow I would lead the easy, easy hike. This will consist of walking/shopping/eating and drinking – you know, the typical holiday triathlon. And by the time we hobbled back to our hotel we had quite a group ‘jumping’ ship and joining the triathlon. Works for me!
The gang is a little more low key tonight during dinner, however laughter was still prevalent at each table. A great day overall!
For Riomaggiore to Vernazza Photos see: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152293590436887.1073741918.593681886&type=1&l=8cf34a52f7