It has been a tough night for Tanya as her coughing has intensified over night, so she decides to give today a break and lounge around soaking up the Portovenere view.
Andre and I abandon her ( with her blessing, as we are going to try another traverse today) and we catch the ferry to the last town of Monterosso. It is much larger and more commercial but still pretty. We do not visit it, as we plan to be back tomorrow with Tanya. The transfer by train to the next town of Vernazza is quick, this is where we will pick up the trail across to Corniglia. Starting from this end means that the descent back down seems a little more gradual not straight down and therefore more kind to the knees.
Vernazza is very cute but was badly damaged in the October 2011 cyclone due to its very shallow lie. There are still many buildings that have not been repaired. We locate the starting point of the trail and start our stair ascent to the trail.
It is a beautiful day ,we get a nice panoramic view back to the town. As we continue up we round a corner and sitting in the middle of the path is a National Parks person sunning herself next to the barrier blocking further access to the trail. It turns out that it is closed and we can’t go further due to landslides. It would have been nice to have a sign to that affect at the start of the trail in town. Ah well, as we descend we keep telling people we come across not to continue, not that we received that advice as we were going up! There is another trail we can do in the opposite direction back to Monterosso.
We start the ascent and this time we have a view back towards Vernazza from the opposite side. As we check the profile of this walk it’s a bit scary. Basically straight up, stairs only and then even steeper on the descent.
I have a little chat to my knees giving them a motivational talk, this is the last steep walk they will do and it IS Cinque Terre. Up we go, beautiful terracing surrounds us where the locals grow the olives, lemons and wine groves. Cinque Terre is quite famous for its wine and salted anchovies 🙂
As Vernazza gets smaller and smaller, my knees are voicing serious complaints to this venture. The path is very narrow , mainly one person wide so any overtaking or passing people coming from the opposite direction is a challenge . We basically have to squash ourselves against the cliff face for this to happen.
We do find a tiny ledge where we can have lunch and then continue on. Views are spectacular. We have reached the half-way mark but I am not sure I am looking forward to the descent. We start seeing our destination Monterosso as we round the corner.
It will be steps all the way. Briefly the path gets a little wider. We are amazed at how unprepared people are for what is a pretty strenuous walk even though it’s only 3.7km most of that is vertical in one or other direction. Most people are not even carrying any water, let alone stable footwear.
We finally get to the last section, the path drops off precipitously. I brace my poles and follow Papa Bear down. It is really quite tricky as the path is extremely narrow and by now there is steady traffic in both directions. It becomes a total bottleneck and confirms to me that coming here in peak summer would not be enjoyable.
We get to Monterosso and it really is time for an obligatory gelato to revive. Andre gets a delicious mango and Tiramisu combo and I stick to raspberry and hazelnut-yummy. Back to Tanya we go , we pick a couple of supriso ‘s to have with Tanya with a little cup of tea.
We are caught up on sharing news and decide it is pizza night tonight. One has been recommended by our owner although it gets a slightly lower rating than the one in town. It turns into an interesting experience as the waiter delivers everything to our table with a throw from a distance including glasses and cutlery. The pizza is however delicious, I pick the surprise modified to be vegetariano.
Again our eyes exceed our stomach capacity but what the heck we are in Italy, we manage!