Cinque Terre

December 17, 2014 at 6:07 pm Leave a comment

First day of Christmas holidays for me, so time to update the blog with our European adventures diary.

We arrived in Monterosso al Mare after a great train ride from Milan along with hordes of tourists including a few ‘herds of cattle’ following their flag. I had sent an sms to our next Airbnb with our time of arrival but unfortunately he was a no show to direct us to our accommodation- not answering phone calls or texts. After an hour’s wait we popped into the tourist shop to use the free internet and sent a message via Airbnb. He finally arrived on a pushbike and led us uphill about 1 km. The apartment was a complete rip off. I had paid extra to get a kitchen so that we could save some money on eating in but the kitchen was unusable due to antiquated sink/pipes (rusty water) and dirty dishes all over the sink and in the dishwasher. The bathroom hadn’t been cleaned and the tiny fridge was mouldy. I gave this place a scathing review on Airbnb and also sent a private message to Airbnb about how bad it was but they are still renting it out, very disappointing. Claudia wanted to leave and find somewhere else to stay but I decided we would use the room just to sleep and do our laundry and spend as much time as possible elsewhere.

Monterosso beach-for a fee!

Monterosso beach-for a fee!

 

Monterosso is very much a beach resort (think Barwon Heads about 20 years ago before it got Melbourne-ised), lots of tourists and the old part where we were staying was very atmospheric. The old and new towns are joined by a road tunnel and the main beach (where you have to pay to access) is in the newer part with the train station and some great beachside restaurants. After a stroll around and some shopping for fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, we went down to the newer area for dinner-great service and food. After dinner as we were walking back to our apartment we ran into some friends from OG! After a chat about the difficulty of the trek to the next village we decided to go to bed early and be up early to start the 1.5 hour trail for Vernazza the next morning.

views at dinner

views at dinner

 

Leaving Monterosso

Leaving Monterosso

We headed off at 8am and the first part of the trail was steeply uphill, many stops to check out the view and take a rest. The trail was amazing-varying between stone and gravel, narrow and wide but always with spectacular views and meandering among terraced gardens.

 

Coastline views

Coastline views

Bridge on trail to Vernazza

Bridge on trail to Vernazza

Despite the warnings the day before we managed to arrive in beautiful Vernazza in 1.5 hours.

Approcahing Vernazza

Approcahing Vernazza

This town has a lovely harbour with great little cafes and a church. The streets of Vernazza lead upwards from the harbour, a very pretty little town.

Arriving in Vernazza square

Arriving in Vernazza square

After a rest, snack and explore we decided to continue on to the next town before the weather heated up too much, another 1.5 hour trek through the hills to Corniglia.

Leaving Vernazza

Leaving Vernazza

This was another great trek and we rewarded ourselves with gelati and an ice slushie when we arrived. Corniglia is a very small town set on the hillside (no beach or harbour) with little laneways running everywhere and very picturesque.

Corneglia

Corneglia

Claudia loved these little front wheel trucks

Claudia loved these little front wheel trucks

We took the path to the train station; many, many flights of stone stairs down (we were glad we weren’t going up) as the rest of the trails to the remaining towns were closed.

Steps to Corniglia station

Steps to Corniglia station

A quick train trip and we were in Manarola, another very picturesque town with paths meandering around the boat harbour and great viewing of the coastline. We inquired about the ferry to the next town, bought tickets and decided to cool and rest our weary feet while we waited.

IMG_2359

The last town was Riomaggiore where we bought some lunch and wandered around the town, visiting our third church of the day.

We then took the train back to Vernazza where Claudia wanted to do some canoeing around the harbour.

canoeingAs it was getting latish we decided on a harbourfront cafe for a pizza dinner, chatting with the English couple at the next table. Then it was train back to Monterosso. The all inclusive train and park ticket is good value.

Next morning we were up early once again to breakfast down the main street at a lovely patisserie before our train to Florence.

 

 

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