South to North.
I arrived in Riomaggiore a little past noon. Riomaggiore is the Southernmost village in the Cinque Terre. I found the address I was given online and the lady walked me up a block to an apartment. At the time, the apartment was empty, which was nice. It’s always nice when you arrive somewhere and it’s completely empty so you can get settled in. I got changed into my bathing suit and was out the door as soon as I could. The weather was absolutely gorgeous.
It’s so nice not to be in a hostel. In Genova, they didn’t even have a kitchen. Now, I’m staying in an apartment with six other travellers. Upgrade? I think so.
Via dell’Amore: the boardwalk connecting Riomaggiore to Manarola. Nicely paved, it is hands down the easiest of the four trails. Breathtaking is an understatement.
On la Via dell’Amore, there are thousands of this love locks. Not sure where that tradition came from. It’s kind of silly, but cute…
The second village, Manarola. It has a really cool swimming set-up. I didn’t take a dip, but I will tomorrow. Manarola is only a twenty-minute walk on the boardwalk from Riomaggiore, which is the shortest distance between any two villages in the Cinque Terre. I think it’s also the smallest of the five villages. Personally, it’s my favourite. It’s the least touristy and yet the Via dell’Amore, the most touristic route on the Cinque Terre, connects Manarola to Riomaggiore with a 20-minute oceanside stroll.
Between Manarola and Corniglia. I don’t know what these huts used to be, but now they’re delapitated and falling apart. My guess is they used to be state rooms, owned by the beach and rented out for a few hours to whomever wanted the beach and a bit of privacy. They still have state rooms in Monterosso.
Corniglia. Corniglia and Riomaggiore are about the same size, however Corniglia, like Manarola, isn’t very touristic. Also, because it isn’t very touristic, it offers some of the cheapest food in the Cinque Terre. Half a pizza cost me 2.50 euro. Because of Corniglia’s size and lack of beaches in the village centre, Corniglia is the quietest village.
On the North side of Corniglia, there is a valley. It dips down all the way to the ocean. In the valley, there is farming. Most of the produce served in restaurants comes from this valley.
Walking North from Corniglia. On the left, you can see Manarola. The right, Corniglia.
Vernazza. It’s the postcard village of the Cinque Terre. One would assume it’s therefore the most visited, but that isn’t quite the case. The Corniglia-Vernazza and Vernazza-Monterosso trails are hell. They are the hardest trails to hike, even with a walking stick and good shoes. Neither of which I had with me at the time. On the other hand, that’s what makes Vernazza so amazing. After hiking up and down and up and down for two hours from Corniglia or Monterosso, it’s a nice little treat to finally get here. I figured I deserved a little dip in the water. And a gelato.
Vernazza. As I making my last trip of the day to Monterosso, still close to Vernazza, horns started going off and people starting cheering. I realized I was missing the World Cup game with Italy playing. I sprinted/hiked as fast as I could to Monterosso al Mare.
Monterosso al Mare. The last stop of the day. By this point, I had both missed the World Cup game and was completely spent for the day. Monterosso shouldn’t really be considered as part of the Cinque Terre because it stands out as the posh village. Everything at least 50% more expensive than in the other villages and it’s the only village in which you have to pay to get access to the beaches. They don’t have any rooms for rent by villagers, just really fancy hotels. I didn’t stay very long. I bought 1.40 euro ticket back to Riomaggiore, bought some stuff to make dinner.
Riomaggiore at night. It was also San Giovanni de Baptista. As I walking around Riomaggiore, a procession started in which locals were dressed up and they started singing Gospel music. It was really cool.
Today, I did the Cinque Terre from South to North, then took a train back South. Tomorrow, I’ll take a train up to Monterosso al Mare, then hike back South. I also have find accommodation for Saturday night. Some locals have invested in buying apartments and they rent them out from 25 euros a night up to 60 euros for a private room. Hopefully, I can find one of the cheaper rooms, if there are any left… Until tomorrow,