North to South.
The day before, I had done the Cinque Terre South to North, starting in Riomaggiore and ending in Monterosso. By the time I got to Monterosso, though, I was spent and tired and couldn’t really appreciate the village that much. To avoid that, I decided to do the inverse of the trail, going from Monterosso to Riomaggiore, going North to South. In the morning, in Riomaggiore, I ran into two of my roommates who had checked out, but were planning on doing the same trip as me. One is an Australian and the other is English. They make for a very odd couple, but nevertheless strangely entertaining. We took the train together to Monterosso, but we split from there: they wanted to start the trek right away and I wanted to walk around Monterosso before setting-off.
I decided I don’t like Monterosso that much. You have to pay for the beaches. Everything is overpriced. And it doesn’t have that Cinque Terre charm the other villages have because it’s so polished and posh. Anyway, I went to the only free beach in Monterosso to cool off before the hike. It was crowded, as would be expected. The water was sooo nice, as would also be expected… but I still kept a close eye on my stuff while swimming.
Walking from Monterosso to Vernazza. I decided to skip the Vernazza-Corniglia trail. I jumped a train instead. Two new American roommates told me their horror story about how they tried to jump a train and got fined 50 euros each for it. I guess I got lucky… *knock on wood* From Vernazza back to Rio, I asked around for rooms for Saturday night since I still had no where to sleep. I had no luck. A word to the wise: it’s not to enjoy a trip if you’re not prepared. I went to bed Friday night with the thought that I might have to sleep on a beach.
My roommate Jessica and I went to the only bar in Riomaggiore for some wine. There, we met some Americans and some Canadians. After the game (Chile vs Spain), we went down to the Rio beach and started a bon fire with toilet paper. A few of us, myself included, took a dip in the Med. Even at night, the water is still soooo nice. We swam out to see the full moon. In the other direction, we could see the lights of Monterosso. The little treasures in life… If I had to sleep on any beach, I thought, it would be the Rio beach.
Today, I woke up early to be first in line for an open bed. I packed my stuff and waited two hours at Patrizia’s door. It definitely paid off: I could stay in the same apartment, in the same bed. YES!!! Major sigh of relief! After I got all of my stuff back to the apartment, I met Jeff and Andrea, two ’89-ers from San Diego. They were super chill (personally, I find anyone from the West Coast super chill and I get along great with them…) We walked together from Riomaggiore to Corniglia.
The marina at Corniglia was amazing. All the time that I’ve been in the Cinque Terre and the two times I’ve been to Corniglia, I hadn’t seen the marina. You can’t see the marina from the village centre. We were told to go there by the guy who was running a (delicious) sandwich shop. Originally, we weren’t planning on going swimming. We had just planned on going to the marina and sitting down to eat our lunch, but as soon as the cove/marina came into view, we knew we just had to go. The water looked so appetizing. Swimming in the marina (or cove, if you will) is definitely a top highlight of this trip so far. These pictures just don’t do it justice.
There was hardly anyone when we first arrived at the marina, but shortly after Jeff and Andrea left to continue their hike, the marina soon filled up. Luckily, the tide went down a little so I could access the rocks. I found a spot in the sun, but that was also hidden from the busy part of the marina. I’ve been dying for a place like this: sunny, yet totally private. Time to lose those tan lines!
Hands down, the best swimming this whole trip.
Manarola on the third day, heading back to Riomaggiore. I was considering taking a dip, but I had just spent four hours at the Corniglia marina, so I figured I’d just grab a quick bite and make my way back.
When I got back, I paid my 30 euros to Pratizia who is a Saint to backpackers. She single-handledly manages a handful of apartments that she rents out. In my opinion, her, her little business and others like hers are what keep Cinque Terre so charming. They keep Cinque Terre affordable, youthful and fun.
I bought some groceries for dinner, but, when I got back to the apartment, it seemed like everyone was in the midst of making their dinners. It was nice because we all finished preparing our dinners all at once. So we sat down together around the table and ate and drank wine. Good food, good wine and good company in a great little village: appreciate the little things in life.
Also, I’m now the only one in the apartment who hasn’t been to Croatia. I’m now 99% committed to booking a trip to Croatia. When in Rome, right?
I’m leaving Cinque Terre tomorrow. I’m catching the train to Dicomano, where I will be wwoof-ing.
I highly recommend the Cinque Terre to anyone with two legs. The trail is exhilarating. The swimming is magical. And, if you’re kind and respectful, the locals are charming and loving. Not to mention: the pesto! Apparently, this is pesto’s birthplace. I will miss this place.
Until next time, stay tuned!