Day 11 - Wednesday, April 17, 2019 – Trek from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza; Lunch in Vernazza; Ride Train to Monterosso
Waking up before the alarm goes off was getting to be easier as the little village of Monterosso al Mare came alive about 6:30 AM. Vendors were bringing supplies into the shops and the restaurants were being replenished from yesterday’s diners.
The hotel had a full house but there was plenty of room in the breakfast room. The traditional European fare was served; cheeses, cold meats, breads, and cereals. Today there was a variety of fresh fruit, always a treat when traveling.
Greta, at the front desk helped us with information about the hiking trails and the train schedule. Because it was such a beautiful dry and cool morning we decided to trek from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza, the next little jewel along the Cinque Terre coastline.
We put on our sunscreen, wore our hats, and were ready for the trek overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Noticing that most people wore serious hiking gear; shorts, special shirts, and trekking shoes, we were probably overdressed in jeans and polo shirts.
Walking to the trailhead took a few minutes and then we saw the signs for Vernazza and the trial. We paid our Trek/Train fee of 13.00 Euros because we got a discount for being over 70!
We had researched the hike and the Internet advised us the walk was strenuous to moderate, depending on the people who had experienced the hike. Greta’s advice was that it was an easy hike, but she warned that first 15 minutes were very difficult because of the steep stone steps.
Starting our trek at 9:30, we took our time, enjoyed the views, and reminded ourselves that this was not the Italian Grand Prix. We let groups pass us on the steep rocky trail.
Greta was right, the first vertical stone steps were a killer as they were still wet from the rain and the trail was single file at the widest points. In most places there were no handrails and the leading edge of the trail went straight down to the sea.
It was 11:15 when we saw the first glimpse of our destination, Vernazza in the distance. There were so many panoramic views and the weather was perfect, a little warm because of our walk and jeans, but not too bad. At noon we heard the bells of the Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church welcoming us.
Without a doubt, this was one of the most strenuous hikes we have taken. Because of the narrow terrain, the slippery rocks, and the vertical incline, this one tops our Best Hikes List. It made running down the Masada’s Snake Path in Israel seem like a piece of cake.
At the bottom of the path we met other hikers and day tourists who were enjoying lunch in this iconic village. Many people had come by train and some by the ferryboat that travels between hamlets.
We chose to share a pizza at Pizzeria F.LLI Basso and talked to a group of young ladies from England and a family from Sao Paulo in Brazil. We also talked to a family with four young children from China who were delightful. We have met such friendly people on this trip.
After our lunch we went to the pier where the ferry comes in and climbed on the rocks for some more photos. Vic saw a gentleman with a Brazilian flag on his hat and we talked to them for a while. Such gracious folks, they invited us to visit them in Paraná the next time we go to visit our family in Brazil.
By 3:00, it was time for us to head back to the train station to validate our Trek/Train tickets and travel back to Monterosso al Mare. The train was a bit late, but we had great conversations with a family from Switzerland and a doctor from Tennessee while we waited.
Although Cinque Terre is a tourist destination, most come in for only a day and visit the shops, take a few photos, and enjoy a great meal. We have been so lucky to be able to savor our time here and get a sense of the real jewels of this Italian coastline.
Accommodations: Margherita Hotel - - - Meal: B, L, D
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Love your photos! We stayed several days in Riomaggiore many years ago after we heard about it in Rick Steves' book. We had about 100 steps to get to the apartment we rented that looked straight down to the sea! Watching this during a storm was fascinating! We had planned to go again, but the hiking paths still hadn't been repaired from the terrible damage of a storm. I'm glad you had such a sunny day!
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Loved your log! I just loved the week we spent here along the coast. Yes, hikes were difficult due to the huge stone steps but the views sure made up for it. I just went back and looked at my pictures - what nice memories. We loved the train too! We stayed in interesting little tucked away places - we had a group of about 11 on the kayak trip - some did try to go out one day, but after a broken rudder on one boat and other misc. things, I was glad I was watching from the shore! Food all along the way was excellent - washed down with Limoncello every night! Our guide got us into restaurants early every night so we beat the crowds! And - there was always lots of gelato!!
Day 15 – Tuesday, October 25, 2022 – Return Flights to the USA
Our bags are unpacked, the laundry is done, and we are trying to get back on Colorado body clock time. Our trip home was long but basically uneventful, always a good thing!...