Day 13 - Friday, April 19, 2019 – Ride the Cinque Terre Train to Manarola; Explore the Fishing Village; Ride the Train to Corniglia, Ride the Shuttle Bus to the City Center; Explore Corniglia, Dinner in Monterosso al Mare
Breakfast at the hotel was very crowded today. The hotel was full and many families were here to celebrate the Easter Holiday. We talked to some travelers from Australia, always so cheerful and willing to joke.
As we did not have time to go to the remaining two of the five Cinque Terre villages yesterday, we bought another day pass on the National Park train system. We ventured south to the fishing village of Manarola, the oldest of the five villages, the church dates back from 1338.
We climbed on a path around the rugged rock formations to a little park that provided stunning views. We seem to be becoming jaded with all of these postcard-perfect photos, as each little town seems more colorful than the last.
Trains and ferryboats bring thousands of travelers to these little villages daily. Over the years, there are fewer local fishermen and more jobs that are filled by immigrant workers that cater to the tourists.
The shops in Manarola sold the same treasures of lemon pottery, postcards, and souvenir trinkets that look like those in the previous villages. We did find more bakeries with early morning shoppers buying breads, sandwiches, and pizza by the slice, in addition to delicious looking focaccia bread slices.
Our choice for a noon snack was a mozzarella cheese focaccia with fresh olive oil - delicious as we strolled among the Good Friday traffic. We talked to many students who are studying in semester aboard programs. As this was their Spring Break they were taking advantage of time to explore Europe before going back to the real world of university life.
The final town on our Cinque Terre list was Corniglia, sitting high up on the mountainside of the Mediterranean Coast. We rode the train from Manarola to the station at Corniglia and then we had to board a shuttle bus to take us to the top of the mountain.
The bus was a small 20-passenger vehicle, but we managed to squeeze at least 45 people for the 5-minute ride. During most of our time here in Italy, people have been very polite but getting on the shuttle bus was a mad rush. Fortunately, we made it on the same bus.
Corniglia is the smallest of the five villages and the only one without access to the sea. Of all of the Cinque Terre towns, this seemed to have the least charm and ambiance. Few people actually make it to this village, but as we were here, we wanted to make sure we did not miss even one of the five.
As we rode the train back to Monterosso al Mare, we talked about how lovely this area was in the spring and speculated at how crowded and busy it must be during the summer. We have seen a change just during the time we were here as more people arrived for the Easter break.
We took an afternoon break and worked on the journal and the photos to avoid the heat of the day. We went out again for a seafood & pasta dinner after the day tourists had gone.
Ristorante Moretto was just beyond our hotel and before the railroad arches. We had a spaghetti and seafood, with prawns, mussels, clams, and calamari as well as gnocchi and prawns. Yummy!
Our choice to locate in Monterosso al Mare has been a wise one as it was large enough to have many restaurants, shops, and beautiful views. After dinner we walked to our favorite gelato stand and then sat on a bench overlooking the Mediterranean to relish our evening.
Accommodations: Margherita Hotel - - - Meal: B, L, D
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