THURSDAY, JULY 21, 2011
Hiking Cinque Terre (Wednesday 7/20/11)
After an all day rain on Tuesday, Wednesday greeted us with sun and warmth once again. The two times of rain we have had on this trip have come at the best time for us that they could, and yesterday being mostly a day in transit was no exception.
Today we would hike the Cinque Terre (CHINKwa TEHrah) trail(s). The cinque towns are actually villages tucked into the cliffside along the Italian Riviera. A trail connects all five of the villages, and at times a portion of the trail gets closed due to landslides or other bad conditions as was the case from Corniglia to Manarola this day. We had the option of taking a shuttle bus, the train, or walking the detoured route. We, of course, chose to walk the 3 mile more difficult, mountain trail! We climbed rocks, scampered some scree, (and me without my trekking poles) (and Susan without the ten essentials -- more about this later) and walked along the terraced wine fields above the sea. Without this detour we would have missed spectacular views of the villages way down below us, the wild white surf crashing along the rocky coastline, the blues of the beautiful Mediterranean, the lush vineyards, and the farm homes that dotted the countryside.
We hiked just about ten miles and with a variety of stops - photo ops, gawking, eating our packed lunch, and meandering in a town or two - we were out for seven hours. The train back to our home village took nine minutes.
There was such beauty with each bend in the trail, it was difficult to know what photo to take. As it turns out, I don't think we took very good photos of much of it, so you will have to make a trip here to enjoy the beauty more than we are able to convey to you.
Nearing the end at the final town of Riomaggiore, the trail is named "Via dell'Amore" (Pathway of Love) and a tradition of padlocks (you can see a few of them above our heads) has been carried on by lovers who place a lock somewhere to signify their locked love. By the number of locked locks here, there are many lovers locked together out there.
At the end of the day, we met up with a few folks we had been seeing along the way, and chatted about the hike. As it turned out, we were the only ones who hiked the mountain detour, and everyone was impressed that we had done it all (the white hair fools them every time). They called us courageous and gave us high fives all around, and we could tell they were envious and a bit in awe.
We head back to Nice on Thursday.