Now the part of the trip that everyone has been waiting for….the Cinque Terre.
I was gorgeous and relaxing and the perfect way to split up sight seeing in Florence and Rome. You are feeling stressed and hot on the train wondering how much longer you are going to be in tunnels and then suddenly you come out and all there is blue water and sunshine. Sigh.
Anyway if you are not familiar with the Cinque Terre, it five small towns on the coast of Italy that are connected by hiking trails and the train. We stayed in Vernazza and it was perfect.
The Cinque Terre does not have many hotels because the towns are so tiny, and most people rent private rooms. We rented from Maria Capellini and her husband Giaccomo. Our room was in the yellow building right on the square. They were the sweetest couple and made us feel so at home the two nights we were there.
We arrived on a Sunday (when I snapped most of these pics) and so it looks a lot more crowded than it was on Monday.
We arrived in the afternoon and of course it was hot, so we grabbed our suits, ate lunch on the harbor, drank some Italian beer and went to the beach. Heavenly.
That night we probably had our best meal of our entire vacation. The seafood was amazing as well as the views of the Mediterranean. Of course this was the dinner that I decided “let’s not be a tourist and bring the giant camera bag with us to dinner…just slip the little one into your pocket” So this is the only picture of the meal we have….Derek’s first course. Amazing (and under 10 euro). My seafood spaghetti and sea bass encrusted in sea salt was the best fish I have ever had. And the Cinque Terre wine was delicious as well.
Vernazza at night-
The next day was the hike. We decided to take the first train out to start by 7:30 and try to beat the heat. Also the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza was supposed to be the most physically strenuous so we wanted to start with that.
Monterosso is the morning was deserted but gorgeous.
Then we started the hike. Let’s just say the first leg was a little more physically demanding than we expected. It was very steep and the whole “let’s try to beat the heat” thing…well that did not really work out. I am not a sweater and my shirt was soaked within in the first half hour. I consider us to be in reasonably good shape (I run three days a week) and honestly this first trail kicked our butts.
At this point the blog actually came up.
J: You know Emily from Imperfect?
D; One of your blog friends?
J:Yes (gasping for breath)…she did this hike at the end of her second trimester. It was not 105, but she still did it successfully. So if we can’t do it we are total wimps.
So everyone needs to tell Emily what a rock star she is.
Anyway we ended up completing the hike and it was so worth it for the views and after the first leg it was much easier. The last leg was so flat that it was paved. But in some ways I liked the first leg the best as Derek and I were the only ones there and was very peaceful. But enough talking…here are the pictures-
Monterosso after we started hiking into the hills-
Our first glimpse of Vernazza-
Coming into Vernazza-
After going through Vernazza, we came to Corniglia-
The views were amazing
And the water was so blue
The town of Manarola-
Finally to the paved part. No pics of me will make the blog because at this point I looked just a tad sweaty. A lot of women were wearing just their bras to hike in. Not swimsuit tops or sports bras…just regular bras. Not sure if that is a European thing, or I am so hot that I don’t care and I will never see these people again thing.
Anyway we stopped in the final town Riomaggiore for a late lunch and more Italian beer. Then we hopped the train back to Vernazza and went back to the beach for our last afternoon in the Cinque Terre before heading for Rome in the morning. I took at lot more pics and if you would like to see more go here. Hope you enjoyed seeing the Cinque Terre as much as we enjoyed relaxing there!