With a baby in a backpack!
In July Paul, Phoebe and I hiked all five cliff-side towns of Cinque Terre and loved it. It’s actually five villages bound together by an ancient hilltop trail. As Wikipedia says:
The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy. “The Five Lands” comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
The Cinque Terre is noted for its beauty. Over centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible “modern” development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach it from the outside. It is a very popular tourist destination.
We stayed in Vernazza (above), which is known for being small and quaint. And it was. Except for our hotel. I’d booked us a room, after carefully combing the Trip Advisor site and selecting the Number 2 most popular hotel, but now I’m not sure why.
Our room was located atop five stories of steps. But in order to climb the steps you had to carefully navigate the obviously much remodeled staircase, sometimes including narrow interior doors belonging to other guests, sometimes getting smaller, sometimes getting bigger but always extremely steep. When we did arrive in the room, we found no AC but instead a lonely old fan whose plastic cover fell off immediately.
On the bright side, we had a balcony and a bonus room where we set up the crib for Phoebe. Unfortunately, the room was separate from ours and included a external lock from the hallway, making it necessary for one of us to sleep in the room with her at night. No matter, she had the fan. But the really crazy, and I do mean crazy, part of this set up was its proximity to the train track. We were about 20 yards away from the Grand Central Station of the Italian countryside. Night and day, day and night, trains would whiz past at such a speed that the entire building shook, windows rattled and doors actually slammed. It was nothing short of thundering. All day. All night. All I can say is, why? Why, dear Trip Advisor readers?
The hiking however, was worth it. We really had the best time climbing the paths together. Our first stop was Monterosso (above and below), the largest of the five villages. And the beach was especially refreshing after our 1-1/2 hour hike along the hills. Gorgeous but hot. (Phoebe got to wear Paul’s water-soaked bandanna to keep cool. He did not.)
Saltwater, sand, and lunch with gelato followed.
More in a bit.