Timeline: October 1st – 5th
For our last day in Cinque Terre we decided to tackle the toughest of the coastal hikes, the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza, with an option to continue on to Corniglia. We made a beeline for the trail after disembarking from the train, walking up what seemed to be a pretty steep ramp on the south end of the harbor that afforded a nice view as we looked back at town.
That steep ramp was just the beginning of what would be one of the tougher ascents of a climb I’ve encountered. Now I’m not comparing it to doing Half Dome in Yosemite in a day (eight plus miles straight up with 4,000 feet of elevation gain) but in the warm sun, that series of what seemed relentless steps was a worthy challenge. And the crowds. Each time you wanted to take a breather a long line of folks inched up behind you and propelled you onwards.
We finally made it to what would pretty much be the end of the ascent (there would be more ups and downs, but nothing substantial) and continued on the trail towards Vernazza. Did I mention it was crowded that day? It was like driving the 405 going through West Los Angeles at rush hour. The best part was that as we hiked along maintaining what we thought was a good pace in our hiking shoes, a not so young woman in high heeled boots blasted by us and we didn’t see her again until the end of the hike.
With the descent into Vernazza, we savored the fantastic view of its harbor, and exited the trail onto the main street, just down from the shop where I’d purchased a beer before. Faithful readers will recognize my keen belief in the virtues of rehydrating and so I bought a big Moretti, a Margherita Focaccia and sat on a step, watching the crowds go by as we topped up our tanks.
We really had intended to continue on a hike the remaining 3-4 miles to Corniglia, but the need to do some souvenir shopping back down in Manarola and the satisfaction of a long week of activity convinced us that what we’d done that day was enough. Sometimes the best option is to know when to stop.
After our return to camp we cleaned up, enjoying a bit of wine and some munchies from the stock of food we always carry, then drove down to Deiva Marina to have dinner at a restaurant we’d noticed our first day in town, the Albergo Restorante Eden. Here’s a review I wrote for Trip Advisor recently:
We ate here on our last night in Cinque Terre, saving our meal out (we had cooked in camp the prior nights). When we first arrived it wasn’t too crowded, but eventually filled up as the evening wore on. We ordered a mixed seafood appetizer plate, a lobster pasta primi and a prosciutto/fungi pizza to split.
The portion sizes were huge. We would have done well just splitting the appetizer plate, which was comprised of many different types of shellfish, Calamari, and local fresh catch. The biggest surprise was the lobster dish. We assumed it would be pieces of lobster in a light sauce, but instead we were presented with a whole lobster. For 15 Euros to boot.
Service was fast and friendly, the local wine by the liter quite reasonable. My only regret is that we saved the place for our last meal, as we would have eaten there again.
We returned to camp, sorry to be leaving this beautiful location but ready to move on to our next stop, Siena. We’d debated about spending a couple of nights near Pisa, but felt that a longer uninterrupted stay at Camping Colleverde would better suit our needs, giving us almost a week to relax before the arrival of Lyndsay Richter, our friend from Charlotte, on the following Saturday.
As we prepared to leave the next morning, I sat in the little hut near the reception area intent on posting an installment of the blog before hitting the road. The problems I’d experienced with the MacBook Pro recurred and then, the unit froze and after I did a hard re-boot, it failed to come back to life. This wasn’t good. We’d have to see what we could do in Siena once we arrived.
Monterosso to Vernazza Hike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0l1CzIydYc