Cinque Terre, which literally means five lands, was our first stop on this Italy and Greece adventure, and man was it a treat. I’ve never seen such views before or hiked so many stairs. The Cinque Terre are five fishing villages perched on the Italian coastline strung together by hiking trails or a train line. We arrived by train and after a long day of traveling (it started with Ben and I’s version of the Amazing Race at 3:30 in the morning running around London very, very lost… needless to say we were ready to be there after traveling by bus, trolley, plane, train and foot) we headed straight to the room to drop our bags and head to the water. Everything here is straight up the mountain, meaning stairs on stairs on stairs.
We stayed in Vernazza, the fourth town along the coast and really loved it. It was quaint with amazing views and the perfect spot for sitting near the water.
I mean come on…. look at this place!
After some exploring we trekked up the trail to a little restaurant for wine and a view to accompany it.
We decided to do dinner near the water and naturally went for the pasta and pizza. We are in Italy after all!
So that was Sunday. Then came Monday. We started our day early and took the train down to the Monterosso al Mare to start our hike throughout the cities. I can not express enough how beautiful the sites are. Pictures just don’t cut it.
Here we are still bright eyed and bushy tailed because it was the first of our hikes. Instead of taking the path along the sea we opted for the mountain path. Holy straight up hill. Stair after stair we hiked.
I call this my thank goodness we made it to the first town face. And onward we went. The hikes between each town went straight up hill to the top then straight back down to the town.
Still all smiles, just a tad more sweat.
Now for the story of finding the secret beach: Guvano. I’ll give you directions.
First, instead of walking up the entire massive winding staircase (like we did at first) you don’t. You go down the not so obvious ramp beside it and follow to the right past a few homes. Then you reach the entrance to an old train tunnel. Against all inhibitions you proceed to enter said pitch black tunnel. Like you can’t see your hand in front of you black tunnel with eery drips of water. Throughout the .25 mile walk through tunnel you proceed to squeeze your husband’s arm and explain how you are confident bats will eat you alive, or that there is no end to the tunnel and request to turn around. But just keep walking. Then I assure you, you will see light at the end of the tunnel (WHOLE new meaning now). Say hello to the friendly Italian people by the tunnel (he called himself the beach keeper) and drop a euro or two in his bucket and keep following the path. Then you get to the side of the cliff and use the rope to get down. Finally you will see the most lovely of beaches.
Although incredibly glad we did it, I was SURE we were going to die. Needless to say, I had a bit more pep in my step to get back out of that tunnel on the way back.
More pasta, more bread! So much bread.
Cinque Terre, you stole our hearts and we truly are sorry we only gave you two nights when you deserve two weeks. This was a huge check off of Ben’s bucket list, as well as mine, and we promise to be back!