Thursday, 3 October 2013

Day 24 & 25 From Aulla, a detour to explore Cinque Terre

Thursday 3rd & Friday 4th October
 arriviamo Cinque Terre -"five lands" the first village of Riomaggiore
caught a taxi ( luxury, to save walking two km through the burbs - suburbs of Aulla) to Aulla train station, then I used my impressive Italiano to purchase our train tickets to Riomaggiore! The 9:20 am train goes all the way and stops there, too easy!
When we arrive, there's a flood of tourists on and off the train at Riomaggiore, we find our way to our booked room- on the waterfront of the Harbour - Patrick checks our room number, ours is the next level up...
very pricy for us at 95 euro a night! the room isn't ready, so after a funny phone call, and then a call from the owner, Paolo to la mamma, (Hilarious, Paolo insisted on talking to me, 'cause he couldn't understand Patrick's Italian...) we walk up more stairs and leave our heavy packs with la mama, who is 82 years old and lives in the apartment above ours.
leaving us free to wander unencumbered until the room is ready at 14:00. We found a lovely Caffé spot, La Grotta
on the Main Street built into the rock. (The toilets are downstairs in a cute cave area too)
Had lunch at La Lanterna- on the harbour, delicious I had an antipasti of mixed local seafoods, Patrick had green gnocchi with vongole (clams) 
Wandered around the church, 
Interior of Riomaggiore church near the Castello
the castle and the up and down streets of Riomaggiore are just beautiful!

View from the main piazza, and street down towards the Harbour 
I really can't believe our appartment!! stunning, amazing, how lucky we are!
Went for a swim after we settled into our room in the rocky Harbour straight below our apartment (I forgot to pack my swimmers... so went in for a dip in my black sports bra and knickers...)
Decided to have dinner in after our lovely lunch, so I wandered up the Main Street for a little shop! as usually, I bought way too much food! well, plenty there for breakfast and morning snack on our walk tomorrow! Dinner and sunset on our balcony.
Met Daviddo, nephew this evening, he's studying languages at uni in Pisa (what an exotic place to study at !) He travels by train each day.

Friday 3rd October
woke up nice and early at 6:30 am - after being soothed to sleep by the gentle sounds of the waves in the Harbour - dressed and ready for the local train to Monterosso (btw, if you're Australian, don't stay in Monterrosso for the beach! it's the usual Mediterranean beach) 
Monterosso's apparently busier than all the other villages, 
we have a wander, the Ape is the farm vehicle of choice used  in this area of steep hills and narrow paths
and of course we have a Caffé, then start off on the walk through the terraced vineyards towards the next village of Venazza.
The walk through the steeply terraced grape and olive groves is stunning, even though it's overcast today. Stunning views,
lots of steps - seems almost relaxing with no big pack on today!
incredible work to build these stone walls little bridges and terraces!
Some terraces are in danger of collapse, as a few farmers have given up tending the land due to the difficulties.
Nets being laid out ready for the olive harvest 
Vernazza is the next village along from Monterosso and is lovely
We pass some fascinating machinery designed to cope with transporting heavy loads up the steep steps!
 we have a Caffé, (doppio !) 
 walk up to the castle, to check out the views
a little more of a wander around...
there's a documentary being filmed, they were using a remote controlled 8 propeller helicopter with a camera for the aerial shots.
I look in the church - lovely simple stonework and symmetry.
 The coastal walk from Corniglia and Riomaggiore is still closed due to landslides two years ago.
We decide to catch the boat from Vernazza back to Riomaggiore (14€ for two, solo andare) 
At the Harbour, we see the groups of tourists with their tour guides... I'm reminded why I prefer to do my own travel organizing!
It's fascinating to see the five villages from the sea
Corniglia - which the boat doesn't stop at, as it doesn't go right down to the sea or have a Harbour 
We didn't get to go to Manorola this trip either.... another reason to return! 

Back off the ferry, we head up the stairs to our appartment and have some lunch and a little siesta! what a luxury!
Patrick has another swim (that's him on the right near the rocks)
Emerging from our rest at the civilized hour of 4 pm, we head off for an evening stroll and aperitif. Past locals chatting
And up the street to soak in some more sights and sounds of Riomaggiore 
View from above the church tower
we decide to stick to a good, known option for our dinner out tonight, and elect to go to La Lanterna in the Harbour ... where we had lunch yesterday, it was delicious again! (too busy eating to take photos!) 
When we arrive back at our apartment after dinner we meet with the owner Poalo, who gives us a bottle of his homemade limoncello, we share a delicious glass together, and a plateful of sweet homemade cornetti pastries!

We both needed a little rest after three weeks of walking, some VF sections were quite challenging, and we definitely chose the right village! After walking sections of the Cinque Terre, and sight seeing by boat, I think Riomaggiore is the cutest of the five villages, not too busy, but lots to offer.... Valpromaro also seemed lovely, I would love to return and explore more one day!
Buonanotte, off to sleep to get ready for our return to,the VF - via Francigena domani mattina (tomorrow morning)
Our accommodation in Riomaggiore
self contained, harbourside apartment 174 
PH:3346194505  Paolo
run by Paolo, nephew Davidde speaks English
95€ per night - October website has details of the wonderful trails, some lesser known ones too

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