Monday 23 June 2008

Rain drops in the garden

You don't need to travel to a far away country to take photos like these. A stroll around your garden or a nearby park will do just fine.

You will have the best chance of taking nice photos if you catch the morning dew, before it vanishes back into the air. Usually also the light is just right at that time of day.

If you are not one of those early birds and have never seen the morning dew before, you might also wait for some rain.
That is just what I did. I waited inside until it stopped raining and then went photo-hunting in the garden. Sun came out from behind a cloud just at the right time.

If you live in a place where you could get really old waiting for rain, you can also use some water to create your own rain. All you have to do is sprinkle it on a leaf and create a perfect composition. I know some photographers do it with spiderwebs and get stunning results. I have to try that someday.

When you find a proper motive, you just need a photo camera with a macro mode (usually marked with a flower) and some patience. I believe anyone can do it.

For the best result I suggest that you take some extra photos. Usually it is hard to see if everything is the way you wanted from your camera display. I suggest you pick out the really sharp photos later on your computer.


Monday 16 June 2008

Cinque Terre trail times information

When planning a hiking trip it is crucial to know how long will it take to reach your destination. That is why hiking distances are usually measured in hours.

Last week I came across a table including most of the paths in the Cinque Terre National Park. Walking times are a big part of it.

Unfortunately this was a bit late for me, because I just got back from the area. Here it is anyway - only for you.

Cinque Terre Hiking Trails




Walking Time

The Cinque Terre Lower Trail from Monterosso to Riomaggiore
2 Monterosso Riomaggiore 5 hr
The Cinque Terre Lower Trail from Monterosso to Riomaggiore
2 Monterosso Vernazza 1 hr 45 min
2 Vernazza Corniglia 1 hr 45 min
2 Corniglia Riomaggiore 1 hr 30 min
The High Trail from Levanto to Portovenere
1 Levanto Portovenere 12 hr
The High Trail from Levanto to Portovenere (part by part)
1 Levanto Colla di Gritta 2 hr 30 min
1 Colla di Gritta Drignana 1 hr 30 min
1 Drignana Cigoletta 2 hr
1 Cigoletta La Croce 1 hr 45 min
1 La Croce Telegrafo 1 hr 15 min
1 Telegrafo Portovenere 3 hr
Trails Up from the Cinque Terre Towns
9 Monterosso Soviore 1 hr 30 min
17 Soviore P.So Bardelone 2 hr
7 Vernazza Ricco D. Golfo 3 hr 30 min
8 Vernazza Drignana 1 hr 30 min
Trails from Levanto
1 and 10 Levanto Monterosso 2 hr
14 Levanto Colla D. Bagari 1 hr 30 min
19 Levanto Foce di Lavaggio 2 hr
21 Levanto Foce di Montale 2 hr 15 min
18 Levanto P.So Bardelone 2 hr
12 Levanto Colla di Gritta 1 hr 15 min

You can find the original table on the Slow Travel web page.

We were sad to leave the place without trying out at least a couple more of the tempting paths. We had to head back home at least a few days too early. Maybe next time...

If you liked this post and are interested in more information on our trip, please click on this link or on the Cinque Terre label in the right frame.


Monday 9 June 2008

What food to try when in Cinque Terre?

When in Italy you most definitely have to try the local cuisine as often as possible. I suggest you stay away from hamburgers and French fries while around. If you just can't get along without at least some kind of junk food, I'm pretty sure you can find some local supplement.

Pizza and various pasta dishes can be found all over Italy, but every region has also something special to offer. Liguria is no different (Cinque Terre National Park is situated in the Liguria region).

Best known dishes throughout the region of Liguria are pansoti, trofie, pesto, frisceu, focaccia with cheese and farinata.
Considering the region has lots of coast, sea-food is also very popular. One can find almost any kind of sea dish here: mussels, crab and lobster, tuna, anchovies and many other sorts of fish.
There is also a variety of wine produced there (mostly various dry whites).

M. and I both love Italian food, but this time we were not very successful in finding and tasting many of the dishes mentioned above. There are just so many things to do and always so little time. Budget can also be an important issue - good food is never cheap.

Despite all that, we did try some of the local specialties. One of those is (as I already mentioned in one of my earlier posts) freshly made pesto sauce.

Another simple dish also caught our attention. It was Focaccia con le olive - delicious salty bread with olives (you can see some leftovers on the first photo). We also stopped at a local enoteca for a couple glasses of local wine. It wasn't cheap, but we really enjoyed the wine and relaxed atmosphere. We sat there for quite a while and watched people walking by.

If you liked this post and are interested in more information on our trip, please click on this link or on the Cinque Terre label in the right frame.


Monday 2 June 2008

A hike from Vernazza to Monterosso

Before we knew it, our last day reserved for hiking in the Cinque Terre National Park came along.

At the beginning of our trip we were a bit sceptical about the amount of time we had planned. I guess most tourists make a one day trip to the area. I have to say we weren't bored for a single moment during our four day stay and could easily spend another couple of days there.

The plan for this day was to visit the last two towns of Cinque Terre. We liked our experience the day before, so this time we had a similar plan - hiking up and down less crowded paths.

We started with a train to Vernazza where we concluded our last hike. First we visited a church in the center of the town and slowly headed uphill towards the sanctuary of Madonna di Reggio, following the path number 8. After 15 minutes or so we reached a place with a really fine view of Vernazza.

Also a strange "vehicle" caught my attention. It was some kind of a cart mounted to a single rail. The whole thing seemed more like a roller-coaster to me but had some kind of a transport trailer attached to it. The rail went around the corner of a really steep slope, so I guess riding it has to be quite an interesting experience.

After enjoying the view for a while, we went on our way. The path was relatively steep and M. was occasionally complaining (she likes hiking, but only until the path doesn't get too steep).

In an hour or so we reached the sanctuary, where we were able to freshen up by an old fountain. There were quite a few people around - it seemed that this place was quite a popular destination.

We didn't stick around for a long time. Soon we moved on towards our destination of the day. First we took a road uphill, but soon found a path which lead us to Santuario della Madonna di Soviore.

From there it was just a 45 minute descent to the town of Monterosso down the path number 9.

When we were nearing Monterosso it didn't seem very similar to the other four towns.
We headed straight to the sandy beach and into the sea. Only knee deep, but it was enough (Tyrrhenian Sea is still cold in the beginning of May). It was quite amusing to watch some trying-to-look-tough guys jumping in and then screaming and crying like babies. To me this seemed just so typical for a group of Italian guys.

When we got bored of sitting by the sea, we decided to look for the train station and check the timetable.
At first we couldn't find the station but signs eventually led us to a underground passageway leading to the other side of the hill. It was quite a surprise to find the other half of the city of Monterosso. And it was the nicer half. This inevitably postponed our departure.

In spite of that I still think Monterosso is the most commercial of the 5 towns. It is easily accessible with a vehicle and I would also say it has more hotels then the other four. Besides that it has a long stretch of sandy beach, which I guess is a people magnet by itself.

An hour and a half and an ice-cream later we finally caught a train to Levanto.

If you liked this post and are interested in more information about our trip, you are welcome to click on the Cinque Terre label in the right frame.

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