Wednesday, 21 May 2008

From Manarola to Corniglia

Wandering around Manarola, we accidentally stumbled upon a small museum.
The museum offers free entrance for owners of Cinque Terre Card and features a video presentation (in Italian and English) about the history of wine making in the region. They also sell wine. You can buy a half liter bottle of their best CinqueTerre Sciacchetra for 100 EUR.
After visiting the wine museum and enjoying some cooling off by the sea in Manarola it was time to move on towards the town of Corniglia.

Before we went on, we climbed to the town's cemetery. The cemetery itself is nothing special, but it offers some really nice views of Manarola.

We continued using the Blue Path (Sentiero Azzurro) marked with number 2 on most maps (you can check out a map in my previous post for details).
This part of the way didn't take us long, but despite that we decided not to visit Corniglia on the same day. A few hundred steps uphill were another reason why we didn't do it.

The coastal path, as the name suggests, is relatively close to the sea. The town of Corniglia on the other hand is about hundred meters higher on a hill/cliff.
Train stations of all other Cinque Terre towns are on the same level with towns and relatively near sea level. The Corniglia train station is just next to the coastal path but some 20 minutes walking distance away from the town. It is not the distance, but the climb that might be a turnoff for some.

When we caught a train for Levanto it was already late in the afternoon.
Freshly cooked spaghetti con pesto Genovese with some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and a glass of Chianti Classico in front of our tent concluded a perfect evening.

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.


Friday, 16 May 2008

Via del Amore

I could also title this post "The most overrated part of Cinque Terre". In my opinion, that's just what Via del Amore is.

The fact is that this Path of Lovers is connecting two very charming towns - Riomaggiore and Manarola (the only green path on the map), but the path itself is nothing special. Yes, one can see some really interesting rock formations on the way from one city to the other, but that's about it.

Also the path is asphalted and nicely maintained, which if you ask me, is a downside really. As a consequence of that, even more crowds are drawn here - in fact I suppose this is the busiest part of Cinque Terre. It seems like all of the Japanese tourists visiting the area, come to check this place out. High heels and a Gucci (Armani or Versace) shopping bag are a must.

The thing that is supposed to be the most charming feature of this area are countless love graffiti covering almost every rock. It is supposed to be the cutest thing on the planet but I didn't see it that way. To me those scribblings seemed just as inappropriate as anywhere else.

Regardless of all that, M. and I have enjoyed the walk and the view, but if we knew what to expect, we would have probably taken one of the less crowded paths connecting the two towns. Other paths are situated a bit higher uphill and therefore offer better views.

We arrived to Riomaggiore in the morning, using a train. After a slow stroll around the little town and a short stop at the local church, we took the path to Manarola.

The second town looked even more charming then the first and we really took our time walking slowly.

In Manarola M. reminded me that her sugar level is getting low. A delicious chocolate ice-cream was just what she needed before we moved on. Our plan was to reach Corniglia on the same day.
More on that in the next post...

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.


Wednesday, 14 May 2008

An afternoon walk in Levanto

When we arrived to Levanto, it was already 3pm. By the time we settled in the Acqua Dolce Camping it was already too late for hiking. We decided to take it easy and go for a walk around Levanto. Maybe take a stroll through the town center, check if the Ligurian sea was still as wet as the last time we checked and go to sleep early.

Levanto is a charming little town, just perfect as a starting-point for hiking around the Cinque Terre National Park. The prices are a bit more reasonable and the town of Monterosso (the first of the Cinque Terre towns) is just around the corner.

If you want the best prices and really fresh goods, you just have to visit the covered marketplace, which unfortunately is only opened in the mornings. They usually have even quite a selection of fresh fish.

We also liked the sandy beach. It was quite empty when we went there (around the first of May). I don't want to know how it looks during the summer months. Only a few people were crazy enough to actually go into the water. Even those were mostly kids, playing with some kind of small wooden surf boards.
It was fun watching them for a while.

There are some really beautiful houses situated by the beach. You can see two of them on the above photos. Some of them almost look like mansions. I wonder if they offer accommodation.

The town center is full of different little shops. The one we liked the most is called "Il Laboratorio del Pesto alla Genovese". They produce their own pesto sauce, which the area is famous for. We bought it, tried it and enjoyed it.
They generally have two kinds: a fresh kind and a kind in sealed glasses. We tried both kinds and agreed that the fresh one was better.
If you don't know what to do with pesto sauce and how to use it, they will kindly offer a few suggestions.

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.

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