Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cinque Terre - Sore Legs & Butt Cracks

I know I went a little crazy with the number of pictures, but I think it is entirely worth the upload wait when you see these!  Last Sunday I took a day trip to Cinque Terre, an area on the north-western coast of Italy, composed of five small towns.  

Our day began with a train ride into the first town, Riomaggiore.  The first nine photos are from this town.  The best part, possibly of the whole day, was the Via dell Amore, which means the "Road of Love".  This road was more like stretch of sidewalk along the side of a cliff, completely with nets to prevent falling boulders from crashing onto the pedestrians below.  What made it amazing however were the inscriptions along the sides of the rocks and wooden timbers of dates, names, and lots of hearts.  According to the handout from the trip, the path was "originally built during the expansion of the railway line in the 1920's", but when an Italian journalist dubbed the path the Lover's Walk for a sign left by lovers, the name stuck.

We then briefly stopped in in Manarola, photo 10, and then took a train to Corniglia where our hike of death began.  The views were incredible, photos 11-16, but the "moderate hike" seemed somewhat like extreme mountain climbing. 

Finally we arrived in Vernazza, photos 17-20, extremely tired but not yet to our final town.  We grabbed a slice of pizza (okay, I'll be honest, I had a whole small pizza) and then took a look at the small cove where people were cooling off in the water.

Shortly after that, we jumped on our last train to Monterosso, photo 21, where we were promised a few hours to relax on the beach.  The beach was slightly different from what I am used to back in the States.  Most of the area was private beach were you were to pay for a chair if you wanted one, and the public areas were crowded enough to really get to know your neighbors.  We were met with a nonchalant attitude of the locals who didn't quite mind wearing speedos or a slip view of a nipple or butt crack (Yea, see the kid who ruined my photo, ha ha).  Even so, sitting on the shore with the sweet smells of sea salt and cigarettes, listening to beautiful language and laughs of the locals, and jumping out of the way of high tide with our belongings turned out to be an experience to remember, complete with views of the Alps on our train ride home, see last photos.

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