I was about to go to Marseilles as I was already in the south of France. I decided at the very last minute that I would tag along with Matt to Italia.
I think it was one of the best spontaneous decisions I have made, #noregrets.
The harmony of nature and the built environment there is incredible, there is nothing like it I have ever seen.
In fact, I could describe La Cinque Terre as having the serenity of mountains and the lush green of nature, against a backdrop of the turquoise sea licking against the sheer cliff faces that dive vertically into the water.
I think it was one of the best spontaneous decisions I have made, #noregrets. We got the train from Nice Riquier and it took approximately forty minutes to get to Ventimiglia (Vintimille). There we would change onto an Italian train to La Spezia Centrale, the longest five hour ride of my life.
Since I only had 3G connection in France, once we were on the train we were offline until we found either a café or accommodation. That was the thing though, we didn’t have accommodation booked and we were just hoping for something to be cheap and available.
We managed to find a hotel with the last available room, but it was a single bed. We took it anyway, and took turns sleeping on the floor – I was on the floor the first night and Matt was on the floor the second night. Even if we wanted to share the bed, it was so small that it would have been more than awkward. Hahaahahah
Here’s a photo of the cocktails we drank to celebrate finding cheap(ish) accommodation.
The next day was for hiking. La Cinque Terre was awaiting our arrival.
We started in Riamaggiore, the first town of the five (as given in the name: The Five Lands). We were advised that the hiking time between this town and the next (Manarola) was approximately 3hrs. We made it in under fifty minutes.
I was seriously about to pass out as I breached the summit.
There were something like 750 steps, climbing an extremely steep and extremenly narrow path over the mountain. I was determined to push through until I reached the top – I was seriously about to pass out as I breached the summit. Ha!
On the otherside, the decline was as acute as the incline. There were people walking in thongs, street shoes, etc and they were holding on to the sides or whatever they could grab to avoid falling down the mountain. Matt and I simply hopped down with such ease it was funny.
The towns are beautiful, the architecture is fairly uniform across all of them. Here in the plaza the town’s people flew various flags, which we surmised might have some heraldic signification.
We made it to Vernazza and walked over to the last of the cinque terres, Monterosso al mare. The climb here was not difficult but the climb was consistent. At one of the false peaks we turned around and were treated to such a beautiful view.
We came around the mountain and had Monterosso al mare in our sights, we descended into the village and over a bridge. I realised quickly before I crossed the bridge that there was a 30 metre drop on either side, dear god did I freak!
There we bathed in the mediterannean sea. The day was scorching and we assumed the water would be freezing, BUT it was fairly warm – hopefully nothing to do with the children swimming nearby.
Lunch was to die for, seafood by the seaside. I got Grilled Swordfish and Matt had Grilled Sea Bass.
I will always remember the colours, the sights, the blend of nature and architecture, and the magic of being seaside.