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Adventures of a short vet

Walking the Terraces

ITALY | Monday, 11 April 2011 | Views [415]

I rose early to catch the local train to Monterossa, the northern-most town in the chain of villages where I was planning on starting my walk back down to Riomaggiore. There was a sign up saying something about the trail being closed, but the actual trail seemed open, so I decided to chance it. Made it all the way to the top of the trail, walking with another couple of Americans I’d met on the trail, only to find it most definitely blocked off due to landslides. A couple of crazy Germans decided to ignore the gate, saying “No fear, no fun!” but I didn’t fancy falling off a cliff into the sea so early into my travels. So I descended the 3000 or so steps back to the town (I may be slightly exaggerating here), and caught the train to the next town, Vernazza, where I had lunch near the port. I decided to try the #7 trail that heads up along the ridgeline rather than the #2 trail that hugs the sea (which was closed), but somehow missed the turnoff and ended up taking the #2 trail all the way to the third town, Corniglia. There were no signs of landslides. I then managed to find the #7 trail which climbed up…and up…and up…and then along narrow, crumbling paths skirting the terraced cliff edges. Apparently the landslide was between Corniglia and the next town, Manerola, which would explain the hordes of 60-something walkers tottering along the trail. Tip of the day: do the walk from north to south as I did, as most people seem to do it in the opposite direction, which means you don’t get stuck behind massive tour groups of (mostly) pensioners defying the risk of heartattacks and broken hips. After a much needed ice-cream in Manerola, I walked along the paved “Via Dell'Amore" (Love walk) to Riomaggiore, checking out all the locks hooked up to the fence, which reminded me of the Bridge of Hearts in Paris.

A few more people had arrived at the hostel so we ended up having a few drinks, and then heading out to a pub, where one of the silly American girls made a stupid comment about how “lame” it was that she couldn’t use her credit card to buy a E3 glass of wine, thoroughly pissing the barman off. She then refused to let us buy her a drink and instead tried bringing a bottle of wine from the shop onto the terrace of the bar, which of course brought the barman out in under a minute to tell her off again. I was thoroughly embarrassed to be associated with her and suddenly felt really old.

Tags: cinque terre, unesco heritage site, villages

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