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As the Wind Blows

Week 16: Cinque Terra

ITALY | Friday, 8 July 2011 | Views [515]

Whilst hiking up and down the steep terrain from Corniglia to Vernazza in Cinque Terra I started philosophising to distract myself from the heat and the pain, and came to the conclusion that I would not like to know my future. The reason why is because *cough* *cough* if I could see how steep and difficult my future is, like I could see how steep and difficult climbing the mountain was, (if I had bothered looking up), I would have given up and never have done the hike. But if I hadn’t then I would have never got to experience the steep and narrow winding paths without barriers and of course the views from above. Whether it was worth it or if I had been better off taking the bus, well I’m yet to decide.

Cinque Terra literally means Five Lands; they were originally five fishing villages located on the coast of Italy. I’m a bit disappointed that I couldn’t include Cinque Terra in my Tales from Tuscany section, but the pure and simple fact is that these five towns are not located in Tuscany but in Levanto, a region that leads into France. It’s an absolutely gorgeous area with the colourful houses built on the cliffs that overlook and lead down to the ocean. I think that everyone should visit Cinque Terra at least once in their life. If you do, take the train, boat and/or bus to visit all the towns, unless you’re feeling extra energetic and it’s not ridiculously hot.

The beaches in the towns were very muddy in comparison to Australia. I’m beginning to understand why people always say Australia has beautiful beaches, because I’m yet to find a place that has nicer beaches or beaches that at the very least have actual sand and not pebbles, rocks or muddy-ish sand like these beaches seem to be.

Something else that we take for granted are the free beaches. At Monterosso, at two of the main beaches, you have to pay for a beach umbrella and change room. It’s not all that much to protect you from the sun all day and I suppose it reduces overcrowding during summer, but it’s the principle of paying for something that would otherwise be free that irks me. It’s a bit like having to pay to use the toilets in Europe. It irritates me that you have to pay for shopping centre, restaurant and another establishment’s bathroom facilities, because that should surely be included in the rent of the businesses using the premises. Random stand alone bathrooms I have no qualms about.

The boat ride from the last town (Monterosso) to the first town (Riomagiorre) of Cinque Terra was the most memorable part of the day and we got to see all the five towns from the ocean. I have to say that it was faster and a much nicer way to stop at all the towns than hiking. Who needs to hike when they can sail? If only I had a boat! Weather permitting, I think it would be the best and most relaxing way to see most of Europe, especially unspoilt areas such as Cinque Terra.


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