August 21, 2015





Exploring by train ……


Since we did not have AC the warmer temperate in the room was waking us up pretty early. And after a nice shower Tom started to set up breakfast, while I headed into the village to pick up fresh rolls and some chocolate (Nutella) filled doughnuts. The table was all laid when I returned and we sat down to have a nice breakfast before heading out.

We even tried the local orange marmalade and it was delicious, so we knew we could buy a few more jars to take home as gifts. And after cleaning the kitchen we got our stuff together and walked down to the train station. We had just missed a train going to Riomaggiore so we decided to head to the harbour and look around. There was a path leading out of the village to the village of Monterosso and we decided to follow it for a while. It wound through the village for a while and then opened up to a small path overlooking Vernazza. The views were stunning. We followed to path and came to the National Park gate, where we showed our Cinque Terre Card and walked on.

The stones were pretty slippery and there were steep hills going up and down and since we did not have chosen hiking shoes in the morning we gave up after a while and slowly walked back into Vernazza.

We had not even noticed it, but we had been climbing up and down these paths with a great view for more than an hour and when we got back into the village we were both thirsty and hot, so Tom picked up a beer, while I opted for an ice-cream and a bottle of water and we sat down on some steps near the train station and enjoyed our goodies. Once we were done we headed over to the train station and waited for the train to Riomaggiore. Didn’t take long and the train arrived. Got on and found some nice seats and soon we were on our way. It is just a very short train ride and soon we had reached our destination and got off the train. Riomaggiore at around lunch time was packed.

We went with the flow and walked down to the harbour, where we were greeted by some beautiful views. We walked all the way around the harbour and up to some higher area where we could take in that part of the village. It was just beautiful, but there were so many people pushing in that we felt like we had to leave our spot rather sooner than later. We walked back towards the train station and into the village center as we wanted to relive the walk we had taken with Umberto a year ago. It was so packed. Getting through the underpass under the train station was hard, but finally we had made it to the other side.

Still lots of people, but since the walkways were wider it didn’t feel that crowded. It was now past noon and we were seeing lots of people with cones of fried seafood walking around, so that was something we wanted to try and have for lunch as well. And after a few steps we saw the first of many fried seafood shops. There was a huge line out the door, we got in line and the line did not move at all. We waited for about 10 minutes in the same spot and then we gave up. Walking further up the hill we saw two more of these shops and out of the spur of the moment we headed for the one further up. There still was a line out the door, but when we got closer we saw the huge cones people were carrying out and were very much looking forward to try one of them.

It took us a few minutes to make it to the front of the line and we picked up a large bottle of icy-cold water and a cone of fried seafood. Happy we made our way outside and were faced with the fact that there were no tables or anything nearby to sit and eat. But then something hit our eyes – there was a really high spot on the sidewalk as it was moving upwards, at the edge of the street where we could sit. Walked up and sat down and laughed out loud because there we were sitting in the street, enjoying lunch out of a cone. We both had a huge gulp of water first and then started to tackle the cone, which had small fried fish and fried calamari in it.

And while we were still digging in we were both so happy we had not ordered two of those, as there was more than enough for the both of us to share. The bottle of water was easily emptied and once we were done and had cleaned ourselves of any crumbs we slowly walked up the hill. But not very far. There had been an ice-cream shop the year before, where we had had some heavenly gelato and we were just approaching it. Needless to say that we stopped, picked up some ice-cream and were enjoying it, while we, very slowly, walked up the hill. Soon we found the steps that lead up to a beautiful little church and we sat on one of the benches in front of it finishing our ice-cream and enjoying the view.

Once we were done we headed inside the church. It was beautiful and cool inside and they offered candles to light again, so that was what we did. After a short while we left the church again and walked on right along the way we had walked with Umberto.

But a little into the walk there was a path on the right leading up to a small tower. We had not been up there the year before, so that was where we wanted to go. Took a bit of stamina in the heat to walk up that steep hill, but we took our sweet time and were rewarded instantly when we got to the top. There was a viewing platform and the view from there was stunning. Quite a few people were up there, sitting on the benches. We just stood there for a while, then a couple left and their bench was empty, so we sat down and took in the view over the sea for quite some time.

After some time and some rest we started our walk down, taking the long route along the outskirts of the Riomaggiore. It was a beautiful day and we were walking towards the entrance of the Via del amore, the walk of love, which runs along the cliffs and connects Riomaggiore and Manarola. It had been closed due to part of the walk breaking off but it had been a few years and I had not found any information on it being still closed. Well, it was still closed and we walked up to where we could see the iron gate that was closed, so we quickly changed our plans and headed for the train, going back to Vernazza and having a walk around there.

So to the train station we went. Trains in the opposite direction towards La Spezia came and went, but nothing in the direction we wanted to go. When we arrived there were just a few people around, but we had been waiting for about an hour and the platform was super crowded by now. And then a train was announced, but all the noise on the platform made it hard to understand what was said, so we got on anyway, well, at least we tried to get on. Finally we found a door that was still open and we just squeezed in. It was pretty hard standing there while the train was in the station, let alone when it started moving. But it was only a few minutes to Vernazza, or was it not. No, it wasn’t, as the train was just going through the station in Vernazza.

We had picked a fast train. So we prepared ourselves for going to Genova if it came to the worst, but thankfully the train stopped in Monterosso. So we were swept out of the train with a lot of other travelers. We quickly checked the boards if there was a train back to Vernazza and yes, there was, so we hot footed it to the correct platform and when we arrived the train was already in the station. Again, it was pretty full, but we were able to cram in and this time we even got a spot in the middle of the compartment, so we did not have to be afraid of falling against the door. Just a few minutes later the train doors opened and we got off and after leaving the station we just walked towards our apartment. It was nice being back there, even if it was rather very warm inside. We grabbed some drinks out of the fridge and took showers and sat out in our little garden for a while before around early evening we decided to head into Vernazza again for some dinner. We had a look around and decided on a restaurant toward the far end of the main square. We were lucky to score a table without a reservation and soon were brought some wine and a bottle of water and some bread to start our meal with. It did not take long until our pizzas were brought out. Tom had ordered a Frutti di Mare pizza and mine was a Prosciutto e Funghi one. They were both delicious, even more so when you figure in that we enjoyed them with a view of the beautiful harbour of Vernazza.

Once we had finished our dinner we slowly strolled back to our place, picking up a few things along the way and we then grabbed another drink and sat outside on the swing watching the sun set. We made it an early evening that day as we wanted to be out and about early the next morning. We watched a little more computer TV in bed before falling asleep.