The day started off like yesterday, with more heavy rain, low, threatening clouds and not much hope for a change. We had a very satisfying breakfast in the hotel then looked outside where the rain had eased and we decided to risk the walk to Riomaggiore. We set off in light rain, but as the walk progressed, it dissipated and eventually turned into a nice, sunny day. As usual, we started off with a false start down by the harbour where a narrow path went in the direction we intended, but came to an abrupt halt at the edge of a cliff. We retraced our steps and went up to the park office in the railway station to pay the park fee, obtain maps and other literature and be set on the right trail above the station. After a steep climb up a narrow stairway we joined the path called the Via dell'Amore (Street of Love). The walkway was level and well paved, running along between a wall which went high above us and a steep cliff to the sea. It offered spectacular views of the cliffs, the surrounding towns and the passing boats.
We reached Riomaggiore and took an elevator to the main part of the town. We walked down the main street and purchased cheese, ham and fruit to go with the buns we had acquired in Pisa. We continued down the narrow road to the sea and found a stone seat above the harbour to have our lunch. The sun had come out by this time and the weather was a lot more settled. We returned up the main street and back down another road to the train station. We attempted to use the internet there and were successful in sending and receiving emails, but could not update the web site. We walked back to Manarola and caught a train to Corniglia, the village in the other direction from Riomaggiore. The path between the two towns is under repair and closed to the public. We made the long climb up a switch back road from the railway station to the town. The main street is a narrow lane with stores and homes opening directly onto the roadway. We went into one of the cafes and had ice cream, where Nan had an interesting "conversation" with an elderly Italian lady, neither of whom spoke the other's language. Christine found many different flowers to admire and photograph, using this as an excuse to rest from the hot, tiring climb, both up and down, telling me that retirement was a time to stop and smell the flowers, even if there were no roses in sight.
We continued to the end of the road which concluded in a wide viewpoint overlooking the Mediterranean where we could look back on Manarola. We returned to the train station via a long stairway which wound back and forward till we reached the level of the station. We returned to Manarola and walked back to our hotel.
We have now seen three of the five villages comprising the Cinque Terre and each has its own character. Manarola is a bustling tourist/fishing village with the main street lined with boats and restaurants, live with activity. Riomaggiore is more laid back, with quiet side streets and stores catering to local villagers, who get precedence in service. Carniglia is a hillside town dependent on the grape, not the sea for its existence and is a warren of narrow, curving streets occupied by a mixture of tourists and local people, each vying for space in the restricted area squeezed between vineyards and cliffs.
We rested, dozed and read till it was time for dinner. We ate at the hotel restaurant overlooking the harbour and again had a delicious seafood dinner followed by a stroll round the seafront and part way up the main street.
Tomorrow we hope to visit the remaining two villages making up the Cinque Terra, Monterosso and Vernazza.