Monday 27th May 2019
Corniglia, Italy (walk from Corniglia to Manarola)
Up late today, went to the shop to buy eggs, bread, butter, milk and yogurt then back to the room to cook and eat it. At around 10:15am, we set off on a walk from Corniglia up through the hills to the next town Manarola. It was a very steep climb out of the town up very uneven steps. We went higher and higher and the path finally levelled out and became quite easy, walking with breathtaking views of the coastline and the sea as well as both Corniglia and Manarola. We stopped to admire the views as well as let some other walkers overtake us, although there weren’t too many on this track. For a while we walked through a pine forest and then out into terraced vines. Eventually we reached Volastra, a small village, at the top of the hill. The trail became quite odd as it actually went through someone’s back garden! After then, we came down on tracks that were sometimes rough and uneven, and we finally reached Manarola at around 2pm, had lunch there, strolled around the town, looking at the shops and the marina, then walked back to the station and caught the train to Corniglia, walked up the steep hill road ( easier than the 300+ steps on The Lardarina staircase, then had an ice cream and a relaxing rest of the afternoon. There was some problem with the trains this afternoon, quite a few were cancelled, so waited quite a while at Manarola. We had dinner in Corniglia tonight at the Enotica Il Pirun restaurant (David spaghetti with anchovies and Lynn baked anchovies with tomatoes and potatoes. Weather a bit showery this morning, but mostly fine and overcast during the day.
Tuesday 28th May 2019
Corniglia, Italy (Corniglia to La Spezia by train, La Spezia to Portovenere by bus, Portovenere to Monterosso by ferry, Monterosso to Corniglia by train)
Today was our last full day in the Cinque Terre and we were up late, had breakfast by about 10 am, then walked down and caught the train from Corniglia to La Spezia, about 12 minutes, bought our bus tickets then walked through the town to the bus stop for the twisty turn ride out to Portovenere. On the way, there is a large military base (Navy?). The harbour is extremely large and has a low breakwater about two thirds of the way across from one side to the other. Today there were also two very large cruise ships in the port with probably thousands of people on day trips to the local attractions. When we arrived in Portovenere, it was cool but fine. We had a drink in a bar (so that we could use their facilities) and then decided we would catch the ferry at 1:50pm. It headed off out through the heads of the bay. There was an old castle which was there to defend the harbour in the old days against pirates, Genoese, Pisa people and any other nasties who happened along. We travelled up the coast, stopping at Riomaggiore, Vernazza and finally Monterosso, but getting a great view of all the Cinque Terre towns on the way, including Corniglia where we’ve been staying. The coastline is extremely rugged with sometimes high cliffs and perpendicular drops into the sea, straight from the back of some houses, and quite a bit of slippage evidence. Other houses are built in such isolated positions you wonder how they survive with just a small plot of sloping land on which they grow grapes, vegetables, fruit such as oranges and lemons and olives. There are no cows or sheep here, so mostly food is sourced from the sea. We disembarked in Monterosso and checked out the shops there before catching the train back to Corniglia, walked up the hill then strolled around the town finally visiting the church, and cemetery, bought an ice cream, enjoyed a glass of wine, then out to dinner at La Posada Restaurant, then a short walk home and to bed around 11pm