Monday, 11 June 2012

Day 3: Monday June 11th 2012 - Riomaggiore/La Spezia/Manorola/Corniglia

After having breakfast, we started the second day of our Italian adventure in La Spezia. As it's the only town of any size in the area, we headed in to get some supplies and a sim card as the options available in the village where we're staying are limited to (mostly) overpriced tourist essentials and no sim cards. The journey to La Spezia only took 8 minutes, and we spent a little time looking around the shops there, mainly bookshops before returning to Riomaggiore shortly after 12.00.

We bought two Cinque Terre cards, as it is necessary to acquire one before being allowed access to most of the paths. We had reservations initially as at the start of the trail near the railway station it was quite windy and cool. However, these fears turned out to be unfounded, as it was quite calm on the coastal route to the next village, Manorola, and we managed to get a few decent shots on the way there, which took a mere 20 minutes.

Manorala itself is as picturesque and photogenic as Riomaggiore, but instead of just one main street is appears to be divided into both upper and lowers sections, separated by a small piazza (square). The upper section is quieter and less commercial than the bottom half, although the bottom half has a greater selection of shops and places to eat and is a bit more lively. Upon reaching the bottom of the main street in Manorola, the bay opens out more than in Riomaggiore, affording some truly magnificent views of the village itself. Especially pleasing was as we were walking and the sun came out, which resulted in what I expect are some of my best photographs from this trip. After having a bit to eat - a traditional Genovese focaccia bread - we made our way back to the station to catch the train to the next village, Corniglia, as unfortunately the section of the trail between these two villages and the one after (Vernazza) is currently closed.

The train took all of a minute to reach Corniglia, and upon arrival there is the option of taking a bus, or a long but gently inclining set of steps up to the village, as it is located too high on the rock promontory for a train station to be able to feasibly reach it. This naturally leaves Corniglia feeling more secluded than the other two villages thus far, with narrower streets and tightly packed buildings - nevertheless, there is an area for a bus to come up on the only road leading to and from the mountain-top village, which is again quite an chievement. Corniglia itself is not my favourite village, but the different flavour of it was welcome, as the other two are fairly similar to each other, excepting the already-mentioned exceptional views.

Although Corniglia itself is high, walking through the centre of the village shows that there is another village even higher up than this one, although I haven't quite worked out how to get there yet - should I do so, I will definitely try to make it one of my achievements to get there before the end of my time here.

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