Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Day 4: Tuesday 12th June 2012 - Riomaggiore/Vernazza/Monterosso/Manarola

Today has been perhaps the most eventful, as we focused on the last two villages of the Cinque Terre, Vernazza and Monterosso Al Mare, and the walk between them. At first glance, Vernazza seems to have less going for it than the villages we've seen so far, as there appears to be a fair amount of building work going on and it is a little more faded round the edges on some of the buildings. However, there was a market selling local products and a few different books and souvenirs to look at in the shops, making for a pleasant change. Also, as you go behind the church to access the trail to Monterosso, the views open up rapidly to reveal another spectacular panorama that is nonetheless different to the villages we saw yesterday.

The trail itself climbs rapidly and is rather more challenging than the route along Via Amore taken yesterday. However, you are rewarded with even more stupendous views and exciting scenery. There are a couple of picnic spots along the way and also an area with some food left for some homeless cats in the area, which is rather nice. Along the way we met a couple from America who happened to live in Dublin, which was rather exciting.

On arrival at Monterosso, we tried in vain to find the entrance to the railway station so we knew where to come on the way back. In the end, I used my passable Italian to ask and found out that you have to go through a tunnel leading to the other half of Monterosso, making it a little bigger than the other villages. Inevitably, this leaves Monterosso as the most commercial of the villages, with more restaurants and bars, though still with its own appeal and charm.

After completing my tradition of buying a postcard in each village instead of all together, my collection complete, we took the train back to Manarola to enjoy another of the tasty Genovese focaccia bread, as well as some nice Italian sweet treats. After this we returned to the scenic photo spot for a joint photo, before returning to Riomaggiore to enjoy our last evening. We had dinner at a nice covered outdoor restaurant, I tried the traditional Ligurian trofie pasta with pesto, followed by a nice Panna Cotta with chocolate. After that we returned to our lodgings to watch the last half of the Poland-Russia Euro 2012 match - hopefully, a promising result will signal good fortune for the rest of our trip!

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