Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cinque Terre: Eat. Drink. Hike (Follow-Up)

Ever since last year when our good friends, Stacie and Hanspeter, took us hiking in East Switzerland, Josh has been on a mission to get into Swiss hiking shape. We aren't going to be huffing and puffing behind HP this time as he's taking his leisurely stroll up the mountain, checking his watch, wondering how long it can really take people to get to the top. Nope. Not this time.

Just another reason Cinque Terre was right up our alley for the perfect Peterthal vacation. I mentioned before that Cinque Terre is connected by hiking trails. There is the standard trail that runs along the coastline from city to city, but then there are these less traveled, more strenuous trails that head out of the tourist frenzy and up to the top for some unbelievable views. And, since both of us like to get a little sweat on and take photos, we set off on foot our first day in town.

We strolled along the Via dell'Amore from Riomaggiore to Manarola where we broke off the coast trail. We took the #6 trail from Manarola to Volastra hoping to find a wine coop of some sort.

This was a REAL hike. The kind where you don't see anyone else on the trail (if you can even call it a trail). At the beginning it had these wonderful red and white striped markers with the number six painted every so often....painted on walls, painted on little signs stuck in the ground. And if there wasn't a striped marker, there would be these nice white arrows on the ground, making sure you were going the right direction. How thoughtful of them. That's until you hit the forest-like area where there is no where to put these much needed signs. There were times that I would be five feet in front of Josh but the brush would be so thick he couldn't see me. Seriously. We only had to turn back a couple times to double check the last marker and make sure we were on the right path. There was no longer this nice trail. We felt like we were walking along someone's property line with a rusted fence on one side and forest on the other. And, all this time we just kept going, up, and up, and up.

Somehow we made it through. I am pretty proud of ourselves. At certain points normal people would have turned back, but us outdoorsy (aka crazy) people (ha!) just kept trekkin' on. There was even a point where we had to open a gate to stay on the trail. Still no idea why the gate was closed. And, then a bit later we ran into a bunch of trees that had fallen over the trail. Now normally this would mark that the trail was closed, but in Italy I guess this just means you go under or over them. So we did. Finally, we make it to Volastra in hopes of this wine coop.

Let's just say the map wasn't the greatest by any stretch of the imagination. That wine coop could have been anywhere in or around that town. We still don't know if it exists. We never found it.

So, from Volastra we took the #6d trail to the #7a trail into Corniglia. After the pretty much all uphill trek from Manarola, we were looking forward to cruising through some vineyard trails. I have never before actually walked through vineyards. Like I could have stuck my hand out just a bit and, BOOM, vine....BOOM, another vine. It was awesome. Unbelievably gorgeous. It felt so good to be experiencing not only this area of the world, but a part that even people visiting Cinque Terre might never see.

Truly the most painful part of the hike was hiking DOWN into Corniglia. During that 30 mins or so as I was watching every footstep like it could be my last, I was just wishing we could be going uphill again. I could actually hear my 30-year old joints swearing at me.

Thank goodness the views were worth it and luckily, no ankles were sprained.


  1. Congratulations on the great hike! Bryon and I have been there a few times, and done the same hikes - amazing photo opps! I feel your pain -- it only feels like uphill will kill you until you face the real pain of downhill. Did you do the stretch that ends with the series of steps up to town? Of course, I'd do it all again tomorrow ... the beauty and splendor of it all does make you forget the physical pain, eventually. Look forward to seeing your photos from the trip!


  2. You have been a FEW times? Now I am jealous. Our trail ended with us walking down a million steps into town. Then after stopping for a much needed beer, we got to walk down another million steps to the train station. Have you been anywhere else that compares to here?

    Photos are coming soon. It has been a crazy week. Glad you enjoyed the post.


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