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Cinque Terre – heaven

We are here in Vernazza, one of five fishing towns clinging to the cliffs of Cinque Terre on the coast of western Italy.

Sad to say goodbye to Florence this morning, in the damp morning light. I told the nice guy at my little hotel I’d write about it in my blog, as I already have several times: Hotel Relais Il Cestello – highly recommended. BK and I rode for two and some hours on the milk run, stopping at every stop, to La Spezia. We passed Carrera with its huge marble quarries, giant chunks of white rock – as Bruce said, “Michelangelo spent a lot of time in Carrera.” We had lunch at the train station waiting for the next train – it was raining, discouraging – then on to Vernazza. At one stop, forty Japanese tourists in a tour group got on, and when the train windows finally showed us riding beside the sea, they all went, “AAAAh” at once.

In Vernazza, we found our landlady who gave us the key to the Airbnb place Bruce had booked, found the place, actually got inside, made a list of what was missing and needed and went back to explore the town. I said to Bruce, it’s not actually raining right now, let’s just start one of the trails to see what it’s like, so we followed the sign to Corniglia to the south and started to climb. And climb.

And somehow we just kept going, eventually, even though the sky was heavy and dark and it threatened to rain. And then there was more light and even a bit of sun, and incredible views of the sea and Vernazza behind us, and we met a few others on the trail – not many, because the weather was so iffy – and we just kept going. An hour and a half later, after several almost vertical climbs – up up up to the heavens and then along and then down down and down – we arrived in Corniglia. A woman on the trail had told us about a place that made great crepes served with fresh lemon juice, which my mother used to make for us, and we found it and dug in. The taste of home! Lemons falling from the trees everywhere here. Explored the town and then headed down a million stairs to the train station for the 40 minute wait, staring at the sea, to get back. An hour and a half up and downhill to get there – a two minute train ride back.

We bought groceries – muesli and milk for breakfast, wine and hot pizza and focaccia for dinner – and made the final climb of the day back to the flat, which is at the uppermost edge of town. Now we are both computering. I am frustrated because I can receive email but not send any out, for some reason that even Bruce can’t figure out. And at 8 p.m. I’m in bed already, because the living room here is Bruce’s bedroom and mostly because my legs @#$# HURT and I don’t want to move again. Today’s menu: corn flakes, croissant and white bun for breakfast, the only things served by the hotel; sandwich at the train station for lunch; lemon crepe for snack; foccacia for supper. Carb loading, Italian style.

We were so lucky with the weather. If the predicted thunderstorm had started while we were hiking, it would not have been fun; as it was, many of the steps were slippery with mud. But it was a magnificent hike. More anon.
                                                    Definitely click to enlarge!

Vernazza. We are on the pier, looking back.

Beginning the climb.

 Still dubious, but it’s so pretty.

 Many wildflowers on the trail.

 Almost sunny for a minute or two. Monterosso, the next town to the north, in the distance.

Oh god, we’d moan. More stairs.

Looking back.

 Ah – our first sight of Corniglia.

 Closer.

We survive and arrive – here were lemon crepes. Divine.

The stairs down down to the train station (pictured in the centre) passed by a patch of lilies.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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