|Nice views looking from Monterosso south - the other tiny quattro terre (Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarolo, and Riomaggiore) are like clusters of color on the edge of the rocks in the distance|
Drive to Stansted (2.5 hours) to catch a 10 am flight to Genoa. Bus from airport to train station. Train to Monterosso del Mare (una delle Cinque Terre), arriving around 18:00.
Late train to Florence (Firenze!) changing at Pisa (15 minute visit). Arriving around 22:00.
Hop on a relaxing evening train to Rome, reaching speeds of 155 mph, arriving around 22:00 again.
Rome all day
Monday 27-May (UK bank holiday)
Rome until evening - a short train ride down to Ciampino that night
Tuesday 28-May (UK bank holiday)
Set the alarm for 5 am for a 7 am flight out of Ciampino to Manchester. Home by noon!
Driving the rental car all the time is quite an advantage as it lets me pick the best price airport independent of where I leave my car, so pretty good deal! I'm pretty lucky with all that. Also, all reservations were made on Booking.com. Converting into USD - Monterosso was $170/night, Florence was $85/night, $110/night for Rome, and $90/night for Ciampino. I know that sounds expensive but we were in the bottom quartile with those choices. We found that when you drop below $100/night, you either have to share a bathroom or stay in an outskirt town like Ciampino (but that was convenient for the airport).
|At least breakfast is included, but Italians just have a different definition. I love hearing stories from my UK friends about the first time they stayed at the Embassy Suites in the US and go for their epic breakfast buffet.|
Kerry might think I'm trying to squeeze the last bit of efficiency out of everything, but I think it worked out pretty well. Also, I think you'll all be impressed by the amount we were able to experience in a relatively short time.
|Short wait at Genova Piazza Principe for our train, notice how light Kerry packs for 6 days! We're like backpackers without backpacks.|
We really lucked out with the weather in Monterosso. The first evening we explored the town after checking but before finding a place for dinner. Thanks to the Doug and Tara for letting us borrow their Rick Steves book which offered a short tour of the town and up into the cemetary.
|Our first views of Monterosso del Mare upon arriving from the train station|
|The old fortress was now a private residence|
|When in Italy, get a Spritz as an apertif!|
|Or a prosecco.|
|Wandering down the main drag|
|I think this might be a scarab beetle! Well, dung beetle actually, but scarab sounds cooler. It was as large as a 20 pence coin!|
|As we climbed up the hill to the cemetary there were views of a very expensive highway above that was built to get better access to the towns.|
|Real poppies - I don't think I've ever seen them growing in the wild like this before. These flowers carry a lot of significance to WWI - see "In Flanders Fields"|
|The serene, beautiful cemetary|
|You can see the whole old town hidden behind the hills out of view from the marauding pirates. The new town section with the beaches was built after the piracy problem was solved.|
|Nice digs for a final resting place|
|A tropical view out at the Ligurian sea|
|The walk home after dinner, the moon was shining through the clouds and reflecting on the water (a bit of over exposure to help with the contrast). You can barely make out lights from neighboring Vernazza.|
|Kerry wanted to feel the water without getting her feet wet. It didn't go well but was hilarious.|
View Jeff's Monterosso hike in a larger map
The walk started in Monterosso on path number 2 eastbound - there's a 5 euro/person fee. It's a beautiful coastal path which connects all terres. We stopped at Vernazza to explore the town and eat lunch, and then we ascended into the mountains on path number 8 which leads back west, with a long descent on path number 9 to get back to Monterosso.
This area experienced a very terrible, leatthal mudslide in 2011 that resulted in extensive damage. We saw some pictures and stories about it in our hotel, and a photo memorial in Vernazza. Only recently were sections of the trail opened, we were lucky we could access the section from Monterosso to Vernazza.
|The walk started with very choppy surf and grey skies|
We then saw our waiter from the bar the previous evening jogging by. He remembered us - probably because I made a fool of myself trying to order straight Campari. Luckily he set me straight with Italian cocktails - that will prove beneficial later on.
|Beautiful views along the coastal path, and we we got an early start to avoid the crowds|
|Stone bridges are my favorite|
|Streams flowing to the sea|
|Looking back at the new section of Monterosso|
|And ahead as we get closer to Vernazza|
|Still overcast but improving, bits of the other towns in the distance|
|Ahh Jasmine, the smell permeated every city we visited in Italy, and was very pleasant indeed.|
|This rail runner with a tow package I assume is used to bring building materials to hard to access sections of the trail. Pretty neat-o.|
|Someone is lucky to live here|
|Vernazza had a Venetian feel, but lots of steps instead of canals. It was fun to get lost amongst the staircases.|
|My guess is that MC Escher was inspired by Vernazza for this drawing|
|The surf was strong, pounding into the breakers, spraying water all the way over . I couldn't capture it very well.|
|Now that's a patio!|
|Aloe by the cliff edge - not sure why I took this, I guess to be natureish|
|You can see all of Monterosso, new on the left old on the right, and the mountains behind|
|I had polpo y patate - cold octopus with potatoes. The octopus was marinated in an acidic dressing that made it very tender and tasty. Kerry likes her shellfish.|
|Sun's out, gunz out.|
|We start hiking up above Vernazza|
|I'm trying to sort out what tiny island I'm looking at in the haze - my guess is Gorgona based on the map, that means I'm looking south-south west.|
|Beautiful view of the Ligurian sea|
|Vernazza is looking tiny now as we climb|
|We stop for a rest on a bench with this view - an old German woman goes tromping by solo. We were impressed - these Germans are serious hikers|
|Just a few more crests to go... it looks pretty far from here|
|After a long descent that was hard on the knees and toes, the cold water felt good and the sand was exfoliating|
|Kerry's OK to get her feet wet today!A|
|This statue looks like it was carved out of stone, but is actually shaped from concrete, his trident was lost in the mudslides.|
That's all for now!