Monday, January 10, 2011

The Beauty of Cinque Terre

A big snow storm is headed our way I am told.

I have barely recovered from the last one.  In fact, snow still covers my yard.

I have NOT had time to recover!  Are you listening Al Roker?

But I do have a remedy.  Something that helps ease me through these cold, wintry days.

And that's my Mac SCREENSAVER!

WARNING!  I am not responsible for any spousal fights due to impulsive Expedia reservations.

Manarola

This beautiful view from my screensaver is of Manarola, one of the five villages that form the five miles of rocky coast of Cinque Terre on the Italian Riveria.



The Professor and I spent three breathtaking days in Manarola several years ago.

This was our evening view.


Remember, you were warned!

The area is well known for its miles and miles of breathtaking trails for hikers.  No museums, just sun, sea, wine and pleasure.

And not necessarily in that order!

Each town has been carved into the steep terraced-vineyard coastline and is connected by a seven-mile path of sometimes rugged terrain with room enough for only one to pass.  But the hike between towns is still long remembered as we wound our way along sheer cliffs overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.



We knew that the vigorous hike through all the towns could be done in a day.  But why?

We're not that ambitious.  We're the kind of couple that looks forward to the reward that comes after such a strenuous day of sightseeing.  

Like WINE!

HELLO!  We are in Italy after all.

So on our first day, we went over to the nearby town of Riomaggiore.  It was a simple flat stroll from Manarola.

On the way, we stopped to watch these crazy kids leaping off the cliffs.  I'm pretty sure none of the guidebooks recommended this extreme sport activity.


After becoming bored and realizing no one was going to get hurt, we moved on.

Riomaggiore was breathtaking.   The view I captured below is a very popular one taken by better photographers than this gal.  Even as an amateur, I couldn't do much damage to the scene.
Riomaggiore
The next day, we took a boat to Monterosso to spend our day hiking back to Manarola.  Monterosso is the sandiest and most resort-like of all the towns with its colorful street shops and bustling activity. 

Monterosso

I was ready to hit the trail after exploring its busy streets and head for quiet Vernazza.  Monterosso to Vernazza would be the toughest part of the day's hike and I was ready to get it behind me.

Vernazza is considered the jewel of Cinque Terre.

Vernazza

Everything from its historical attractions, manageable size and street markets every Tuesday make this port the most charming of the five towns.

Vernazza plaza

We lunched in this sweet and peaceful setting in Vernazza after the 2 hour hike.  Once my thighs quit screaming, we set out for Corniglia.



Corniglia
Corniglia, was the smallest and most remote of the five villages.  While it did not sit on the water, its windy overlook still impressed us.

My reward in reaching Corniglia was an ice cream cone.  I was certain I had burned off enough calories to have three!  I was ready to bask in the wind and sun and take in this beautiful view for a while.  But The Professor insisted we push on.

Something about wine and dinner back in Manarola.

Manarola
The walk to Manarola was not as hard but it seemed to take forever.  When we finally came around the corner after hiking for almost 6 hours, never was I so glad to see our base town.  Although my eyes could continue to take in the beauty, my calves were screaming "Uncle"!  I had had enough for one day.

Just goes to prove I'm not a REAL hiker.

But there was a glass of wine (or two) to be consumed to celebrate what I had just accomplished.

Cinque Terre Coastline
It continues to take my breath away.


Even with a wintry storm heading my way.

Missing Italy, but still,
missing the mom gene

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