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Chilling out in Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore, Italy

We spent 4 relaxing days in the Cinque Terre (the "5 lands") - a group of 5 tiny villages on the coast of Italy that are perched into the cliffs, famous mainly for their walking trails that links the villages together.

First comment - there are so many Australians in Europe! We have noticed this everywhere of course, but particularly in Cinque Terre, because here are some of the smallest little places we have ever been to and all we hear is "oh gees Lorraine isn't that view nooooiiiice!"

Anyway, cultural cringes aside, this really is a lovely spot. We really need a break and some relaxation time. Yes, it is meant to be for hikers but hey! who says you have to follow the crowd?

We stayed in an apartment in Riomaggiore, the 'biggest' of the 5 lands. It really consists of one main street, a marina area and a beach. The houses are all tall pastel coloured buildings that are worn from the sea and the sun and each land has little fishing boats that go out and return each day. However, naturally the main industry these days in tourism and you can tell! It's not crowded but once you take the English speakers out you can tell how sleepy it really is.

We stayed in a lovely kitsch apartment, so we got to cook a little to save money (yes by this point we had realised how poor we had become)...Kristian made the BEST pesto and buffalo mozerella pasta - Liguria is famous for its pesto and it really was brilliant.

Opposite the apartment was a little bar/restaurant that stayed open until 1am (thank god for ear plugs). We had a few drinks one night and actually met some interesting people - a lovely solo traveller Emily from Richmond and two US soldiers on leave from Iraq - one of them in particular was so interesting to talk to and he loved Jane's southern accent imitation.

HIGHLIGHTS: The highest of Jane's trip to this point was probably swimming (in Kristian's undies and a singlet) in one of the pebbly beaches lovely clear water.

LOWLIGHTS: The locals were VERY rude on the whole - it's like they know they need the tourists but resent them at the same time.

INTERESTING FACTS: Some people actually LIKE hiking. We still haven't figured out why but apparently, this is one of the best places in the world to go hiking. Well yes, perhaps it is, but we were on holiday! We did the easy peasy walks that are completely flat and that was nice, EXCEPT for the huge stairs that no-one told me about at the end of one of the walks. And don't worry, you can get to each town by train! Once you are from Australia and have driven down the Great Ocean Road, it's hard to be blown away by ocean views. Having said that, the views would be amazing from right up into the cliffs. Years ago, the area was a farming area - and there are still some vineyards and olive groves built rights into the cliffs. Why on earth they thought that such steep slopes would make for fun farming I don't know, but to each their own!

USELESS INFORMATION: In Cinque Terre Jane made the most amazing discovery of the trip so far. In Australia, there is a terrible conspiracy going on - we have been deprived of the full range of pre-prepared Italian deserts. Yes, we have the cassata, the Bacio and the tartufo that you can get from your Italian takeaway shop, but there is another - a coconut. It's a real half coconut shell with coconut icecream inside! How could this have been kept from us for so long John Howard???

permalink written by  JaneandKristian on September 30, 2007 from Riomaggiore, Italy
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged CinqueTerre

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Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore, Italy

Before leaving Austin we went to the Art City Austin show and one of the exhibitors had a picture on display of an unbelievably picturesque village clinging to the coast of Italy, well we decided we we're going to go there right on the spot, and this week we did.

We had been working hard on the farm for several weeks and our hosts thinking it was high time we had a break lovingly kicked us out for a few days. Four train connections later we we're in La Spezia and caught a bus from there to the hamlet of Biassa. Biassa is perched on opposite side of the hills from Cinque Terre and many of the National Parks hiking trails start in or pass through Biassa.

The first day there we wanted to take it kinda easy and get our bearings, so we opted for a short hike just over the hill to to first town in Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore.

Five hours and 15-20km later we decided the trail map would have been a good idea, but had a good time none the less. We passed a few bars a long the trail and grabbed some fruit and bread in a small village along the way, so we didnt fret about not being where we wanted to be and enjoyed the amazing views.

Midafternoon we finally arrived in Riomaggiore and had what was probably the crappiest meal we've had while travelling, but the gelato made up for it. We wandered down to the water and found a sunny rock to lay on and just baked for awhile in the warm sun while our feet dangled in the cool waters.

Being thoroughly exhausted we didn't do much the rest of that day and went back to Biassa for an excellent dinner at the only proper restaurant in the town. Butter and sage became my new favourite pasta sauce that night. Ohm, nom, nom, nom.

Day two we took the bus. We also bought a day pass for the ferries that run to each of the towns, and went to the second town in Cinque Terra for breakfast. It would have been awesome but they were outa waffles, much suck. After breakfast we opted for more hiking, sane choice...nahhhh, and hiked along the cost from Manarola to Corniglia.

The trail literally clings to the cliffs and every step of the way your a banister away from the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean, which happen to be a long way down.

On the other side of the trail you could see the odd house or rows and rows of vines. Nope, there are no roads of any sort going to these peoples houses. Only the occasional small rail car. The must have legs of iron...

When we got to Corniglia we were faced with the fun prospect of climbing 382 stairs, just to reach the town. Who knows how many were in the town its self. There was a nice suprise waiting for us though when we got to the top, it came in the form of stuffed mussels and pesto spaghetti,mmmmm. We sat at a table up against the railing dividing the restaurant from the hill we had just climbed. Olive trees acted as the ceiling and wide open views of the Mediterranean provided the walls.

We strolled through the town after lunch, just enjoying the sites.

Eventually we caught the train to the next town, Vernazza, to catch the ferry from there to the last town in Cinque Terre, Monterosso. After a failed hunt for lemon gelato we caught the last ferry back to the first town, which stopped in each of the towns with a harbor along Cinque Terre. We got to enjoy the views of each town from the sea and I was able to snap some nice shots of each town.

Our trip to Cinque Terre could be described as a visual assault of the natural persuasion, the 400 or so photos I've had to sort through the past few days is testament to the beauty of this place.

Tomorrow we start the harvest!!!!!!

Love you all!

P.S. We got your postcard today Savannah!! We'll try to call you soon, Hugs and Kissies :)

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on September 30, 2008 from Riomaggiore, Italy
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
tagged Italy and CinqueTerre

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Navigare in barca a vela tra Portovenere e le Cinque Terre

La Spezia, Italy



permalink written by  barcamica on June 14, 2011 from La Spezia, Italy
from the travel blog: crociera in barca a vela
tagged CinqueTerre, Toscana, Vela, Crociera, Barca, Noleggiare, Una, Imbarcazione, Elba, Corsica, Capraia and Portovenere

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