Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hike to Corniglia

Saturday was our first full day and forecasted to be our only day with nice, rain free weather. Thanks to the Tower bell ringing for a full two minutes at 7 am, we were up and at 'em bright and early.

The 5 villages of Cinque Terre are all connected by trails in the mountains. You can hike to one town, and then take the train or ferry boat back. The town we were staying in, Vernazza, was the 2nd northern village, and we decided to hike on Saturday to the middle village, Corniglia.

Ciao, Vernazza!
This is how groceries are brought up all of the stairs!

I had NO idea what to expect with the hike. Well, actually, I expected it to be really easy. I figured it would take 20 minutes. If Rick Steves can do this, then surely I can easily hike this trail! 
Corniglia must be close! All smiles here!

Judging by my smile, this is only about the 200th stair....

Cool rock people
My cute baby

Lookin' a little disheveled...this is maybe 45 minutes in to the "hike" aka stairstepper from hell?
No village in sight...

Do you see how uneven those steps are? Not fun (actually, really enjoyed it).

So happy to be on even ground

This view is why we turned our calves into jelly. Maybe that's Corniglia, in the far, far distance?

Going down was weirdly just as difficult as going up!

It's been over an hour of hiking uphill...I have learned that seeing a sign that says "Corniglia" DOES NOT mean that it is close!

Vineyards on the way there

OMG We made it!
 Corniglia is up on a hill, overlooking the Mediterranean. What I thought would be a quick and easy 30 minute hike ended up being 90 minutes of torture. We were lucky to start early- the trail was relatively empty. Once we were about 10 minutes from Corniglia, some college aged boys, drinking beer at 11 am, passed us by, heading towards Vernazza. We really wanted to warn them how BAD of an idea that was- hiking on steep, unpaved and often rail-free trails where the fall would be broken by either rocks, tree branches, or the crashing waves below, while guzzling pints of beer. Oh well, seems like they made it, one way or the other!

Cute shop in Corniglia

A little church in the village

Viewing lady that had just arrived asked us how many steps it took to get to the deck and if it was worth it. What's another 20 stairs when you've already done over an hour's worth?


You can take about 300 stairs to get down to the water...

This was close enough. Was in no mood for more stairs! And yes, the water really was that gorgeous! These pictures haven't been altered in the slightest!

Some WELL deserve Italian food. The theme of this trip was Carbs and Cheese. I had a prosciutto and mushroom pizza, Daniel had focaccia bread stuffed with cheese and prosciutto. Funny story: another American came in the restaurant and I felt so...embarrassed for him. He was asking for a whole ingredient list of every single item. "What's mozzarella? What's focaccia? What's prosciutto? What all is in this? And this? How about this one? Is there meat in this one? " I knew what the chef was thinking..."Order what speaks to your heart, not what your mind thinks" (only because an Italian has told this to me, more than once). It's so interesting what a little travel teaches you. I know, if I was in Italy 3 years ago, I would have been asking for my cappuccinos with soy milk and stevia, and my pizza with half the cheese. YOLO.

We were loving Corniglia and almost wishing we were staying there instead of Vernazza...that is, until we climbed the 365 (literal number) steps down to the train...meaning, if you were staying in Corniglia, you would have to carry your luggage UP those steps (supposedly there is a bus, but who knows how often that comes).
Because of the gorgeous, sunny day, we decided to put on our bathing suits and take the train to the village north of us, Monterosso, to lounge on the beach. I don't want to overwhelm y'all with pictures, so I'll update on that tomorrow!

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