The Cinque Terre trail in Italy was one of the first things that my friend Max recommended when I first booked my ticket to Europe, since it was one of the hightlights of his Eurotour a couple years back. It’s a trail along the coast that links 5 beautiful towns together. At the time I wasn’t sure how much time I would be spending in Italy, but I had it down on my list of MUST DO’s. I am so glad I did, even if my day did end up much differently and more difficult than I had thought.
I like to compare how the day went to The Game of LIFE, one of my favorite boardgames growing up, where you make choices that either move you ahead, or set you behind, but the goal is to get into the “richhouse” at the end, or in my case: in Rome with a glass of wine at 10pm with my mom.
So the day went something like this:
9:00 am: Train from Pisa to La Sprezia, change trains there and arrive in Riomaggiore at 10:10am. I was supposed to be able to leave my large backpack there according the advice from the hostel who looked it up for me. WRONG! The nearest place to leave luggage was La Sprezia (where I had already been!), so I would have to take the train back there. But the next train was not for a half hour.
11:00 am – Arrive in La Sprezia. Check my luggage in the luggage room. Purchase my ticket up to Monterosso (where I will now start the trail), AND my ticket on the 6:00pm train to Rome. Buy a sandwhich and a large water for the hike.
12:30 pm: Arrive in Monterosso. (This is 2 hours later than I was supposed to be there. I am now way behind on my time for the full hike, which is supposed to be 5 hours but I think I can still do it.)
12:45 pm: Make it to the trailhead. The map I have says it takes 2 hours to get to the next town Vernazza, but I hear other people say it takes a little less. I am determined to do it in less, and without rushing too much. I mean, I grew up with my dad who made everything into a competition and I could hear his voice in my head telling me I could do it in at least an hour, forty-five.
About 20 minutes into the strenuous hike, I open my water and find that I bought sparkeling water instead of still! Really!? So lame. But it still quenched my thirst, so I just kept going.
2:15 pm: Arrive in Vernazza. 90 mins!
I stopped to buy a gelato and replaced my bottle of water with actual still water this time.
2:40 pm: Back on the trail to the next town Corniglia which is supposed to take 90 mins! As I start, I hear that the route is closed from Corniglia to the next town Manarola, so I will have to get a train in between and then do the last bit of the hike from Manarola to Riomaggiore on foot, where I will then catch the train to La Sprezia, get my luggage and get the 6pm train to Rome. I am skeptical that I have time for all this now, but not worried about it.
3:45 pm: Arrive in Corniglia. I now feel like I have a little bit of time to check out the town and leisurely make my way down to the train station. I have at this point decided that I should just go all the way to La Sprezia because I don’t want to be rushed. And I don’t see the point of getting off the train for what is supposd to be a 20 minute hike from Manarola to Riomaggiore, only to have to wait for the train again. I decide that I will just have to come back again at some point and complete the hike. After all, it’s not my fault the route is closed.
4:10 pm: Get to the top of the stairs leading down to the train station. I see a train there, take a picture, pet a kitty on the way down, which was very sweet and who tried to climb onto my backpack and then followed me down the steps a ways.
4:30 pm: Arrive at the train station with plenty of time. WRONG! The next train to La Sprezia is at 5:41pm. It’s a 20 minute ride. BUT, I find out my train is at 6:06pm so I could POSSIBLY make it. So I sit around and wait.
5:42 pm: Board the train.
5:58pm: Arrive in La Sprezia. RUN for the baggage compartment while glancing at the boards to see what platform my train should be on. Platform 3! Ok, it’s not there yet. Buzz the buzzer for the luggage room so many times the guy is a little annoyed, but I don’t care. Right as he opens it up for me, my train is pulling in. But I still have to go downstairs and to the right platform with all my heavy luggage. So I run again. I HAD to have looked completely insane. Dirty, from the trail all day, sweaty and redfaced, from the heat. BUT…
6:05pm: I board the train. And I arrived safely in Rome at 10pm, if not a little tired and dirty from my long day hiking and the stress of catching that damn train! 🙂
But look how beautiful it was!
Waiting for the train back to La Sprezia at the Riomaggiore station in the morning.
The view that made me decide just not to leave for Rome right then and there…it was a lot better in person.
Arriving in Monterosso. Again, I had to urge myself to continue and not just go lay on the beach for a day.
On the trail and looking back at Monterosso
My view of what lies ahead…complete with statue guy in the corner.
First view of Vernazza
Who cares if you can’t see me! Look at that view!
Back on the trail to Corniglia
Kitty resting on the trail (for you Shannon)
Looking back up at Vernazza where I just came from
Overlooking the train station where I should have been right then to catch the earlier train!
P.S. These photos are all taken on my phone and I have much more and better ones that I will post when I can upload all my photos from my other camera!
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