This is our final stop in Italy (for now) and it is a very nice one. Following some great advice, we decided to visit the Cinque Terre Park in Italy, a World Heritage Sight of five villages sandwiched between the mountains and the sea. The villages cling precipitously to the cliffs and all around the hills have been converted into terraces to grow grapes for the region's famous wine. The cities are connected only by hiking trails and by railways. We stayed in the central town of Corniglia, in a room above a restaurant that had incredible views of the city and the terraces.
On our first full day, Saturday, we took the easy hiking path to the two villages east of ours, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
Monterosso al Mare
This included a special section of the trail between Manarola and Riomaggiore named Via Dell'Amore, which I didn't find as romantic as the name suggests. Every one of the villages has its own unique design and each one is a treat to visit. The hiking trails are the best way to see them, as they offer the best views of the colourful villages. We climbed down to the sea and took a dip. As usual, I found a high rock to jump off and Emma swam around like a fish. Little did we know, but there were other creatures swimming in there too and Emma got stung by jellyfish a few times. Ouch!
The second day we set out to visit the final two villages, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. This time the hike was more like a hike and less like a stroll, so it took us a few hours of climbing up and down to get to them.
Our home, Corniglia
Luckily, we had started early and avoided the midday sun. By the time the day got its hottest, we were done our hike. Sweating from the heat, but thrilled at the great views we had seen, we decided to take a dip in the sea again. It took us a little bit of time to find a public beach in Monterosso, but we eventually did and we were soon in the water. The waves were coming in and I enjoyed having them batter me against the shore. The water was saltier than anything I've ever been in and when you dove under you could feel it stinging your face! That night we took another stroll along the Via Dell'Amore, and I realized that it can be very romantic, as long as you go walking there at sunset. We've had a very, very nice time on our short holiday at Cinque Terre. Tomorrow, we will be moving on to the alps for a ten-day hiking trip. We're starting to feel a bit exhausted from all this travel, but hopefully our recent time at the beach and the fresh mountain air will lift our spirits.