There is so much to say about these pictures and no great way to say any of it. It was one of the best, most full and joyful days of life. Reunited with best friends, gelato, pizza, wine, swimming in the sea, the warmth of the sun.
We voyaged through all five of the five villages of Cinque Terre in one day, beginning with a ferry from Riomaggiore to Monterosso al Mare in the morning. From there, a whirlwind.
From my notes:
When we arrived, it was about 11:30 am, and we immediately searched for a place to grab an early lunch, eventually stumbling on a place called Pae Veciu, where we had a delicious, fresh salad with anchovies and a pesto lasagna. By the time we were finished, we were already hot from sitting in the sun, so we headed to the sea to swim and cool off for a bit. After what felt like forever, but couldn’t have been very long, we walked back into town to find gelato, and it was then that the “Gelato Challenge” was born; we decided we would *need* to eat gelato in every village that day. From there, we wandered through the market and walked along the picture-perfect harbor. We left Monterosso shortly after via train toward Vernazza, about two hours or so after we arrived.
We exited the train platform and almost immediately stopped for sangria and bread at a restaurant on the main street, Il Baretto. After, it was a quick walk to the harbor and through town before stopping for gelato (Gelato Challenge #2) on the main road. We were aware that we had spent more time in Monterosso than we had initially planned, so we didn’t linger long here, especially since we were now planning to hike. We began the very, *very* steep trek up into the hills over the city. It was hot, and we weren’t properly dressed, but the views of Vernazza from the top were just stunning.
And then, the hike… We walked for about 1.5 hours. It was hot; it was steep. We had initially hoped to find a hidden path to a secret beach that we could see far below us, but as much as we searched, we were never able to find it. By the time we made it to the next village, we were exhausted, dripping in sweat, and hungry; we couldn’t wait to jump into the water.
We made it! As soon as we arrived, we stopped for drinks and a snack at the very first place we saw, which happened to be Er Posu Cafe. We ordered a bottle of wine, a bruschetta, and a focaccia – all so good. It was nice to be able to sit in the restaurant’s mist machine and relax. When we had sufficiency recovered, we continued into the main town. Corniglia was definitely my favorite of the five villages, even in spite of the fact that it doesn’t have a natural harbor; I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, but something about it seemed extra special. Quieter. In town, we spontaneously decided to do a wine tasting and cheese board at a local farm shop in town, Km 0, which quickly became a highlight of our day. Apparently, we were the first people ever to try the charcuterie offering, as it was the very first day they offered it. We ended our time in Corniglia with gelato, of course, and then we made our way down what felt like a gazillion steps toward the train station, onward to the next destination.
When we arrived in Manarola, we still felt so sweaty and uncomfortable from our earlier hike, so the first thing we did was walk to the harbor and jump into the sea. It was *so* refreshing. Coincidentally, we saw our friend from the bar the night before; she had two other friends with her now. We all hung out and swam as the sun began to set over the cliffs. By the time we left the water, it was dark. We walked to yet another restaurant, this one also on the main road, for a round of drinks and bread before stopping for our fourth set of gelatos for the day. I don’t know what time it was when we left to head home to Riomaggiore, only that we were so, so content and certainly not ready to let the day end.
We went to our room to shower and change. It was late and dark when we were done, but we were having too much fun to go to bed. We went to a small restaurant on the main road, the only one that was still serving food that late. We ordered two pizzas and wine. It was all so good. We left to wander, and eventually ended up back at the same place and ordering yet another pizza and bottle of wine, and when the restaurant closed at 1:00 am, we asked for a bottle of wine to takeaway and carried it down to the marina to drink on the rocks. Sometime around 2:00 am, we went home.
It was a long, full day. The best day ever.