04.06.2011 24 °C
Up early and off to the train station to get the train for Monterosso via Pisa. Did I ever mention that I hate train stations. I suppose it is cause we so seldom travel by train but I find them down right confusing. We had plenty of time and after asking a lot of questions to people, we finally got it figured out and hopped the train and off we went. Arrived in Pisa, got confused again, got unconfused and hopped the train for Monterosso. Arrived in Monterosso, walked out of the train station and thought we had arrived at Sylvan Lake on a 30 afternoon on a long weekend! Oh, my gosh, the people...the reason was...train strike...no trains between the 5 towns, weekend and an Italian holiday. We were picked up by a "Speedy Taxi" and delivered to Porto Roca. It is definitely a ride that I will never forget...and now I have to go down the same path on Monday to get back to the train. You see the taxi van is a smaller version of a caravan...good so far, but then he took us up the path to the hotel, which is situated way up on a cliff. The road which is actually a paved walking path is next to cliff wall and metal railing on outside to keep you falling from your death into the ocean!! So, we had all these people to contend with...car...move stupid...no room!! This path/so called road is only the width of the cab in some places (with turning the mirrors in) and the path is not straight....what more can I say...I will not be sitting on the cliff side of the taxi on the way down, that is for sure!!!!
But, this hotel is amazing, friendly and the VIEWS...wow, totally worth every penny!
After a relaxing afternoon, we checked out the old town and found that once the boats took the sun bathers back to their towns that Monterosso was actually a totally different town. Very laid back with a few strollers and a lot less crowds.
We finally got to sleep in...what a treat. The tour was the best but it was so nice to have no wake up call and to wake up when we wanted. After breakie, we decided to walk/hike the path from Monterosso to the next town which is Vernassaz. Only a 1 hour 30 minute walk...sounds good eh...........well.............first we hiked up, then we came to the stairs and I forgot to count but maybe 1000 or so. Let's put it this way, we must have stopped 7 - 10 times for a short rest to keep going (nice to see that we were not the only ones). Then hike, hike, hike....nothing too bad then we started the descent into Vernasaz....about 1200 steps down into the village. The people resting on the way up kept asking if they were nearly at the top. We told them if it was any consolation that into Monterosso, it was all downhill. I would say that we definitely got our heartrate up on that walk. We walked around, had a small lunch, hopped the boat for Riomaggio. Unfortunately, the walking path into Corniegli is closed for repairs and has no water access, it was train it in there or not! We opted for NOT! We visited RioMaggio (another uphill town....holy, our buns are going to be tight) and then hopped the boat for the back trip to Monterosso...while stopping and letting off passengers and picking up on the return...so we did get to see all 5 towns from the water.
I can see what they call this Italian Riviera...it is gorgeous!
Tomorrow is beach day...the weather temperature was 24 today but it was absolutely beautiful, very light breeze. The water is that wonderful blue and tomorrow is the day to get wet!
Sorry about the shitty weather back in Alberta but I will try and bring as much nice weather as my suitcase will hold!