The Cinque Terre (five terraces) are part of the Italian Riviera and are five villages by the sea, each only a short distance from the next, connected by train and a walking track. The whole area is a National Park so it is almost impossible for there to be any new development, leaving the villages as they were (fishing, wine and other produce) before tourism.
We managed to time our visit with some major (Lance Armstrong was there) bike event in the area, so our first night in Riomaggiore was spent in a overpriced dorm with no security and a single bathroom for eight.
The Italian definition of beach, at least in this area, is not quite the same as ours. Here the Europeans sunbathe on the concrete boat ramps or the rocks. Admittedly, the water is a very inviting clear blue and we had our first swim of the trip!
On our last day, we caught the train to Vernazza then hiked back through Corniglia and Manarola to Riomaggiore. Although we didn’t leave until 4pm, the sun was still very hot and the terrain, especially between Vernazza and Corniglia, was quite steep. The coastal views from the cliff-side track were well worth it and occasionally the track would travel through a cool olive grove or vineyard.
That’s all from Italy this trip. We’ll miss the food and the friendly folk, but not the dirty trains or the table tax…