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Oct 5, 2005 - Cinque Terre, Italy
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Fishing boats in Vernazza, Cinque Terre Waves in Vernazza on our first day with overcast weather Carl grocery shopping...note the items 
Cinque Terre - A Relaxing Seaside Destination

In short....we LOVED the Cinque Terre! The Cinque Terre is part of the Italian Riviera, a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site and a great place to relax and chill out while experiencing small Italian villages, some great hiking, outdoors with a bit of beach time incorporated and of course some excellent Italian food!

At this point, we had just left my parents who headed back home after their cruise and travelling Rome and Florence with us. Our friend Dave is still with us and we stayed 3 nights in a small apartment in Vernazza that I think all 3 of us would agree had the world's smallest shower. If the shower curtain wasn't clinging to my body as I tried to shower it must have been because I had knocked it down yet again by moving my elbows just that little bit too high and popping the spiral rods that held the curtain out of their sockets. And the one time I dropped the soap, I think I stood there with what I am sure what a combined look of despair and perplexity trying to figure out how I was going to pick up that little white bar now resting on my toes without just calling it quits for the morning and taking a second shot at the shower adventure later in the day!

Shower aside, the apartment was great giving us a cooking facilities (mostly used just for breakfast), fridge for beer and wine and a nice central location and living quarters making us feel more like one of the locals rather than staying in a hotel room. We spent our days hiking the Cliffside hills and chilling out on the rocky beaches. Nights there was not too much to do after a late leisurely dinner except go for a drink or curl up with a book and catch up on sleep.

Below is a copy of what I have posted on my work site (www.mytripjournal.com/tpitraveller ) to give you some further insight in the destination if you like:

Cinque Terre - A Relaxing Seaside Destination

On the western coast of Italy in the Riviera de Lavante (part of the Italian Riviera) is a series of five small towns situated among some of the most dramatic cliffside scenery in all of Italy. Mountains that are covered with miles of stones walls to terrace the land for the olive trees and rows of grape vines before the cliffs give way and drop off to the surging Mediterranean below. Hidden amongst the hillside are the walking trails and tracks of the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a relaxing, tranquil paradise for travellers to unwind and enjoy the outdoors and five small Italian hillside towns that make up the Cinque Terre.

The Cinque Terre is accessible only by train or seasonal ferry service and offers a limited number of rooms and apartments to rent keeping it much less touristy than other Italian coast destination such as the Amalfi Coast. Travellers to this region should not expect international hotel chains, luxury accommodations, taxis for transportation, extravagant shopping or active night life. What you can expect is small quaint hillside towns with moderate accommodations, local trattorias for dinner, train, ferry or very limited bus transportation all set in a rugged green Mediterranean Coastline.

The five towns of the Cinque Terre starting from the south are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Trains connect all of the towns and with limited route by park buses for hiking and day trips transportation. No trip to the Cinque Terre would be complete without hiking along the coast which can be done in varying levels of difficulty and park passes can be purchased that allow not only use of the hiking trails but also unlimited train and bus transportation between the towns.

The easiest of hike is the number two path that runs from Riomaggiore to Manarola taking about 30 minutes of easy walking along what is known as the Via dell'Amore providing spectacular views of the sea and coastline as well as the opportunity to explore both Riomaggiiore and Manarola. From Manarola, the path is still relatively easy walking taking you to the hilltop town of Cornigilia. Continuing to travel towards Vernazza and Monterosso the path becomes very rugged, hilly and an incredibly dramatic hike through olive orchard, vineyards and breathtaking hilltop views overlooking neighbouring towns, the odd rocky beach, the terraced hillside and Mediterranean Sea below.

The towns of the Cinque Terre are tiny, people are friendly and the scenery is stunning. If you are looking for a destination to unwind and relax while hiking the hills of the Italian Rivieria, I would highly recommend the Cinque Terre. In our 3 day stay in Vernazza we fell in love with the region and have added it to our "must return to" list of places. As the Cinque Terre wraps up our travels through Italy I have come to realize that Italy in general is a place I will return to one day in the future. The people have a zest for life, the food has been delightful with scenery and history so varied and plentiful there was never a shortage of new experiences awaiting around the next corner.

www.carlhenderson.ca

www.imagestoframe.com


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