I started my Cinque Terre adventure in Monterosso (Oct 8-10)..
As I have already said, once I pulled into Monterosso, I had no guilt over skipping Genova. Monterosso is probably the most resort-like of the 5 towns making up the Cinque Terre. Before I arrived, I had the mentality that I would hate it because of all the tourists (ones who just come for pictures and don’t stay). I was wrong…
For my Canadian friends, the closest we have to Monterosso would be White Rock (BC). That being said, Monterosso still blows it out of the water.
I stayed at ‘A Vigna Du Raffa’ (found on hostelworld), which was one of the more affordable places in the Cinque Terre. My room was basically a tiny cabana with a bed and a seperate shower.
Just a few steps down and I would find myself in the heart of the old town. There were tons of restaurants to choose from. My first night I tried my first dish with clams (they were delicious). I met a woman from Switzerland during my meal, and we connected by speaking in broken German :p
The next day (Oct 9) was my favourite day of my trip to that point. I hiked past the hotels and into the steep steps of the vineyards where I started my first official Cinque Terre hike (to Vernazza). The beginning of any hike is the hardest part as you take big steps (with loose rocks) as you ascend higher and higher into the vineyeards.
The hike takes about 90m, which includes some waiting time while you let people pass going the other way (trails are thin). Even though you may lose sight of the nearest village, your eyes are distracted by the natural detail in front of you. I only had a few crummy pics on my phone:
About 75 minutes in, you get your first view of Vernazza (the most picturesque of the 5). Patiently wait for the pro photographers to take their pics. You may also have to wait for a few couples as they begin snogging, but it’s worth the wait:
At this point you think “wow, I’m so glad I waited for this shot”. And then 10 minutes later you are floored:
After this part, you are a short descent into the heart of Vernazza, where you will find the most tourists. The hike itself has been one of my favourite hikes of all time.
Once I returned to Monterosso, I was informed that it was their version of Oktoberfest that night, and I gladly participated by overdrinking and getting sick multiple times! 🙂 i was lucky to meet, Giovanni, a chef at “La Taverna” (Monterosso). He knew little English, so I got to know him by speaking in broken German, again…