30.04.2016 - 30.04.2016 22 °C
Last night I had one of my favourite meals in Italy! At L’Osteria, just a moment’s walk from my accommodation, was a delicious traditional Italian restaurant. I sat at what would become a communal table, reading my book “Julia Child: My Life in France”, and enjoyed an entrée of steamed mussels in white wine and lemon broth, followed by the most delicious seafood ravioli with scampi. All this with a spritz, carafe of vino rosso, and finished off with a lemon and basil tart for dessert. Pure indulgence.
After a light sleep, in a somewhat uncomfortable bed, my day got off to a slow start. Following made-to-order omelettes for breakfast, I made several trips back to my room (up a very steep flight of stairs), to get to various levels of preparedness for my day of walking between the town of Monterosso and Vernezza, slightly to the East. I was not generally prepared for serious hiking, as far as my quality of packing goes, so I had just my trusty Merryls, a half way reasonable outfit (I actually brought my gym pants), and my…regular handbag. Hmmm this won’t do. So from a little tourist shop I purchased a cheap backpack, went back yet again to the room to drop the handbag, and finally set out…on to realise I had to hike up the hill to put more money in my car! It wasn’t even 11am yet, and I felt like I’d hiked all morning already.
I purchased a ferry ticket before departing which would allow me to travel between the towns all day after I’d done the walking part, and then set off. The walk was quite difficult by my standards, but probably not too bad by others’, and had a good hour of heading uphill with a combination of narrow, rocky steps, and steep paths. My Dad would no doubt bounce up it like a rabbit, but for me it was relatively slow and steady, with a few little rest stops. However, I must admit given my general level of fitness (or lack thereof), I powered up much more easily than I’d thought I would overtaking several people on the way, probably on account of the hours of walking most days over the last fortnight! Woo hoo…if I keep fitting in my jeans, and keep walking, maybe I won’t come back looking like a sumo wrestler!
There were several absolutely breathtaking scenes from various points along the walk; shortly after leaving, and looking back at Monterosso (the old town where I was staying), and nearing the end when you looked down to Vernezza, with some spectacular ocean (or sea?) views in between.
About half way was a little cat haven on a rocky outcrop where locals had obviously set up a feeding area and shelter for some of the Cinque Terre’s feline inhabitants. A sign read something along the lines of ‘cats to be cuddled and fed by the tourists’, and there were a few kennels around for shelter.
Arriving into Vernezza I had only lunch and water on my mind, and I found both quickly in the colourful town. Lunch was a mixed seafood cone, with cod balls, anchovies, squid, and a stick of crumbed mussels…yum, and then it was to the ferry for a trip around the towns. Unfortunately, however, with a 5pm massage booked I couldn’t quite work out how to visit all the towns, and accidentally got back on the boat to Monterosso instead of the other direction. So by the time I arrived back, which wasn’t long, I was exhausted, and in proximity to a hot shower and a cat nap, and it won out this time.
A very underwhelming massage later (who calls 40 minutes an hour these days?), a nap, and a delectable pepper steak, and it was bed for me. But having not had enough water today, and being poked and prodded unceremoniously, I had an epic headache, so a shifty trip downstairs to beg borrow and steal a local ‘Panadol’ (my trusty first aid kit was in the car, and I wasn’t hiking up the hill at 10pm!), and I was finally ready for some sleep.
Hours walked – 2
Anchovies consumed – 8
Spectacular Cinque Terre towns visited – 2/5
Minutes of hour-long massage – 40
Steaks consumed to alleviate headache symptoms – 1
Appreciating the international sign-language for ‘epic-headache’…priceless!