Saturday, October 3, 2009

Missing Trains + Cinque Terre = typical.

It wouldn't be a trip to Cinque Terre if we didn't miss a train.  Four years ago when Amy and I tried to go to Cinque Terre....we hopped on the wrong train and went to a town that was near the border of France.

So from Zurich, we had to take two trains to La Spezia, where we would take our final train into Riomaggiore, one of the five villages.  Our train from Zurich was supposed to arrive at 11:50 in Milan and our connecting train to Genova was supposed to leave at 12:10.  The Swiss brag about how their trains are ALWAYS on time...well, the Titanic wasn't supposed to sink.  So with our luck...our train arrives at 12:10.  As Patti, Bridget and I jump off the train with our luggage...we see our train taking off.  Ahhhhh!!

We had to buy new tickets on TrenItalia to head to Cinque Terre which luckily we made it there eventually!

WOW...Cinque Terre was all it was cracked up to be and more.  Besides their really crappy, inconsistent, confusing trains...the hike was A-Mazing!!  We started hiking the 7 hour hike at about 4:30pm...when most people were finishing.  A lot of steep drop offs, some with rails and some scarily without!  Some smooth terrain...mostly rough...and even some walking on paths in heavily wooded areas where you never knew when a stray cat would creep out.

There are three villages: Riomaggiore (where we stayed) is the first on the trail, then Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso.  Being that Bridget forgot her watch, we didn't know what time it when we got to Corniglia (the third village) we looked at the sun.  We thought we probably had enough time to get to Vernazza...after we start walking...I look at the map and realize this is the longest trek between any of the cities...I start to be slightly concerned about how soon it would be pitch dark.   There are no lights on the path...and in many need to watch where you are stepping to either not sprain your ankle and trip, or strictly not to fall down the very steep cliff.  We finally see a sign that says Vernazza and Patti and I begin to cheer!!  That walk was so tough and we were thirsty and sweating like beasts.  We see a sign that says bar and says ice cold water, beer, wine, snacks!   So we get excited and go around the corner...only to see an abandoned shack.  And NO city.  We still had quite a ways to go.  No one else is on the trail but us...the sun is going we start bookin' it.  We finally reached the top of the city!!  And as we start walking down into the city (because the city goes way up into the hills) is FULLY dark!  Ahhhh...just barely made it.
We then went to a seaside restaurant and had a fabulous well deserved meal of pesto pastas (which Vernazza is known for their pesto), cheese, bread, caprese, and none-the-less a bottle of Lambrusco!

The next day Bridget and I planned to take the train to the final city, Monterosso, and hike to Vernazza...and then take the train back.  We go and buy our passes for the hike and train at 8am....only to find out the train doesn't come until 10:15!!  Even though the train schedule said different.  Since we had to check out of our hotel at just made sense not to go.  Boo!  Oh well, we had breakfast and shopped and then off to Rome!!

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