My first full day in Cinque Terre I set out on the Monterosso-Vernazza hike, widely reported as the toughest hike here. Its starting point was only a 10 minute walk from my B&B, so I slept in a bit and started right before the hottest part of the day…bad idea for a guy who sweats like me.
The hike was tough in that it was all uphill…up many, many stairs to be precise…hence the blog title. However, it was so worth it, the views were unbelievable. As I left Monterosso, I looked back and saw lush greenery, vineyards, and a coastline that rivaled La Jolla in San Diego.
As I continued on the trail, I was worried that my fear of heights would kick in, but it never did. This was really a safe trail, it makes me feel better when I see elderly people and kids doing it with ease, that makes me think that any fear is irrational. There were many people hiking this trail at the same time, so I became the ‘picture-taker’ for everyone else starting the hike. I’m totally fine with this. As a solo traveler, I think it builds up good karma, as many times I’ve had to ask strangers to take pictures of me…it’s all part of the life. 🙂
As I got closer to Vernazza, I approached the picture that most everyone takes at the Cinque Terre – a view of the water and Vernazza in the background. I’ve seen this shot online many times in articles about this region, probably because of the combination of the colorful city, the beautiful cliffs, and the clear blue water. I found the spot where this picture was commonly taken, so of course there was a mob of people there posing. After having my picture taken, and taking about 20 pictures for everyone else, all of us continued on to the city. There was a helicopter delivering things to Vernazza, though I never figured out what that was all about. As we approached the town, the view of the pier was magnificent.
The town itself was busy…on about two streets. That’s how big these towns are, once you entered you could walk the whole thing in about an hour. I stopped in right away for a cold beer, so refreshing after a long hike in the heat. I had the perfect Italian lunch at a place called the ‘Blue Marlin Bar’…caprese salad with toast and wine. After walking back to the pier and taking a few more shots of the hills above Vernazza, I started out to the next town, Corniglia. Later on my trip, I was able to take a ferry past Vernazza and took some cool pictures from the water.
Although Monterosso was my favorite town of the Cinque Terre, Vernazza was the most picturesque. I don’t think it can be fully appreciated unless you do the hike, however, so don’t cut corners and take the train between towns, it’s definitely not the same thing.