Day 10: Side trip to the 5 Lands.

A landslide caused us to reconsider our route through Carrara's marble quarries and the closest we could get was the highway nearby.  Instead, we went to the beach early and visited the Cinque Terre (5 Lands), a very impressive area with jaw-dropping towns perched on top of the coastline rocks.

Silvio dropped us off in La Spezia, where we could catch a train to Riomaggiore, the southernmost town of the 5 lands.  Upon reaching Riomaggiore we stepped out of the train to a cliffside expansive view of the Mediterranean Sea and huge rocks that unbelievably had houses built upon them.  Freyja and I had both been here before, but the others were totally blown away by the view.

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We walked from Riomaggiore to Manarola (the 2nd of the 5 lands), down an easy paved path along the sea while the waves crashed beside us.

Brad took most of the group down to the train station to get to the next town, while Freyja and I decided to hike the trail instead.  We met the group at Corniglia, the next town up the coast.

Brad then led those who wanted to on a one and a half hour hard hike to Vernazza.  It was mercifully cool, but we must have walked up a thousand steps carved into the trail.  Along the way we were met by a number of feral cats.  I don't know what they eat but they did appear to be getting enough of it.

While on the trail, Tom was stung by a wasp and broke out in hives, but was fine once he rested a little.

Brad waited at the end of the trail with water bottles for everybody, then we all went to lunch at Vernazza's castle.  One of the feral cats joined us for lunch.

Just before we left, I climbed up the trail a little to the north of town, and snapped a picture of Vernazza.

We left Vernazza via the train, and took it all the way to Santa Margherita, our next stomping ground in the Italian Riviera.  Brad gave us an orientation walk then bid us goodbye for a day as he had a day off tomorrow.

Freyja and I found a very good restaurant near the water.  The waiter showed us the fish the chef would cook, on a big platter, and once it was done he covered up the eyes so that Freyja wouldn't be too squeamish about eating it.  It was fantastic, and the wine was good too.

We retired after dinner, exhausted by the day.

It was a very tiring hike today for everyone, but lunch tasted so good afterwards, and the views seemed to get better the harder we hiked.  The cats may not agree, as they did not seem impressed by anything, but at least we appreciate life more when we work hard to get somewhere.



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Last updated 11/12/2005 .  Email me at