For our second day in the Cinque Terre, we woke up early, stopped by the grocery store to pick up some breakfast (croissants and yogurt), then bought train tickets to the city of Pisa. We walked from the Pisa train station to the city’s main attraction: the Leaning Tower.
There is such a fascination seeing famous monuments and places in person! We ventured out onto the grass to take these fun pictures:
We decided not to go up the tower as the lines were quite long but now, looking back, I think we both wish we had.
We took some time to walk around the area, did some shopping, and bought hot dogs and PowerAde for lunch (my present health-conscious mind cringes). 🙂
Back on the train to return us to the Cinque Terre! Our plan for the day was to hike all five towns but after the long, hot walk in Pisa we were debating about whether to wait until the next day. After some discussion we decided to just go for it!
We took the train to Riomaggiore which is the southernmost town of the Cinque Terre and purchased 1-Day Cinque Terre cards which are required to use the hiking paths.
Off we went around 4 pm! The hike (more of a stroll) from Riomaggiore to Manarola only took about 20 minutes but provided us with some absolutely stunning views! This path was paved and ran along the side of a cliff overlooking the incredibly blue-green sea. I just wanted to jump in! The water looked so refreshing!
We walked through Manarola and continued on the path to Corniglia. This took about an hour and although we were getting quite warm at this point, we were still enjoying the fantastic views. Until we arrived at the 370 stairs that zigzag up to Corniglia. Ugh!
From Corniglia we hiked to Vernazza. This took about an hour and a half and just about did us in! So much climbing and so very hot! All I have to say is thank goodness for the PowerAde I bought in Pisa!
In Vernazza we stopped by our room and, well, collapsed.
I was actually toying with the idea of just skipping the last town but Teresa insisted that we couldn’t stop with just one hike left. And she was right. Thank you, Teresa!
We refueled with some ice cream 🙂 then set off for Monterosso and our longest hike yet! Fortunately at this point the sun was getting lower and a lot of this trail was in the shade – so much more bearable! And the views still did not disappoint!
We arrived in Monterosso around 8:30. The entire hike was 11km and we did it in about 4 hours. Speed hikers we are not.
In Monterosso we had dinner at Nuovo Eden Bar and ate outside by the sea (of course!). I had this amazing salad…
…and ravioli in a yummy walnut cream sauce. After dinner we made our way to the train station for our trip back to Vernazza. (Hike back? Are you kidding??)
Needless to say, the next morning we slept in. It was so nice to not have any plans this day. No museums to explore, no monuments to see, no trains to catch, no trails to hike. These “nothing” days are needed every once in a while!
After a leisurely morning, we donned our bathing suits and headed to the small sandy beach. Stress on the word small. And I think the entire population of Italy was vying for a place on the sand. But we managed to find a patch big enough to lay our towels on so we grabbed it!
It was so hot! And because the beach is in a little protected area there wasn’t a breeze. I was too hot to do anything – even just lay there! I went down to the water to test the temperature and it was freezing! I managed to go in up to my ankles and was pretty proud of myself for that small accomplishment.
So I went back to my towel to people watch. I observed the differences between Americans and Italians on the beach (or what I perceived to be “Americans” and “Italians”): Americans are white, Italians are bronze; American men wear swimming shorts, Italian men wear Speedos; American women wear two-piece bathing suits, Italian women wear one-piece – just the bottom.
It was all very interesting but Teresa and I were dripping with sweat so we decided to head over to the wall above the water for a better view. What a great idea! Not only was the view ideal but there was a heavenly breeze! We laid our towels on the wall and dangled our feet over the edge.
While we sat there, people were jumping and diving off the wall into the clear, blue-green water (the fully clothed guys stripping down to their Calvin Kleins 😯 ). It looked so refreshing! After a while we decided to give it a try. I was afraid I might suffer a heart attack from the cold water and Teresa was a little worried about the height from which we were going to be leaping but we finally just did it! And it was SO refreshing!!
After our dip in the sea we sunned for a bit more then headed back to our room to freshen up for dinner. For our last night in the Cinque Terre we ate at Il Castello Ristorante which sits high above the town with a glorious view of the sea and the sunset. I had a salad and penne in a tomato cream sauce and we split a chocolate cake for dessert.
A lovely ending to a lovely visit in the lovely town of Vernazza!