Day 59 A Perfect Day For A Hike (Yes I am still catching up!)

IMG_2010This morning in Corniglia started with lots of sunshine!  Apparently, we had a huge rainstorm last night…guess we missed it while we were sleeping…because there was no sign of rain…but there was a lot of water!  Some of the trails that connect the Cinque Terre towns were closed due to storms (not just the one from the night before), so we could only hike to Vernazza and Monterosso…I say only…but let me tell you these hikes are no joke!  Honestly, I really thought they would be sweet little trails that just take you easily from one town to another…oh not the case at all!  I have to say the addition of water flowing down steps like a waterfall at several different locations made for even more fun too!  We are talking steep stairs, cliff sides with drop offs, and ravines…some seriously crazy stuff.  The ups and downs were a bit unexpected too. Okay Wendy open your eyes girl…you can see the trails, the hills, and the cliffs…really???  The challenge of the trek, was really balanced by the beauty of it!!  The views were absolutely breathtaking at every turn!!  It was fun running into the few oddballs like us that come to the Cinque Terre in the winter time, but we had a chance to chat with a few different people…always fun to hear their “stories”…it just enriches the journey!

I debated writing about this…but okay I am going to… We were following this sweet little couple while hiking.  Now before I get to the next bit here are a few things that you need to know: 1. it was unexpectedly warm on our hike, 2. it really is a bit of a challenging hike, 3. it is really important to wear deodorant… Now this sweet little couple we were following were also not expecting such warm temps I am sure…because they were really sweating up a storm!  How do I know this you ask?  We we could smell it.  Bless their stinky little hearts…we could smell them quite a ways before we got to them…and as luck would have it…we would pass them…then they would pass us…it was like a odorous game of cat and mouse.  And I get that it can be a cultural thing…but I still don’t have to like it!

The first town that we reached was Vernazza!  It was such a cute little town!  Apparently, they had some serious mudslides and damage a few years ago, but honestly you would never know it now!  We went out on the break water and watched the waves coming in, it was gorgeous!  We decided that we would take the train back to town…

When we reached the station, there was not a sole around who worked there…but they had a self service ticket kiosk.  Well, this kiosk worked Italian style…when it wanted to and how it wanted to.  Let’s just say that it wasn’t in the mood to work that day!  We tried over and over to buy a ticket…but to no avail!  So, I suggested we just walk to the next town!  Great idea Wendy!

Holy smokes!  What a hike it was!  We went up, down, and maybe even sideways!  We were almost to town when we came upon this English couple in their mid to late fifties who were huffing and puffing…sweating and panting. They asked us if there were any stairs where we came from…and I thought oh how sweet…they are even more out of shape than we are…bless their hearts!  What I didn’t think to do was to ask them about what lay ahead for us…maybe it was better that I didn’t!

Let me tell you what was next…stairs…stairs…and more stairs!!!  Then there were some stairs and after that some more stairs!  There were stone stairs, wood stairs, steep stairs and flat stairs….stairs with water running down them…stairs with plants growing out of them.  Are you getting the picture here??  There were a few stairs!  I have never been so happy to reach a town in my life!  And yes…I think by the time we got to Monterosso we may have looked worse than the cute English couple and smelled worse than the sweet little couple we followed earlier!  Awesome!  All Reid and Russ could talk about was how hungry they were!  Well when you travel in the off season, you have to be prepared for closures!  And seriously it was like a ghost town!  We found a cafe that was open that had small little pizzas…we took all of the ones she had…and a couple of large beers (and a water for Reid) and sat down…or fell down and ate our snack.

Then it was time to figure out how to get back to Corniglia…I was a little worried about the train situation…but that was all we had!  Ironically, as we sat and rested…clouds rolled in and it started to rain…then it started to pour!  Awesome!  We had a bit of a walk to the train station…in the rain (it actually felt nice after our hike!).

When we got to the train station, I was so happy to see that they actually had someone working there!  And boy oh boy she could not have been more rude or unfriendly if she tried!  Our experience in Italy, has been that people are super kind and helpful!  Honestly, just a warm friendly people…well hey there is a bad apple in every bunch…and she works at the train station in Monterosso!  Once we got our tickets…and figured out where to go (she told us one thing, the sign told us something else) it was time to wait!  Russ and Reid went to the beach in front of the station (the rain had stopped by now…and I went to the bathroom (thank you giant beer I just drank!).  I have been to a lot of bathrooms on this trip…in museums, gas stations, pay toilets, in restaurants, and I have to say that this toilet was by far the grossest most disgusting one I have been in!  It was basically a hold in the ground…it was dirty…full of graffiti…and a bit deserted!  If you know me…my imagination started to take over…what if someone mugs me…attacks me…tries in some way to get me???  Russ and Reid would never know!  They are frolicking on the beach and I am being kidnapped and murdered… Yep that is how my mind works!  Somehow I managed to escape this dangerous situation just in time!  I met up with Russ and Reid…we caught the train!  All was good!

Then we got off the train in Corniglia!  Now to say that we were a bit tired at this point would be an understatement!  And if you have been to the Cinque Terre, and have taken the train to Corniglia, you realize that to get to the town from the train station is a huge hike UPHILL!!!!  The best part is there is a bus that will take you up the hill into town…but it would have cost us 14 euros…and we were too cheap for that!  When we told the bus driver that we would just walk instead…he had a smirk on his face…and now I know why!!  On the bright side, the view was fantastic…and interesting…and we didn’t have to feel guilty if we made bad food choices at dinner!