16.09.2016 – 18.09.2016
Our next stop was the small Italian town of Monterosso al Mare. This town is part of Cinque Terre, a grouping of five cities connected by ancient hiking trails (and more modern trainlines) along the coast. These towns are all very similar but still maintain unique qualities. They are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our Airbnb host told us that her family has lived there since the 5th or 6th century – say whaaaat? There was an incredible storm during our first night that lasted for several hours. The steep, narrow, and windy stone streets quickly filled with rushing water. Thunder boomed and echoed across the hills. We planned on setting out early the following morning to hike but were met by many signs warning of potential landslides due to the intense storm. Our leader, Eric, bravely (or brazenly) disregarded the warnings and set off. We were relieved to find the trails were not nearly as badly damaged and with a careful step we set off. Pictures do not come close to doing this area justice. It was absolutely stunning with many terraces carefully cut into the cliffside where grape vines grow. We made it to the second town of Vernazza and then after a stop for an espresso on to Corniglia. The remaining two trails have been closed for the last several due to the need to rebuild following severe landslides and flooding.