Cinque Terre, Italia

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.

 

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Cappuccino to start the morning.

 

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View of the sea from the terrace of our house. The belltower belongs to Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista (Church of Saint John the Baptist). It was fitting as Rachel’s goddaughter was baptized (in Wichita, Kansas) while we were staying here.

 

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Leaving Monterosso al Mare

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Bridge likely built by the Romans – pretty impressive

 

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View of grape vine terraces

 

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The vines grow on such steep hillside that the growers use these carts on monorails in order to harvest the grapes. The boys really wanted to ride on one.

 

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Approaching the next town

 

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All of the streets looked like this – very steep and windy.

 

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Amazing pack: European Otter Workshop
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If you look closely you can see the two remaining towns (hiking trails currently closed).

 

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Our reward at the end of our hike.

 

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Playing cards on our last night together.

 

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A stormy beach our final morning in Monterosso al Mare.

 

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