A busy day yesterday for sure- complete with 14 miles, 225 flights of stairs, and almost 35k steps.
Note- tough with picture upload from the phone….
We started the day off at breakfast planning our journey with Julie and Dan. Initially, we were going to hike to the second town Venazza and meet them there. The hike was supposed to take about 2 hours but we completed it in just under 90 minutes. Unlike some of the other hikes we’ve done, this was literally straight up hill for the first half and straight down hill for the second.
Along the way, we had beautiful views of both Monterosso and Venazza and stopped along the way to get some fantastic pictures. Given that the path was so narrow, we often had to stop to let others pass in either direction depending on the speed of progression.
We ended up running into this young couple from Philly that we hiked with for a few minutes and took some photos for each other- we’d see them many times later throughout the day.
Upon arriving to Venazza, we explored the town and looked for our desired stop for either lunch or gelato. When Julie and Dan arrived, we decided we’d make our way to the third town (Corniglia) and eat there before our subsequent hike.
Upon arriving in Corniglia, there were two choices to get to the town center from the train- a cramped bus or 400+ steps. We chose the steps and by the time we made our way up to the top, we were dripping in sweat once again.
The four of us looked for lunch spots up and down the main road before finding a pasta spot that had nearly every variety you could imagine. We ordered five pastas to share and enjoyed one of our best lunch meals of the trip- carbing down before continued hiking commenced. As we were making our way out, we ran into the couple from Philly once more and laughed as we said we’d see each other in the next town.
Post meal, we began the longest hike that was accessible- between Corniglia and Manorola. This hike, although longer, was split into 3 sections- straight up, nice and flat, and straight down. Whereas the first hike was very much right along the coastline, this trail was in what they called the higher section and was more through the mountains and you could see the water. The middle section was beautiful- hiking through vineyards, hotels, houses, and various towns. The final section was treacherous- a little bit of off-tossing and tons of monster hills. It was funny because when we started there was a group of about 40 folks who said the hike was spirited and to turn around- we still persevered.
Upon descending into the town of Manorola, we once more met Julie and Dan, this time for drinks, as we sat along the coastline. The beer was very refreshing after the long hike and we decided to finish out the day and make it to the final town, Riomaggiore, so we wouldn’t be pressured for activities today. As we were making our way up the hill (so many steps), we ran once more into the Philly couple, learned about how they’d gotten lost on the same hike we’d just finished (which was fair as we had to stop to ask for directions twice), and discussed some recommendations in each other’s towns to plan for later.
The final hike was the most boring of the day- again, since the main path was closed, this me really hugged the main road for the majority of the walk. Upon arriving in Riomaggiore, we had to descend a ton of steps to get to the main city. We checked out the two restaurants that had been recommended to us earlier and explored the main strip, finding some gelato as a reward for our busy day.
When we got to the train station, we stumbled upon the bar that Matt and Laura (Philly couple) has also recommended and low and behold, they were sitting there too with their AirBNB neighbors. The six of us enjoyed some cocktails as the sun went down and settled over the water. We chatted about recommendations from what everyone had experienced earlier that day, spoke about Florence as they were headed there later this week, and found out about a cooking class that we were considering joining as well.
After happy hour was over, we boarded the train back to Monterosso to meet Julie and Dan for dinner at a restaurant next to the hotel. We enjoyed our final dinner together before getting their final gelato as we walked back to the train station to try to get information on tomorrow’s train strike (fail).
We made our way back to the hotel, exhausted, and got in bed.