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(travel diary) DAY 2: the Cinque Terre

In Cinque Terre, Europe, Italy, Travel | Viagens on September 20, 2011 by "Our traveling without moving!..." Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

7:30 A.M. “On your feet, soldier!” It’s time to wake up (and no snuggle in bed)! With a small bag packed we just needed to check if there’s anything missing: our camera – checked! batteries – checked! money (it can be a hard task to find an ATM there, so…) – checked! bikini (oh, yeah!) – checked! …and, an essential, a bottle of water – checked!

Next, a great breakfast with Italian taste: a cappuccino delicioso (that you can ONLY taste in Italy), a focaccia (the first of many on these days!) and 2 apples that we took “borrowed” for our long journey!

After a short travel by train, we get to Monterosso al Mare, our first visit in Cinque Terre. There, and without leaving the train station, we bought the Cinque Terre Card, a pass to access the blue trail, the sentiero azzuro. There were 2 options: one, giving only access to the trail (5€) and, the other, adding train pass for 24 hours (10€). We took the second option, as the trail was closed between Corniglia and Manarola, so train seemed to be the best way.

 So, here, begins our walk! The moment we left the station, we were confronted with the most beautiful blue sea contrasting with the black sand (small rocks, actually!) speckled with coloured umbrellas… so inviting! But there’s no time to lose and quickly we are introduced to our particular Everest! The narrow and sloping paths and the tired (and red sweaty) faces of those who crossed us was an obvious indicator that it would not be easy… but, with the Ligurian Sea at our feet… everything would be possible!

 The arrival to Vernazza is, truly, impressive: making worth it every step, every difficulty… as we’re getting closer, the hill gradually uncovers its hidden beauty, a cluster of houses climbing up the ravine, in a harmonious colour scheme, as taken from a Delaunay painting.

 The walk continues, and we soon get to the small city. The contrast is amazing: the tired walkers looking for a blessed shadow to take a deserved rest; the tourists in a back and forth from the beach; and the locals, simply, going with their everyday life. We, in our role of walkers (49%) and tourists (51%), decided to spend some time at the beach, jumping into those crystalline waters and resting in the rocks to re-establish energies…that was the only thing that we could think about during the 2 hours trail! No need to say that the water was fantastic, right?!

Well,  it was time to keep on walking… while we were saying goodbye to Vernazza, the views were incredibly beautiful, tempting us to keep looking back and accumulating photos of this moment, but the trail started to get narrow and busy, so we needed to keep focused.

Approaching the third “terre” we can figure how similar and how different can be these five lands; surely, this one, Corniglia, was the smaller and less touristic, resting proudly and genuine on the top of the hill, surrounded by the ligurian vineyards and inaccessible to boats. Once here let us enjoy the views… And enjoy a refreshing gelato! Is it me or ice cream tastes really better in Italy?!

After this small break we went to the train station, the easy part of the walk…or not! To reach the platform we had to go down the “lardarina“: a bunch of 382 steps, grouped in 33 sets. Although they aren’t hard to handle, they were hard enough to make us loose the train!… the award? 1 extra hour of waiting!

The train finally arrives and we can get back to our objective: Manarola.  Here we are introduced to the touristic part of the path, the well known “trail of love” – la Via dell’Amore – that everyone chooses to make, ignoring the beauty that are leaving behind… But, before starting our walk, we tried to know better this village.

Walking down through its main street, we found curious the amount of small fishing boats in front of people’s house… just like it was a car parked in front of the garage! A new and, surely, unique perspective to deal with the lack of space in Cinque Terre… with breathtaking views, as in the other villages and, as the sun was going down, even more beautiful they seemed!

The Via dell’Amore offers a different experience on the trail: we’ve left the steep trails behind and welcomed the paved and flat floor! In the Bar dell’Amore (yes, you read it right, a B-A-R!), we found the perfect place to sit and enjoy the views tasting the local wine Sciacchetrà (pronounced “shack-eh-trà”) accompanied by delicious almond little biscuits, the Cantuccini.

As the walk continues the love demonstrations are multiplied: hundreds of locks and some love notes are spread all over; lovers, friends and, even, family don’t want to miss the chance to show its love, painting and decorating the walls, gates and railings with true declarations giving the romantic accent to the trail. The ritual is not completed without sitting on the lover’s chair (the sculpture with a kissing couple) and immortalize the moment in our memories (and in our camera!)… Unforgettable…

Riomaggiore is only some minutes away… Our walk is getting to an end… We’ve just completed about 12 km, in 5 hours! The arrival to this last village is less spectacular than the other 4 left behind – you can’t get a panoramic perspective of it all – but still interesting to get lost in its small winding streets that guide us to the bottom of its mountain, where Riomaggiore meets the sea and begins to climb and conquer its embracing “walls”.

 

The walk was completed… the objective has ended… but it was too soon to say goodbye: so, we rushed to catch the next train, and contemplate our favourite “terre” by night, the impressive Vernazza… one last look over its coloured walls fading with the last rays of sunlight…

 …time is against us, and we, just like a couple of Cinderella’s (don’t get mad, please!), had to be ready before midnight when the train pass finishes… so, we went to Monterosso al Mare, where it’s easier to get the train and where our adventure begun – and where we ate a huge pizza – and, just like a cycle, where our adventure finishes (but only for today!)… it is time to go “home” now… arrivederci belle Cinque Terre!

We know we’ll meet again!

_____________________________________________________

07:30 “De pé, soldado!” É hora de acordar (e nada de se aconchegar na cama)! Com a mochila preparada só precisamos verificar se não nos esquecemos de nada: a nossa câmara fotográfica – sim! pilhas – sim! dinheiro (pode ser uma tarefa difícil encontrar uma caixa multibanco lá, então…) – sim! bikini (oh, yeah!) – sim!… E, um elemento essencial, uma garrafa de água – sim! Nesse caso, podemos ir!



Em seguida, um óptimo pequeno-almoço com sabores italianos: um cappuccino delicioso (como só se encontra na Itália), uma focaccia (a primeira de muitas nestes dias!) e 2 maçãs que levamos “emprestadas” para a nossa longa jornada!



Depois de uma curta viagem de comboio, chegamos a Monterosso al Mare, a nossa primeira visita em Cinque Terre. Lá, e sem sair da estação de comboios, comprámos o Cinque Terre Card, um cartão de acesso à trilha azul ou “sentiero Azzuro”. Aqui, tínhamos duas opções: uma, dando acesso somente a pista (5 €) e, a outra, acrescentando passe de comboio por 24 horas (10 €). Decidimo-nos pela segunda opção, pois o percurso estava fechado entre Corniglia e Manarola, e assim sendo, o comboio parecia ser o nosso melhor aliado.

Então, aqui, começa a nossa caminhada!

No momento em que saímos da estação, fomos confrontados com um lindo mar azul contrastante com o negro das suas areias (pequenas pedras, na verdade!) salpicadas por sombrinhas coloridas… tão convidativo! Mas… não há tempo a perder e, rapidamente, somos apresentados ao nosso “Evereste” particular! Os caminhos estreitos e inclinados e os cansados ​​(e suados) rostos de quem passava por nós era um indicador óbvio de que não seria fácil… mas, com o Mar da Ligúria aos nossos pés… tudo seria possível!



A chegada a Vernazza é, realmente, impressionante: faz valer a pena cada passo, cada dificuldade… à medida que nos aproximamos, a montanha desvenda a sua beleza escondida, um aglomerado de casas que se abraçam à falésia num gesto tão natural e harmonioso que parece pintado por Delaunay.

A caminhada continua e, rapidamente, chegamos ao coração da pequena cidade. O contraste é surpreendente: os caminhantes cansados ​​procurando uma sombra abençoada para terem um merecido descanso, os turistas num corrupio constante para a praia e, os habitantes locais, simplesmente, continuando no seu quotidiano, ignorando toda a agitação que os rodeia!
Nós, no nosso papel de caminhantes (49%) e turistas (51%), decidimos passar algum tempo na praia, mergulhando nessas águas cristalinas e descansando ao sol nas rochas afundadas… Não é preciso dizer que a água estava fantástica, certo?



Bem, era hora de continuar a andar… enquanto nos despedíamos de Vernazza, os pontos de vista eram incrivelmente belos, cativando-nos de tal modo que era impossível deixar de olhar para trás e acumular fotografias desse momento… mas a trilha começou a ficar estreita e movimentada, por isso precisávamos manter a atenção e, finalmente, seguir em frente.



Aproximando-se a terceira “terre”, começamos a descobrir o quão semelhantes e, ao mesmo tempo, quão diferentes, conseguem ser estas cinco aldeias; certamente que, esta, Corniglia, era a menos turística, descansando orgulhosa e genuína no topo da sua colina, inacessível aos barcos e rodeada pelas vinhas ligures. Uma vez aqui, apreciamos a vista… E desfrutámos de um refrescante gelato! Serei só eu ou os gelados sabem realmente melhor na Itália?

Após esta pequena pausa, seguimos para a estação ferroviária, a parte mais fácil da caminhada… ou não! Para alcançar a plataforma tínhamos de descer a “lardarina”: 382 simpáticos degraus, agrupados em 33 conjuntos. Embora eles não fossem difíceis de percorrer, eram o bastante longos para nos fazer perder o comboio!… o prémio por isto? Uma hora extra de espera!



O comboio finalmente chegou e podemos voltar ao nosso objectivo: Manarola. Aqui somos apresentados à parte turística do caminho, a conhecida “trilha do amor” – la Via dell’Amore – que todos optam por percorrer, ignorando a beleza que deixam para trás… Mas, antes de começar a nossa caminhada, procurámos conhecer melhor esta aldeia. Descendo a rua principal, encontramos a sua curiosa essência: pequenos barcos de pesca “estacionados” em frente às portas das pessoas… como se de um carro se tratasse estacionado à frente da garagem! Uma nova e, certamente, única perspectiva para lidar com a falta de espaço em Cinque Terre… as vistas continuavam deslumbrantes, como em todas as outras aldeias e, como o sol já estava a descer, ainda mais bonito parecia nas tonalidades douradas e quentes como só um pôr-do-sol sabe fazer!

A Via dell’Amore oferece uma experiência diferente de todo o percurso: deixamos para trás os caminhos íngremes e estreitos e saudamos um piso liso e pavimentado! No Bar dell’Amore (sim, leram bem, um B-A-R!) encontrámos o lugar perfeito para sentar e apreciar as vistas calmamente, provando o vinho local Sciacchetrà (pronuncia-se “shack-eh-tra”) acompanhado por deliciosos biscoitos de amêndoa, Cantuccini.



Com o continuar da caminhada, multiplicam-se as manifestações de amor: centenas de cadeados e alguns bilhetes de amor encontram-se espalhados por todo o lado; namorados, amigos e, mesmo, família não querem perder a oportunidade de mostrar seu amor, pintando e decorando as paredes, portões e grades com verdadeiras declarações dando o perfeito toque romântico ao percurso. O ritual não é concluído sem sentar na “cadeira dos amantes” (a escultura representando um beijo) e imortalizar o momento na nossa memória (e na nossa câmara!)… Inesquecível…



Riomaggiore está a apenas alguns minutos… a nossa caminhada está a chegar ao fim… nós acabámos de completar cerca de 12 km em 5 horas!

A chegada a esta última aldeia é menos espectacular do que as outras 4 já deixadas para trás – não se consegue ter uma perspectiva panorâmica de toda a aldeia – contudo, o interessante, é perder-se nas suas pequenas ruelas sinuosas que, sem saber, guiam-nos até ao berço da montanha, onde Riomaggiore encontra o mar e começa a escalar e conquistar as suas “paredes”, fundindo-se perfeitamente como num abraço.



A caminhada foi terminada… o objectivo concluído… mas era cedo demais para dizer adeus: assim, corremos para apanhar o próximo comboio, e contemplar a nossa “terre” favorita, Vernazza, ao entardecer; impressionante… só mais um último olhar sobre as suas paredes coloridas desvanecendo com os últimos raios de sol…

…o tempo caminha em nossa contra, e nós, como um par de Cinderelas (não te aborreças, please!) tínhamos de estar prontos antes da meia-noite quando termina o passe de comboio… então, regressamos a Monterosso al Mare, onde é mais fácil apanhar o comboio e onde a nossa aventura começou – e onde comemos uma pizza enorme – e, assim como um ciclo, onde a nossa aventura termina (embora só por hoje!)… é hora de ir para “casa”… arrivederci belle Cinque Terre!

…Sabemos que nos encontraremos novamente!

39 Responses to “(travel diary) DAY 2: the Cinque Terre”

  1. You have a special gift of not only sharing your words about this Fairy tale land called The Cinque Terre, but your eye to capture the land, is Amazing!
    I had goosebumps not only as I read your words, but when I saw your photographs! Beautiful!
    Trina

  2. Trina, thanks for your lovely words… thank you, thank you, thank you! We’ll keep sharing our experience in the magical “Cinque Terre”: hope you like it!

  3. Adorei o post! As fotos são fantásticas e fiquei com imensa vontade de conhecer Cinque Terre.=)

  4. Obrigada Matita!
    As fotos nem estão à altura da beleza que ostentam as Cinque Terre “ao vivo”, acredita!

  5. Oh, this is bringing back such wonderful memories of Cinque Terre, although I must say your photos are much better than mine. I must take a photography course soon. It sounds like you had a wonderful hike!

  6. Thank you, Julie, for your nice words! Cinque Terre are so beautifull that is IMPOSSIBLE to capture in a snapshot all its essence and magic… happily, we’ll always have our memories to remember this piece of heaven!

  7. I would say it can be my extremely 1st time viewing your web site. I can undoubtedly write that it contains a great number of helpful points. Excellent website. I just finished mine and i was looking for some ideas and you gave me a couple of. Great read!

  8. Sounds like an incredible journey! Now I have to get to Cinque Terre!

  9. Believe me: it is, trully, an amazing trip! You have to go!

  10. What a terrific travel journal. First–I am insanely jealous as i was supposed to go this past summer with my sister. Second–you’ve given me the Cinque Terre bug again, and now I know what to look forward to.

  11. Thank you sooo much for your comment! Well, now you know what to do next summer: visit the Cinque Terre!

  12. What a fantastic post! and I love every single image you have taken. Haven’t been in Cinque Terre yet, so now I’m all inspired.
    Viaggia sicura, ciao

  13. Thanks for your comment Alicia; it is really appreciated, you’re a terrific photographer! Thank you!

  14. Thanks for taking me along on your delightful walk/

  15. You are always welcome, keep joining us.

  16. I love your words and your photographs, the colour is composition is delightful. My husband and I spent 2 days in Cinque Terre in Spring and loved every minute, your images bring back wonderful memories, thank you for sharing.

  17. Thanks for the compliment, we really appreciated it!

  18. I love that place! Especially Via dell’Amore. Have to go back there, last time I was there with my parents and siblings, really nice but not very romantic ^^

  19. Cinque Terre is always beautiful… but, adding a romantic “ingredient”…then, it’s unforgettable!

  20. What beautiful photos! I really enjoy your words and images. Thanks so much for sharing.❤ Chelsea

  21. Thank you, Chelsea, for reading us!

  22. I love your travel memories! I’ve been to Italy siz times but never to the Cinqu Terre…maybe next time.

    Thanks for visiting and liking my blog, http://www.fearlessfastpacedfdiction.wordpress.com

  23. Thanks Suz! Hope you’ll keep an ‘eye’ in our blog!

  24. Makes me remember my adventures at Cinque Terre. The photos are just beautiful and so are the descriptions!

  25. Thanks again, Christine!

  26. Very nice work. I like your photographic style. It is very appropriate to your subject.

  27. Thank you, Victor! Thanks for your comment!

  28. realy great pictures. i recommend you to travel to Finale Ligure in italy. It’s so beautiful there. great nature old buildings and great people🙂

  29. Thanks for your great sugestion! Keep them coming!

  30. Your words and photos bring back memories of my day hike to all 5 towns. The trail between the towns provides great views.

    Thanks for looking at The Photo Exchange blog.

  31. Hi! I clicked over from “Living in Salerno”. Thanks for “liking” my Isola d’Elba post. Your photography is awesome. Thanks for the inspiration!

  32. Thanks for your visit, Jim!

  33. Thank you so much for your words! Is always a pleasure visiting your blog!

  34. Hi, Your photographs are really heartbreakingly beautiful especially given the events of this week. Once you’ve been to Liguria you can’t imagine a world without its special beauty. It is sad but we must be hopeful that this region will overcome the tragedy and rebuilt and be as beautiful as ever. I am looking forward to following more of your travels and seeing the world through your lenses.

    toni

  35. Fantastic photos. Love Italy, but never been to the Cinque Terre. You have persuaded me.

  36. Thanks, Toni! It’s true, we can’t even believe in the photos seen this week from Liguria…

  37. Thank you, Sandra! This place is a real treasure!

  38. Cinque Terre is a special place – we stayed in Vernazza and loved every minute. Thanks for letting me re-live the memories!

  39. Thanks, Jill!

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