Monday, 1 July 2013

Day 12: CINQUE TERRE!

Today was one of the days I'd been most waiting for - Cinque Terre - five little villages on the coast of Italy, between Genova and Pisa, and the national park around them. There is a train linking them, but what many people do is walk it. 11km and 5h, which doesn't seem too bad. Well, the 5h is a LIE, and about the not too bad... well, put it this way, I will no longer have to do a single squat in my life thanks to the amount of steps we did. Fortunately, the last stint between the last two villages, Manarola and Riomaggiore, was closed, but it did take us 6h! (did I say fortunately? oops, that was an accident... maybe...)

Anyways, we got the 9.17 train out of Genova, and got into the first village, Monterosso, a nice fifteen-or-so-minutes late (I don't believe people who claim some Italian trains are on time). Originally it was supposed to be me and seven (!) guys, but this group of five Americans had decided they wanted the beach instead of the hike, so it was just me, CC and our new ginger friend Matthew from North Carolina.
Monterosso beach
First thing to do in Monterosso: find somewhere to store our bags. We couldn't leave them in Genova, because we would be spending the next night in Pisa. But NO WAY we would carry them around the hills everyone said. So, first looked for lockers. None. Ok, this will be fun... It was superhot, we were starving (had found no breakfast on the way), and a bit pressed for time.

We queued to ask the ladies at tourist info about where to leave stuff. "You can leave them at the laundry," said the bored lady. "Down the stairs and to the right." We thanked her and went down the stairs and turned to the right. It was the underground bit where you can get onto the platforms, and we saw not even a hint of a laundry. !?

After about ten minutes we went back to the ladies at the tourist info, this time it was the other lady we were talking to. SHE was a bit more helpful, drawing the way to the laundry on a simple map. It was indeed down the stairs to the right, but what the first lady hadn't told us was that we have to walk about 500m down the street before actually doing the right turn!

Found the laundry, it seemed a bit dodgy since there was no one there, only about ten rucksacks or suitcases for anyone with any physical capability to steal. We went in, and after a while the lady working there came out from the back room. After she managed to understand what we were saying, she said "ah", told us it's 5euros per bag (ok, expected...). But she got my name and gave me a receipt, so it seemed a bit more legitimate.

Ok, yay, bags dropped off, so we started on our trip.
Our walk ahead of us :)
First bit: Monterosso-Vernazza GORGEOUS views, definite exercise and very glad I had decided to wear a bikini underneath so I could strip! CC had great fun talking to all the people we met on the way, and at least most of them didn't seem too intimidated/offended/shocked... We found loads of exciting springs and we climbed rocks, looked at the views, and everything was idyllic. And I managed to easily keep up with the guys!
Bye bye Monterosso!






Second bit: Vernazza-Corniglia still more gorgeous views, I was getting quite tired though and let the boys walk in front of me most of the time.

From a cute café at the half-way point

Tops serve as good headwear
Obviously everyone has to jump when with me ;)
Third bit: Corniglia-Manarola - during the uphill CC insisted on walking behind me so there's someone to catch me if I died, I was very close!! But FINALLY it got to a flat ridge, and ah the bliss of walking on flat ground! It felt like we were on one of those flat escalators. And we ran down the other side, and it was so much fun :)


Another reason we ran was to catch the train from Manarola back to Monterosso - the laundry that was keeping our bags was closing at 19.00. Luckily there was a train at 18.22, which we jumped on, picked up our bags (they were still there, and even my computer wasn't stolen, hurrah!). It was just me and CC now (Matthew had to go back to Genova), and we decided we'd check trains to Pisa, then get dinner at one of the quaint restaurants in Monterosso.

AAAARRRGHHHH is all I can say. We managed to learn from the ticket machine we would have to get the 19.03 train, which was in fifteen minutes. Okay, well no sit-down dinner. We also learnt it's Intercity, and in Intercity you must buy seat reservations beforehand. The ticket machine wasn't responding to touch (so much worse than even the French ones!!), and there was no other ticket machines. The American girl in the yellow top behind us told us that it's always like this. When it finally did start working again, it didn't let us choose the interrail-option, in other words there was none. (Even though interrail.eu said there was.) Ok... So ticket office it is. Massive queue. 

I queued whilst CC went to get us the quickest food he could find, which was fatty burgers/kebabs (tho he did say we needed fatty food after the hike.....). Time was ticking, at 18.58 there were still at least three people in front of me. It was 19.03 when the guy in front of me, very hurried too, started getting tickets from the ticket guy, and miraculously at 19.04 I got to him, got the seat reservations (which are only 3euros per person!), and we ran to the platform. And got on the train, which luckily Italianly was a few minutes late.

Italian train adventures!

Got to Pisa, and because of my lack of organisation and knowledge wandered about for ages (bless you CC I was not very fun company:( ), so by the time we got to our hostel we were both COMPLETELY dead. Showered and went to bed in our quaint little red room with three nice Chinese roomies. :)

Frozen yoghurt whilst taking a break from hostel-searching!
Bizzz,
Emmzy
xxx

6 comments:

  1. Lol poor you! Looks like you're not good in heat.

    Please post more pictures of the Californian guy. Anyone from California is hot.

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    1. "James needs to learn his states" -CC

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  2. Very nice photos, and very special experiences! How did you manage to arrange and organize all this?!? You must have inherited lots of talent from your parents!

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    1. I got many ideas from people :) Still wish I knew more nature hikey spots but, oh well!

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  3. Luin jo eilen, nyt vasta kommentoin. Aika mahtavaa, että pesula on matkatavaroiden säilytyspaikka! Taas tosi hauska ja eläväinen blogi. x

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  4. Beautiful photos, amazing frozen yoghurt, and continued immense fun descriptions, love you my dear and hi to Calem from me :) Xxxxxxxxxxxx

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