Day 37 – Cinque Terre

And now for the day with Cinque Terre. This is a string of five small villages along the coastline of North-Western Italy. So many people told me to go to this place, and here was my impression.

We got up early to reserve bikes, because I thought they might be all rented out if we did that later. The bikes seemed alright, but maybe needed a bit more air in the tires and some work on the gears. After reserving them went and took a shower, and then decided we’d all go out for breakfast in Biassa. So Amar, Angela, Natalie, Mode and I went out, found a market with some fruit, and also found a little hidden bakery where we got some amazing bread. Oh, and at the fruit market I got an orange and peeled my amazing Orange Man. It’s something I do with oranges every now and then. We went back and got the bikes, although Angela and Natalie took the bus to Cinque Terre. We said we might meet up later.

We started to ride off, but the gears on Amar’s didn’t work so well, so I took it back and replaced it. While biking back the chain on that one slipped off, so I had to fix it. Finally we were all set and started off. It was a bit slow, because Mode hadn’t ridden a bike in years and was having a bit of difficulty figuring out the gears and biking uphill, but we made it to a long tunnel and got a pace down. After the tunnel it started to go downhill and it was a lot more relaxing. The cool sea breeze flowing through our hair, and the nice vineyards covering the hills. It was really relaxing and we stopped for a few pictures. A short ride later and we were already in the first town, Riomaggiore. At that point we decided that we couldn’t really successfully explore Cinque Terre on bikes, so we locked them up and decided to walk.

We went down into the town, which was a really nice multi-colored small village with loads of personality, but the issue was the tourists. Tourists were scattered over this place like flies. It was a bit annoying, but I guess when everyone is told about Italy’s secret jewel, it doesn’t become a secret anymore.

I almost bought some wine but the shipping costs were far above my price range. We decided to move on down the first and most famous path, the Via Dell’Amore. There was lots of graffiti everywhere, but it was a really relaxing and beautiful walk along the coast. We got to the next village fairly fast too. It had some good looking restaurants so we bookmarked it in our minds for somewhere to get dinner. Each of the towns looked fairly similar, but had a unique layout and maybe some specific sights to see.

We again walked to the next one, which after a short hike required walking back and forth up a really steep hill. The third town was very touristy, and also higher up than the rest. There was a place to get some pizza snacks, of which Mode got a lot, and after eating that we decided to take the train to the next town. A train line connects all five towns, which is convenient for when you’re tired of walking. We went down to the station by a shuttle (so we didn’t have to go down the back and forth path). The train was very late, but while we were waiting we saw some kind of even where a helicopter was lowering something onto the nearby hill. We took a couple guesses about rich people needing specific fruits from a rare plant, or maybe someone got stuck on the hillside. Not sure, but by the time the train came the helicopter was still going between the hillside and some far away base of some sort with a pole-rope thing hanging from it.

Took the train to the next down and walked down to the wharf. Surprise surprise we found Natalie and Angela there! And also another guy which Mode had met the night before, I think he was from Seattle but Mode says he was from San Diego. I’m right of course. I don’t remember his name being
Asher, but supposedly it was. We got some gelato and walked around the town a little before decided to head off on the hike to the next town.

This was a long, long arduous hike involving ups and downs and stairs and stairs. We talked a whole lot the entire way, which was really nice and in retrospect it seemed to fly by. We got to a lookout point where I saw some people walking across a valley and said we’d be there in about an hour from then. It really took us about 20 minutes. The whole hike lasted around 2 hours, maybe a bit less. As we were walking down some steps near the end, a dog came the other way and just casually was walking up the steps like he was just another person. Anyhow, it was all good times and good conversations and we eventually made it to the fifth town. Lucky for us, the sweating hot exhausted hikers, this town had a beach and water to go with that beach! We went down to the waters edge, and me (being my usual self) just jumped into the water with all my clothes on. It was so worth it, but let me just point out I was wearing pants and a shirt. So I came out of the water soaking wet, put my shirt out to dry and waited for my pants to drain out. Surprisingly no one else went fully into the water. Maybe just stuck their feet in a bit but that was all.

After chilling on the beach for a while, we went back to the second city via the train. And though I was still a bit moist in the pants, we had an amazing dinner with all sorts of seafood dishes. I ordered the Seafood Pasta, and it came with all sorts of fun and interesting things like clams, shrimp, calamari, and full miniature octopuses! Very delicious and interesting to eat. After that we decided to go back, but we had to get to the bikes in the first town so we walked back along the Via Dell’Amore. We got our bikes, but Mode and Amar didn’t want to bike uphill all the way back so they decided to take the bus with Angela, Natalie and Asher. I decided I would race them back! Smart thinking!

What then followed was about an hour, maybe two hours, riding all the way back to Biassa. Uphill. On a bike that was a bit crappy, but usable. I rode my bike… the entire way… the entire. way. back. All the way. Yes, it was long. Very long. And yes, I made it. I got back completely exhausted and tired, but I was feeling good, and relaxed outside talking with people for a couple minutes before falling into bed.

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