And now for something a little different...

gnwatts

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In the summer of 2007, my wife casually told me she thought we should go to Italy.

Yeah, me too. I agree.

No, really, like in 2 months, say early November around your birthday.

That is when she told me she had been secretly saving for years, and we had enough money, if we were wise, to last 2 weeks (taking into account our 16 year old son who eats a lot).
Holy shit!
Where to go?
Rome & Florence, but where else. We found a small castle near Cortona (It was once owned by Charlemagne around 800 ad). Hannibal camped there in 217 BC. We stayed 4 days in a small stone tower.

Lastly, we decided to go to Cinque Terre, a series of 5 towns (All of these hill towns were founded in the 11th century.) located on the Mediterranean coast north west of Florence. These towns are located in a National Park, which we did not explore having too much fun eating, drinking wine, hiking, and drinking some more. Monterosso, is the northernmost town. Then, heading south, is Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and finally Riomaggiore. And there is a trail that connects all of the towns, about 7 miles from end to end. We made our base "camp" in Vernazza.

We got there in the evening, getting off this small little train, the milk train I think the locals call it. We had 2 rooms that were about 7'x8' each, but were located at the top of the town, with it's own private roof deck on top.
We were stoked.

From our roof deck the first morning




The first day we got up early, got our pastry and espresso, and wandered down by the plaza by the sea. Then we started our journey north to Monterosso, only a little over 2 miles north. We passed some small isolated homes, but for the most part it was isolated and we were by ourselves.







View north towards our goal.

Below, view back towards Vernazza. Corniglia is barely visible in the distance.








The trail winds it's way up and down and in and out, not in any particular hurry.









Monterosso
There is a more modern side at the far end, with the older section in the first bay around the corner. There were a lot of tourists here, and the town was not very interesting so we hung out on the beach.















Below, Vernazza is center right.




We took the train back to Vernazza, saw a beautiful sunset, drank a bottle of wine (on our roof deck, of course) that we got from Montepulciano a few days before, and celebrated my birthday.












Next: Day 2.

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Artemus

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Your right, Greg, different. But with you packing it a camera it will be enjoyable. Looking forward to Day 2.
 

gnwatts

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Next days hike started at the plaza in Vernazza and twisted it's way up and out of the town, our destination was the last town, Riomaggiore.










Looking back down the route:













Back to Vernazza, with Monterosso in the background:






We found a few of these along the way:










Looking back towards Vernazza:









Corniglia
















The path led down the spine of the hill which was really the spine of the town, descending and twisting it's way down. This one was a one way trip. The path dead ended at the end of town.
Corniglia was maybe the most beautiful town we saw in Italy, very dramatic. Walking down it's main drag you loose your orientation with the twist and turns, and then to get led out above the ocean like that was a memorable experience.
A killer lunch place was found to the left of the church (in the photo below) , actually the only business open, a small market and deli, where we bought wine and cheese and bread.












 

Nick

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Beeeeeeeautiful! And talk about a happy birthday. Speaking of which, it's November now, so happy birthday sometime around now!

It's just amazing how those trails wind in and around the coast and the little villages like that. I've yet to make it over the pond so this is great motivation. Thanks for posting.
 

gnwatts

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Thanks Nick.

Just go!
It wasn't that expensive. Pretty reasonable actually, even with the higher Euro.
Going over these images again makes me want to sell the house and move. Now.
 

baltocharlie

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Dec 21, 2012
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Wow Greg very nice. Going to show the wife to entice her to go over there. She has been wanting Greece but your images may persuade her to go to Italy. It was your canyon river pictures that got me to do Labyrinth. I'll have to pick your brain on Italy.
 
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