Riding a night train is a bit like a magic trick – you step into a box in one city, it gets dark, and you step out of the box in a completely different city. In this case, the magic trick transported us from Paris to Milan. And after a few hours on a second train, we stopped in Monterosso al Mare, the northernmost of the five ocean-side towns of Cinque Terre. Connected both by railway and several miles of hiking trails, we were able to explore several of these beautiful little towns during our short stay. I only wish we had few more days to experience their legendary beauty (you’ll find that the sentiment of “a few more days” is a recurring theme of this trip).
The bullets on Cinque Terre:
- The “Five Lands” – Monterosso (where we were staying), Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore – are perched on cliffs and mountains that run right up to the Mediterranean Sea, which meant that epic viewpoints were just about everywhere.
- UNESCO World Heritage status protects this area from the blemishes of large-scale corporate development
- Sadly, only the part of the trail between Vernazza and Corniglia was open at the time. To get from Monterosso to Vernazza, we climbed up into the mountains on one of the inland trails. We’ll have to save Manarola and Riomaggiore for another trip.
- Focaccia, little cafes, sunny breakfasts at the hotel, seafood…
- Extremely narrow streets means no cars and motorcycles, just the peace and quiet of Italian village life.
- We found small chapels and larger monasteries all along the trails connecting the towns, some providing refreshments to hikers.
- Biggest photography challenges: balancing exposures in a combination of bright sunlight and dark cloud cover, resisting the urge to take a picture of absolutely everything.
- Photos were processed with VSCO Film Fuji Astia 100F and Fuji Fortia SP-.
- The cats that live here are apparently world famous.