This morning I set out to hike all the trails but wasn’t sure how to go about it all. I decided to catch a train to the end and then hike back. I met up with Guillaume, we both missed the next train so decided to start walking from here. The first hike was from Riomaggiore to Manarola, supposedly a 20 minute hike. It took us 40. The first part is just directly climbing up stairs and it is so steep you kind of feel like if you stop you could fall backwards. My remarks evolved from “oh my god” to “bloody hell” the more we kept walking. We finally reached the top and the view was spectacular. The water is beautiful, and you can look back at the town and behind at all the vineyards. Manarola was a very cute little town. I really loved it, more quaint the some of the others I ended up seeing. We skipped corniglia (sorry!) it was really hot so we got the train to Vernazza – after waiting an hour for a train. That was just bizarre. These 5 towns and there is meant to be frequent trains but they are nearly always late and always so packed. Vernazza was also very beautiful, although a bit more touristy. We strolled around and found a place to swim. I forgot my swimmers so jumped in my clothes. The water was a bit cold but felt so good. As long as you ignored the fact boats pull in close by so it wasn’t the cleanest spot we could have chosen. We climbed up onto a rock and sunbaked for a while, saw some jellyfish then dove back in. I’d like to point out the fact that Guillaume was always the last to jump in (he’s a bit precious).
We set off again for the next 2 hour hike, Vernazza to Monterosso. The walk was fantastic, beautiful and invigorating even in the heat. The best part of the walk was the view of Vernazza and as we got closer to Monterosso being able to see the water up close. Monterosso was probably my least favourite of the towns. It is a resort town, very touristy and doesn’t have that quaint local vibe like the others (although in the middle of the day, weekends and in peak season even the others get weirdly crowded). We got gelato, laughed at how a guy who was busking/begging had his dog playing dead and relaxed a bit before heading back to Riomaggiore. We said goodbye and I went back to the hostel to relax a bit and plan how I was getting to Venice. I finished the night with some wine and pizza on the rocks looking out at the water and town. Spectacular