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Day 2: Cinque Terre

We didn't get woken up by church bells this morning, but once we were awake we could hear a loud noise in the distance. Could it be the sound of waves crashing on the cliffs? We opened the shutters, and sure enough the weather outside had definitely taken a turn for the worse overnight.


The water was completely white and there were some enormous waves in the sea!

Although the sky looked dark, it didn't actually appear to be raining though.


We went to the viewpoint around the corner from where we were staying.


The sky wasn't clear, but we could just make out one of the other Cinque Terre villages (Manarola) in the distance.


Time for breakfast! As our room is quite basic, it's not even possible to make coffee there so we needed to find a cafe. Luckily in Italy that isn't normally too difficult, and we were soon eating warm pain au chocolat and drinking americanos :) 


Our plan for today was to visit all five of the Cinque Terre villages. Obviously we were starting off in Corniglia, which is the middle village.


That meant we needed to decide whether to first travel south, towards Manarola and Riomaggiore, or north towards Vernazza and Monterosso. 


But before we could go anywhere, we needed to climb down the steps to Corniglia's train station.


It was a long way down!


There were some beautiful views on the way, though :)

And with time, the train tracks became a little closer. As you can see from this picture, the villages are perched so precariously above the sea that they are completely inaccessible by road. Instead, they are linked by the train line and by a series of footpaths. Today didn't feel like weather for a hike though, so we were definitely taking the train :)


We found it rather amusing that at the bottom of the steps, there is a sign advertising a pharmacy at the top :D I suspect some people might well be in need of it when they get to the top!


We'd pretty much decided that we were going to travel south, when we got to the train station and found there was a train about to arrive heading north. We made a quick change of plan, and within a couple of minutes we were exiting the train in Vernazza.


First impressions were that it immediately seemed bigger (and flatter!) than Corniglia.


We strolled down the main street, where there were some beautifully colourful houses...


...and we soon found a tiny archway in the rock, through which we could see the sea.


Vernazza is one of the villages that is right down at sea level, which means it has suffered with flooding in the past.  When we got down to the harbour, it wasn't hard to see why!


We stood and watched some truly enormous waves in the harbour.

Tim got a little bit over-excited about the waves and decided to go nearer for a better view.


That was a decision which he soon came to regret :D 

Let's just say he ended up rather damp!


It wasn't really surprising with waves like this!


We turned around and walked back towards the centre of the village.


It was really pretty, with lots of brightly coloured houses...


and narrow alleyways.


It was starting to drizzle by this point, so we decided to go back to the station and get on the train to the most northerly village, Monterosso. We had bought Cinque Terre cards for today which enabled us to jump on and off the trains as many times as we wanted, which was good. Less good was the weather, which had deteriorated into proper rain by the time we got to Monterosso.


As we left the station, we had a wonderful view back down the coast in the direction we'd just come. Unfortunately it's not very clear in the photo, but if you look carefully you might be able to see a blob which is Vernazza at the foot of one of the hills.


And if you look even more carefully, you might see a faint blob on the top of a smaller hill towards the right of this photo, which is Corniglia.


The coastline in the opposite direction looked beautiful too. It must be amazing on a sunny day :)

Today was still decidedly damp, though.


Monterosso is one of the bigger villages, and I think the only one which has a proper beach. 


The guidebook had described it as "tacky", but that didn't really seem to be the case.


There was a large central square, with a big clock tower.


We explored for a while but it really was quite wet, so we decided to head back towards the train station.


Sitting on a warm, dry train felt like quite an attractive prospect, so we decided to stay on until we reached the southernmost Cinque Terre village: Riomaggiore.


Riomaggiore was a bit wet too!


There were some lovely buildings though :) 


And a steep main street, with views up towards a tower on the hill behind.


Again, on a sunny day it must be amazing :D 


We thought about getting lunch here in the hope of having some time to dry off, but we were a bit too early for Italian standards. So we got back on the train to travel to the fifth village: Manarola.


Manarola wasn't any drier!


We climbed upwards towards a church tower on the hill...


...with views up towards brightly coloured houses as we went.


The church itself wasn't particularly photogenic...


...but from the far side of the church tower, there were some fantastic views of Manarola.


I could see why this one is described as being one of the prettiest Cinque Terre villages :)


After we'd enjoyed the views, we climbed back down into the main village.


This time we managed to find a restaurant with indoor seating and enjoyed some amazing lasagne (which we forgot to take a photo of!) and half a litre of some local wine :)


I had hoped it might magically dry up while we were eating, but it didn't! So all that remained was for us to get a train back along the coast to our home village of Corniglia :) 


This time we chickened out of the steps and took the little local shuttle bus up the hill towards our accommodation, where we began the much-needed process of drying out :D 

Today hasn't quite been the weather I'd hoped for in Cinque Terre, but it is a really beautiful part of the world regardless :) 


Edited by Clare

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