Cinque Terre, Italy

Karie on Oct 9th 2007 11:08 am

Cinque Terra, translated “five lands”, is a group of villages built into the cliffs along the Mediterranean coastline in northern Italy.  While it is quickly growing in popularity, it is still relatively untouched by tourists, which makes it even more appealing.

We were staying in the easternmost village of Riomaggiore, which basically consists of one main street, starting near the sea, and going straight up into the mountain.  That made carrying luggage up to our apartment super fun!  We spent the afternoon exploring & hanging out on a rocky beach, which makes for a beautiful cove, but not so much for comfortable lounging.

That night Lance, Rachael, Thomas & Kaitlin all arrived, so we cooked dinner together in the apartment we were sharing with the Gertz’.  We wanted to tour all 5 of the villages, so the next morning we took a ferry to the furthest village, Monterosso al Mare, then took the entire day to work our way back..

We had heard about a “secret beach” called Guvano Beach, beneath Corniglia, the village in the center, and decided that would be a good meeting place for later in the afternoon.  Thomas & Kaitlin hiked there, and we took the train with Lance & Rachael.  Rachel’s book said there were two ways to get to this secret beach (although the fact that it’s printed in Frommer’s kind of spoils the secret): 1) a treacherous climb down the mountain, or 2) walk a mile through an abandoned train tunnel.  For some reason, we chose the latter.

We found the tunnel, which was blocked by a large gate.  The book said to push the button for entry, so we pushed it, and the gate popped and then slowly opened.  No person, no voice, no instructions, so we had no idea who opened the gate or where they were.

We hesitantly walked inside, and then the door closed behind us.  Creepy!  Walking down the dimly lit tunnel really made me feel like we were all in The Goonies or something.  I did notice that there were no train tracks, so no chance of some train mistakenly taking the wrong track into the abandoned tunnel & running us over.  However, a few minutes into our walk, we started feeling a breeze, and soon, the rumble of a train.  It turns out that the current train tracks are not far above where we were, so it sounded like a ghost train was coming out of nowhere through our tunnel.

We had a lot of fun freaking ourselves out & taking pictures of eerie things along the way.  After about 20 minutes, we emerged into the sunlight, where we found the man that opened the gate and paid him 5 Euro each for the use of the tunnel.  I’m still not sure if he owns the land, or if he’s just a local that figured out a way to make some money off tourists.

From there it was just a short climb down to the private beach, which turns out is popular with nudists!  It’s not the easiest place to get to, so we were really expecting to pretty much have the small beach to ourselves, but no such luck.  However, as long as you looked forward (not left or right), this place was spectacular.  The water was so clear you could see 20 feet down to the bottom.

From there we walked back through the tunnel (not nearly as scary the second time), then hiked through the next two villages to get back to Riomaggiore.  Part of the trail is referred to as “Lovers Lane”, so we timed it perfectly to catch the sunset from the cliff-side path.  What an incredible day – perfect weather, sparkling sea, and good friends.

Our time there was too short, especially considering that we had to say a more permanent goodbye this time.  This was the end of our Italian rendezvous with the Gertz & Yeaman’s, but in case our paths don’t cross again in Europe, we’ve already planned a reunion in San Diego next Fall.

Filed in Italy,Photo Gallery,Travels | Comments (3)

3 Responses to “Cinque Terre, Italy”

  1. dadon 17 Oct 2007 at 5:08 am

    i let you go to europe and the first thing you do is go to a nudist beach! DAD!

  2. Dana Isaacson 14 Nov 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Tayler has been reading your blogs too and was so jealous you went to cinque- terre, she learned about it in Italian class and is the one place she wants to go! She has decided she’s going to follow in your footsteps after college 🙂

  3. […] terrain was reminiscent of Cinque Terre, Italy, for those of you who have been there (or read my blog about it), but possibly even a little less […]

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