Michelle and I woke up early because we wanted to hike to Corniglia in the morning. It is a shorter hike than from Monterosso, but still beautiful and worth the trip. Once we had a bit of breakfast, we were off.
The first part of the hike was quite steep as we climbed up and out of Vernazza. We passed a restaurant on the trail at the top of Vernazza and made a mental note to check it out later for dinner. The hike was lovely, but not near as breathtaking as the Monterosso to Vernazza segment. The hike took about an hour and the approach to Corniglia was beautiful. The town sits high up on the cliff (365 steps down to the water) and lacked a beach – just a boat launch.
Michelle and I had a nice snack in Corniglia and she took the train backto Vernazza while I kept going to Manarola. There were lots of stairs heading down to the train level and then a long flat walk along the water to the next village. Again, a nice approach but lots of tourists and an easy hike. There were a couple of access points to the water fromt the village, but still very steep and no beach at all – just rocks.
Next stop was Riomaggiorre which was an interesting town. Bigger than Manarolo and Corniglia with a beautiful, large mural and a tunnel with a mosaic along the wall. There was also a tunnel and stairs that go down to the water (again, no beach) but you can go diving, rent a boat etc. I liked Riomaggiore, but not as much as Vernazza.
When I returned to Vernazza, I ran into the family having lunch at the Blue Marlin cafe – great food right on the main road in Vernazza. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach, got cleaned up and then headed to the restaurant that we spied earlier “El Torro”. It was a bit of a hike up and we got there about 7:10pm, but they weren’t open yet! We waited about 20 minutes and took pics then they let us in. An incredible view of Vernazza and the water. We had two types of lasagna, a yummy octopus salad, crawfish and LOTS of tomatos & pasta. Simple, limited menu but lovely.
After dinner, the kids played at the playground for a while and then we went down to the Harbor for a night cap on our last night in Cinque Terra. We found a bar that had Mirto! and proceeded to drink the place dry. We also had the good fortune to be in the middle of a birthday party in which the Gypsy Queens (www.gypsyqueens.com) were playing for a woman’s 60th birthday. What a hoot! They played Beattles, Beachboys, Van Morrison, Italian songs, everything! They were a ton of fun and it was a brilliant ending to a great stay in Vernazza.