Monday, June 22, 2009

Mediterranean Obsessed...

So for our “vacation” this weekend we stayed in Riomaggiore, which is part of the five cities making up Cinque Terre (literally meaning five cities). These towns weave alongside the Mediterranean and have a famous hiking trail that goes from Riomaggiore all the way to the last town of Monterosso. It is 9 kilometers (5 ish miles?) and generally takes about 5 hours to finish. Our plan was to go on Saturday morning so we could be finished early enough in the afternoon for a nap and shower before whatever we planned to do that night. Instead it rained until about 8 in the morning, so our start time was more around 11:30. It was nice and cool even though it was sunny so that helped make the hike more enjoyable. The hike between the first two towns is reeeaaalllyyy easy. Its not until the third town that you come in contact with a giant mass of stairs that looks like a winding maze. 382 steps later you reach the town of Corniglia, which is where most groups stopped to refuel for the next two towns. I was still feelin good at the time so I went along with a group who kept going.

The trail DEFINITELY got harder and there were times when I wanted to injure myself in the hopes of not having to finish the hike and instead be picked up and carried by someone the rest of the way. This part of the hike was not at all paved or civilized this part was more like you are in the set of, well, the Jungle Book or Jurassic Park (yes there was a rickety wood and rope bridge that you crossed over a small waterfall). Basically at some parts it seemed like they’d just looked at a foot-wide rock jutting off the side of a cliff and said, “yeah that’ll do for a walkway” and were done with it. Needless to say it was the toughest hike I’ve done in my life (blew Enchanted Rock out of the water REAL fast) and I would recommend it to any dare-devils who want a good challenge.

My group finished in about 4 hours after taking only one short break in Vernazza (the second to last city). When we reached Monterosso we were hungry though, so we went straight for some food. One group got pizza but I went with some girls to find sandwiches and just so happened to land in the heaven of all sandwich shops. It was the freshest food I have ever had and watching this man make my sandwich made me want to cry. He sliced the turkey from the huge breast, chopped a glorious red tomato, sliced the delicate mozzarella, used the greenest handful of mixed lettuce, sprinkled a little salt, and poured the perfect amount of olive oil on top before topping it off with toasted freshly baked foccacia bread… If that didn’t make your melt water then I suggest you catch the Red Eye to Monterosso STAT!! The bakery was apparently in Rick Steve’s book of Italy so it all made sense.. Needless to say after that morning of vigorous activity I was too pooped for the night life of Cinque Terre, but I think my rest was well deserved!

note: image is the view of Vernazza from the hike