We start the trail in the furthest hamlet, Romaggiore, delightful hole -in-the- wall shops, pretty as a picture, and stone walled mysterious narrow alley ways. The air is so fresh the colours pop out - this picture just doesn't show the vibrancy of being here, it's so hard to capture in a photo.
Another no-wimps-allowed trail... We take the train from Monterosso- much of the cliff face of the Cinque Terre is bolted back by steel nets after the disastrous mud slides after the flash floods in 2011.
Each of the Cinque Terre hamlets has a tunnel leading from the train station. There are usually buskers playing in the tunnels. (Often with their dogs) During the war the tunnels were used to sleep in during air raids.
We arrive in Romaggiore, which is a disappointment from the station, but as you walk out of the tunnel there is a huge mural depicting the villagers working together after the 2011 mud slide...amazing how within two months the village was operational again, thanks to world wide help.
The little shops are different from the other 4 hamlets. We see anchovies advertised, and a variety of deep fried fish served in paper cones.
Pretty as a picture hole in the wall shops..and narrow stone walled alleys
We walk out of Romaggiore and towards the church on top of the hill.
The church is dedicated to St John the Baptist, the patron saint of Genoa. A reminder that the republic of Genoa used to dominate this area.
I continue to find it amaIng that these small villages had such ostentatious insides, rich with marble and statues and gilded frescoes.
Vegetables growing on about 2 Metres of terrace before the cliff face plunges towards the sea.
The colours are vibrant in the crisp clean air.
An old Castello on the way
We then take a path down to the beginning of the one kilometre trail to Manarola. A pretty arched bridge begins the trail.
Walking to get to the bridge, beginning the trail
Can you see the people winding up the mountain? Doesn't look so bad hey?
Take a look at the stairs to get up- all uneven...
It's quite a challenge! At times I can feel my heart thumping so loudly it breaks the silence around...
But the views are wonderful...
Hot and happy to be close to the top! Rob never sweats when we walk at home, but even he was sweating.
Looking back where we've just come from.
And down we go, not sure which is worse, up or down..
Aha, maybe that's Manarola..
On the far side of the hill we admire the wooden carvings of Mareo Andreoli. He promised his father he would replace the old wooden cross on his family's vineyard. He then kept on adding different religious scenes, the Nativity, the crucifixion, the Resurrenction, and religious people year after year. He put a light behind each one, and on religious holidays and from early December the hillside is lit up with the scenes. He's been doing this for over 10 years, and is over 80 now...
The view from trattoria dal Billy where we stop for a bite to eat and a glass of ice cold white wine,with delicious home made pasta, ...there is the rest of the village of Manarola below us, a tumble of buildings leaning against each other like drunken sailors.