Highlight: Hiking through amazing scenery, eating great food, and enjoying the company of two fabulous ladies.
Lowlight: Waiting for our train to Riomaggiore, which was over an hour late. It wasn’t a big deal though. No one on the platform seemed to be annoyed – everyone was in good spirits and unrushed. And everything worked out in the end (Not much of a lowlight).
Fun Fact: Limoncello (a liquor made of alcohol, lemon peels, and sugar) is really popular hear. It tastes like vodka and lemonaid, and is really good after a long day of hiking.
Money spent: €61
Ben Frustration Index(BFI): 0
Pairs of clean underwear left: 3
Book Page: 690
What a great day! By far the best day I’ve had in Europe thus far.
This morning Ben and I met up with Coco an Louisa for a day of hiking through the Cinque Terre National Park. After all the hedging and backout plans I almost doubted we’d actually hang out with them, but it was pretty obvious we enjoyed each others companies.
The weather was amazing – sunny, warm, with a slight breeze. The scenery was breathtaking – trees, cacti, small villages nestle on terraced hillsides, and beaches with blue ocean. The company provided enough laughs and great conversation to make even a bording day (which it wasn’t) fun.
The walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola was called the Via del’Amore – Road of Love. It was paved most of thw ay and mostly flat. From Manarola Corniglia the terrain got hillier and the hiking more strenuous. I got a good workout.
At Corniglia we stopped for lunch. It was fun wandering the twisting winding cobblestone streets, full of only pedestrians, looking for places to eat. I found a cute little restaurant selling focacchia with cheese, olives, and tomatoes. From what I could tell it was €3 for a half a loaf so I ordered what I though was 2 servings, or one full loaf. When the waitress grabbed 2 loafs I almost freaked out, but it turned out one was for someone else and I ended up getting what I wanted – lots of delicious foccachia.
Well fed we continued our hike to Vernazza. This leg of the hike was longer and strenuous, involving lots of ups and downs. It took us over 2 hours. On the way we bumped into Stephen, Jill, and Stephen’s folks, surprising all of us. We all hiked into town together and sat down for a well deserved gelato break. Ben and I had also grabbed gelato the night before and both times were scrumptious. Today we made a pact to eat gelato everyday while we are in Italy.
It was 5:30 and Ben and I realized we needed to check into our hostel by 7:30, so we decided to hop a train back to Riomaggiore and meet up with the girls at 6:30. The the train was late and kept getting delayed 5 minutes at a time. There was a huge crowd waiting on the platform. Strangely, no one was angry. Everytime the delay increased by 5 minutes they would clap and laugh. As the number started to grow so did the excitement of the little girl beside us did. When it changed she would dance around in amazement singing “cinquenta, cinquenta” or whatever the number of minutes it was delayed. It was like a game to see how late it would be. At some point, Ben ran off to tell the girls we were delayed and hiking would have to wait until tomorrow. Instead, they joined us and the 4 of us went to Riomaggiore, Ben and I checked in, then we found a place to eat.
We found an Italion restaurant and I had gnocchi and friend eggplant. We plit a good bottle of Italian red wine and talked for hours about everything including American, Canadian, and Quebec politics. At around 11 pm I looked at my watch and noticed that the girls were in dange of missing the last train back to Vernazza, where they were staying. So we quickly ran to the train station and promised to meet up again tomorrow.
The whole day was just amazing. Ben was extremely funny (what a difference a day can make), with a fresh audience he seemed inspired to make witty jokes instead of the usual sarcastic insults. The 4 of us clicked the first tiem we met and got along so well all day.