Yesterday we took the train to the farthest of the 5 towns that make up Cinque Terre with the intentions of hiking back to at least two of the towns before returning the rest of the way on the train. When we got on the train, we met a young (well, younger than us) couple who were from, of all places, Arvada CO. Small world! They were also planning on doing the hiking between towns. At the first town, we walked around, looked in some shops and decided to hit the trail. The walk between the first two towns was short, about a half hour and the trail followed the coastline so you got a beautiful view of the water while you walked. We stopped about midway at a small bar and restaurant and had bruscetta and octopus salad (weird, but refreshing and tasted unlike anything I've ever tasted.)
The walk from the second to third town was closed because the heavy rains from the night before had caused a landslide that closed the trail. So we took the train to the third town (45 min waiting for the train and then a 4 minute train ride). In order to get to the town, you had to climb a stairway with 365 steps! Thank God this was at sea level and not altitude or we'd still be on it. The sun had come out and the day was hot, hot, hot. I didn't have my hat (thank God I had my sunglasses). We refilled our water bottles and hit the trail to the 4th town. The guide at the trailhead said the walk would take about 1 1/2 hours. It took us two- we're old, and the trail wound up and down over the coastline with many steep ascents and descents. We were never so happy to see a town when we came around the last corner. After a stop at the pharmacy for Motrin (knees, backs and feet all a little sore) we went down to the marina and had a beer at the marina cafe, then dinner at a local trattoria where we had lots of different seafood.
Sardines- these are not your grandfather's sardines which you could smell from two rooms away and rolling in that stinky oil. These were fresh from the sea, lightly fried in flour, delicate and delicious. I'm definitely a convert.