The other day it got so hot I actually felt a bead of sweat dribble down the back of my neck – a fully formed bead of sweat. At that we decided we needed water, and not just a bottle of it, but a whole heap of it. We needed the ocean.
Ever against being restricted by a tour, with the help of a guy from our hostel room, I gave into Catherine and we booked a day trip tour through Viator (a company of tripadvisor). For just over $100, we were picked up from just down the road from our hostel, driven by coach to the Cinque Terre National Park (2hrs), transported via train or ferry between four of the five islands, and there was an option to have a three-course meal included for lunch.
I actually really enjoyed the tour, and it was not just because of Stefano our guide. The tour allowed for a lot of freedom and all Stefano was really responsible for was getting us from one village to the next. From there we were given half an hour in the smaller villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola, an hour in Vernazza, and three hours in Monterosso where we got to have lunch and go for a swim. The villages were picturesque and so quaint. Cinque Terre is known for the great hikes you can do between each village and it’s a shame we didn’t get to do one. Stefano explained that there is normally an option of the tour to hike from one village to the next but due to the weather on the day (close to 40 degrees) it would not be advisable to walk.
Stefano our guide was also hilarious. He was able to lead the tour in both Spanish and English and kept swapping between the two throughout the day. At one point Stefano was explaining to us the importance of sticking with the group and returning back from exploring at the times he designated as to not get lost. “I cannot wait, the trains cannot wait, we will not stop,” he said. “Over the last few weeks we have lost at least one couple a week.” When asked how we could ensure we weren’t left behind, Stefano quite aptly replied, “I know in Italy it is normally okay to be ten-fifteen minutes late because normally the Italians are ten-fifteen minutes late. But today it is not okay; today we need to be like Germans. Be on time!”
The swim was delectable, the towns were delightful, and the tour was a great way to see a lot of Cinque Terre in one day. Going back to spend a week there is definitely on my to-do list. I’ll let the pictures speak the rest for themselves.