Manorola

With the sudden improvement in the weather, and now resettled in our new lodgings in Monterosso, we decided that we should catch a train to Manorola and have a look at our third Cinque Terre town. There was not really enough time to do more than that by train, and no ferries were running, presumably because the bad weather overnight and in the morning had made the seas quite choppy.

Walking to Monterosso station along the beachside path, we passed a group of school kids on an outing. They seemed fascinated by the sea, as if they had come here from far inland and had never seen or played in the sea before. Both of us probably thought the same thing – ‘good on the teachers for doing the right thing and bringing the kids here’. They were having a ball.

A train was coming as we climbed the stairs to the station, so we jumped on without thinking, assuming it would be stopping at all Cinque Terre stations like most trains do. However, when it raced through Vernazza without stopping, we realised that we should have checked the timetable before getting on. I thought we would have to go all the way to La Spezia and then come back the other way. Thankfully, it stopped at Corniglia, so we got off and waited for the next one, which really was stopping at all stations. Corniglia station also provided good views of Manorola to whet our appetite while we waited for the train.

We arrived in Manorola in full sunshine, with clear blue skies and no sign of all the rain we’d had overnight or in the morning. One of the most unusual sights I’ve seen anywhere on this whole trip was in Manorola, where all the fishermen’s boats were parked outside their houses all the way up the main street, quite some distance from the sea. No boats were out at sea around Manorola today.

Manorola is the town that features in most of the iconic views of the Cinque Terre. The colourful cluster of centuries old homes on the steep slopes of a seaside cliff are a photographer’s delight. A path on the opposite side of the boat harbour provides excellent vantage points for taking photos, although it can get a little chaotic over there as you keep bumping into hordes of Japanese tourists blocking the path taking selfies or posing in a range of ridiculous positions with the colourful town as the backdrop.

There weren’t so many touristy places in Manorola as there had been in Vernazza and Monterosso, so we were happy to leave after just a couple of hours. We didn’t have to wait long for a train coming the other way to arrive. We jumped on board and headed home to Monterosso. Tomorrow we go to Rome. It will be our final train journey of the whole trip.

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