Marg and I booked our accommodation for Cinque Terre at an ‘affittacamere’ high in the hills above Vernazza. Our daughter Casey and her partner Nick had stayed there last June and loved it. We stayed there last night and loved it too, but to get there we had to ride up in a ten-seater bus along very steep, very windy mountain roads for almost half an hour until we found ourselves almost up in the clouds. This meant that to get back to town was not something we could do quickly. We would have to wait until the bus came along and then wait until it completed its long, slow journey along the hilly roads.

On Thursday we need to be in Monterosso by 9am to catch our train to Pisa, and from there our connecting train to Rome. I was very concerned that we would struggle to make it to the station on time from so high up on the hillside, especially if the weather was bad, which it was certainly appearing to be. To complicate things, overnight in Vernazza it rained continuously and heavily. It was still raining heavily in the morning. Everything was clouded over. Though our room was advertised as having a sea view, we could see nothing of the sort. The weather didn’t seem promising for any sort of Cinque Terre activity for the day, and the train timeline was way too uncomfortable. We decided to cut our stay in Vernazza short by a day, even though we had paid in full, and find a room for the night in Monterosso, by the sea. If the weather remained awful we could still see a bit of the town, we didn’t have to ride up the hill in the little bus any more, and we would be close to Monterosso station for our train on Thursday.

Nima, our host in Vernazza, was disappointed that we were leaving, but completely understood the reasons why. She asked us to pose for a photo for Casey, who she remembered fondly. Her boyfriend Simone put our cases in his car and drove us directly down the hill to Vernazza, a much easier, shorter trip (only about ten minutes) than the bus would have been. When Simone dropped us off in Vernazza, it was still raining heavily and a day spent touring the Cinque Terre appeared to be highly unlikely. We caught the train to Monterosso and it was still raining heavily.

We really liked Monterosso. It has a sandy beach, gentle sloping streets and a sheltered boat harbour. Marg liked its shops, especially those selling ceramics and linen shirts. The rain abated and the sun began to shine through the clouds. Soon the clouds lifted, revealing the towns of Vernazza, Corniglia and Manorola further down the coast. I wonder if the weather on the hillsides above Vernazza was also improving. Although there didn’t seem to be any ferries running between the towns, presumably because the weather had been so bad, Marg and I decided that we’d get onto a train later in the day and visit at least one of the other five towns. But first, there was a path from the beach leading up a slope that we thought we should explore. See my next post.

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