On Walktober 2016

WalktoberRobinI always look forward to Robin’s Walktober celebration. Below are my past walks:

I had several ideas for 2016 – but then it hit me …. Let’s board a plane for one of the most beautiful and desirable walks in the world. Are you ready to join me in Cinque Terre, Italy!

Cinque Terre is a gorgeous short strip of very hilly terrain (some say rugged) along the amazing blue waters of the Ligurian Sea along Italy’s northwestern coast. The “Five Lands” are five small villages that are unique and outstanding: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Not only is this area an Italian National Park, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Although (three years ago) I have spent an afternoon in this visual wonderland, my wife and I were not only looking forward to visiting each village, but also anxious for the challenge of walking from Monterosso to Vernazza … so I decided to take my readers along to celebrate Walktober. Besides, some of the other paths between towns remain closed from damage suffered in a 2011 severe storm.

For us, we boarded a train to La Spezia where we purchased a Cinque Terre pass for the trails and the local trains … followed by the short ride to Monterosso, the most western village of the five.

Monterosso not only has the longest shoreline of the five, it also has the most beaches. Add the blue sky and the blue water … wow! … wait until you see how blue the sea on this walk!

 

The walkway out of town is obvious, so after a snack, “Good bye Monterosso”

dsc03482

… and discovered a special Home for Wayward Bloggers.

After a short walk and around the corner, we discovered another part of Monterosso that I didn’t know existed .. but we kept moving … after all, we didn’t know what’s ahead … Arrivederci Monterosso.

It wasn’t long thereafter that the terrain and the path changed. Oh crap … we have to go way up there? … and it was straight up with higher than normal steps.

The path is actually an ancient path used by people with mules and persons without a boat. The path can be narrow, steep, rocky, and high steps … so keep moving!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That’s Monterosso (where we started) …. but no sign of Vernazza …

… yet people live up here to tend to their grapes, olives, and/or citrus.
dsc03490

Along the way, everyone is treated with spectacular views

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finally, a glimpse our destination – Vernazza
imag0530

… but the twists and turns caused Vernazza to play peek-a-boo to tease us …



dsc03506

… and Monterosso seems so far away …

Vernazza is getting closer!
dsc03508

What does up must come down – and on this day that means we enjoyed the long descent into Vernazza (while we watched those going in the opposite direction who were wondering if the climb would ever end and what lies ahead).

dsc03513

At the end, I look back to see the start of those who walk in the opposite direction.
dsc03514

To celebrate the journey, my wife chose a gelato treat … of which she says was the best gelato of the entire vacation.

… then let’s sit on the rocks by the water.

After walking and relaxing in Vernazza, we let the train take us to the next town – Corniglia (possibly my favorite village)- which involved 382 steps up to the town from the station. Then we trained to Manarola for dinner, and then Riomaggiore with the sun already below the horizon- so on this day, we visited all five villages of this beautiful part of the world.

If you enjoy fall walks, join Robin and others at her post. All you have to do is click here.

On Shadows

There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast. ― Charles Dickens

A dark figure cast upon a surface by something intercepting the rays from a source of light

A partial darkness or obscurity

An imperfect and faint representation

An imitation or copy

A shaded or darker portion of a picture

The darkness following sunset

A state of obscurity

Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow… ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

A pervasive and dominant influence or presence

A remnant, an insignificant amount, an inferior focus

An area near an object

A darkened area of skin under the eye

An incipient growth of beard that makes the skin look darker

An inseparable companion or follower

A nearby or adjoining region

A reflected image

A source of gloom or unhappiness

A shelter for protection

Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you. ― Walt Whitman

Related words: phantom, dusk, umbra, shade, shadiness, blackness, dimness, gloom, murkiness, obscurity, somberness, cloudiness

Enjoy for a day journey with the shadows of Italy. Which are your favorites? Ciao!

Monterosso for a Late Lunch

Monterosso al Mare for a Late Lunch

Shining Church in Vernozza

Shining Church in Vernozza

Peeking through the shadows in Florence

Peeking through the shadows in Florence

A Sunny Day in San Gimignano

A Sunny Day in San Gimignano

Falling Shadows in San Gimignano

Falling Shadows in San Gimignano

In the Shadows of San Gimignano

In the Shadows of San Gimignano

Leaving the Light On in San Gimignano

Leaving the Light On in San Gimignano

A University Building in Pisa

A University Building in Pisa

Pisa at Dusk

Pisa at Dusk

Night falls in Lucca

Night Falls in Lucca on the Bascilica of San Frediano