If push came to shove, I’d say that the highlight of my trip to the Cinque Terre was the full day that we spent hiking from Manarola to Vernazza, via Volastra and Corniglia. The Cinque Terre is one of those places that looks spellbindingly beautiful whatever the weather, but when the sea glitters and the colourful façades glow in the sunshine, it’s truly other-worldly. Without further ado, let’s pick up where we left off: tracking down the starting point of the trail to Vernazza.
One of the things that drew us to the Cinque Terre was the promise of hiking trails and hills. Cambridge, you see, is sorely lacking in that department. After two days of cloudy skies and intermittent sunshine, we were treated to a day of scorching temperatures and cloud-free skies. We picked up some chocolate and jam croissants, washed them down with coffee (well, Laurence did), and hit the trail.
According to the well-known proverb, the early bird catches the worm. Or, in our case, the pastries. (I know which one I’d rather.) With everyone else having a lie-in – it was a Sunday, after all – we had pick of the pastries at Pasticceria Corbani. After much umming and ahing, I went for the pear and chocolate pastry, while Laurence opted (surprise, surprise) for the Nutella swirl. (If there’s a way of getting Nutella into a meal, he’ll find it.) Pastries in hand, we made our way down to the small harbour, set on enjoying our breakfast with a view of Manarola.
Unsurprisingly, the Cinque Terre is firmly on the radar of many a travel enthusiast these days. Clinging to the cliffs, these pastel-coloured villages and their harbours filled with fishing boats are the epitome of picturesque. Truth be told, I simply don’t have the words to describe the beauty of the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre and its five lands – but I’ll give it my best shot.