Oh Liguria

All the photos are from a disposable camera I spontaneously bought from DM after I saw one of her photos on Instagram, a day before the trip to Liguria. The first city we visited was Genova, the hometown of Christopher Columbus. We decided to stay there for a night before heading to our main destination, the marvelous Cinque Terre. The first three photos were taken in Genova. I was impressed (and perplexed) by the narrow alleys (carruggi) lined by tall houses in the historical center, which is where our awesome hostel is also located. It’s much more confusing than the ones in Venice. I was glad that I brought my Nokia walking navigation that can be used offline while in roaming zone for it saved so much time to use it rather than checking on the paper map every 5 meters. I’ve had the best spaghetti ever in Genova, one with pesto and the other one with special mushroom sauce here.

 

 

The next day we took a regional train to Vernazza, one of the cities of Cinque Terre (cinque means 5). We chose Vernazza as the homebase because many people say it’s the most beautiful among the five. It took us less than a five-minute walk from Vernazza train station to our B&B. It’s a very compact town, with the most pristine-looking harbor. After exploring the town and encountering a lot of reconstruction sites due to the flood in 2011, we walked uphill to the cemetery/sanctuary overlooking the breathtaking view of the harbor. It’s so overwhelming to think that the locals have to go through all the “climb” in the process of burying their loved ones.

A friend took the photo above at the harbor of Vernazza. We had lunch and dinner at the very same restaurant that day for the other restaurants were closed. We hit the bed early that night then woke up to a fresh start the next day, ready to explore the other four, starting from the most eastern city in Cinque Terre: Riomaggiore.

 

After several hours of exploring then topped by a decent lunch of pasta and fresh seafood in Riomaggiore, we took a 5-minute train to the next city: Manarola. Its train station has the most gorgeous view among the five. You can sit at ease on one of the benches watching the ocean and sunset while waiting for your train to come. Believing in the general assumption that one has to go hiking in Cinque Terre, we opted for the easiest hiking track according to the list (other than the closed Via dell’amore), which is from Manarola to Volastra, comprising a lush area of vineyard as well as the Chiesa Madonna della Salute (12th Century). The photo below was taken during the hike.

It was almost dark as we got back to Manarola. From there we took another short train ride to the next city: Corniglia. Corniglia is the only town in Cinque Terre that doesn’t have direct access to the shore. Unlike the other four cities, it’s quite far from Corniglia train station to the town while the view hasn’t much to boast so we were very lucky to catch the minibus right before it left. In the town, we stopped by a cafe to have some tea and snacks. It’s the smallest yet the oldest city among the five, and the buildings are more in order compared to the other towns. Too bad we only had like 30 minutes before the last minibus leaves for the train station. We couldn’t walk to the station for the streets (other than the town) have no lights at all. After another less than 10 minute train ride, we arrived in Monterosso. Beyond expectation, Monterosso looks stunning at night we literally dropped our jaws. It’s the most tourist-welcoming town among the five. You just can’t have enough of the view along the promenade so we returned again early in the morning to spend an entire afternoon before leaving for Milan to catch the flight back to Berlin.

 

The three photos below were taken in Volastra after the one-hour hike from Manarola.

 

 

A story behind the last photo: It was around 4-ish in the afternoon as I passed the yard of Madonna della Salute alone (I forgot where all my friends were). I had a big urge to photograph these wonderful ladies ever since I saw them busy chattering and laughing from a distance. As I approached and asked for permission to photograph them, there was an abrupt awkward silence. Taking the silence as a yes, I quickly bent my hip to get a lower position and my behind accidentally hit a garbage bin. They all laughed at me. I think the one in the middle had the loudest laughter.

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