A change of plan

So the plan last weekend was to take a two hour train ride from Lucca to Riomaggiore on the coast, and then walk from Riomaggiore to Monterosso via the three coastal villages of Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza. This stretch of coastline, and the five villages, are all part of Italy’s Cinque Terre National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. None of the villages can be reached by car. After devastating storms in 2011, the paths joining the villages had only recently reopened, and I’d heard it was stunningly beautiful. I had allowed what I thought was an ample five hours to walk the eight mile long path with J, before getting the train back to Lucca. Suzy Bennett has written eloquently about the walk here… But I can’t quite imagine what I was thinking.

Cinque Terre 1When we got to Riomaggiore, it was already 30 degrees, and J was absorbed in his book and less than enthusiastic about the prospect of hill walking. On the train I’d begun to absorb from my reading that stretches of the path involved climbing several hundred steep steps at a time. I took a first look up at the mountains above us, and also started to have my doubts. When we got to the information office where you buy your tickets to enter the National Park, I was just a teeny bit relieved to learn that the section between Riomaggiore and Corniglia was closed because of rock falls and would not be opening again this summer.

If you really want to walk it‘ they said (with that ‘she’s mad’ look in their eyes), ‘get back on the train to Corniglia and walk from there‘. ‘We do a lot of walking’, I said, ‘so yes, we’ll do that‘. But once out of their office, and searching for shade, I could see in J’s eyes that he was also doubting the wisdom of this adventure, and he in turn could see that I was too.

In the end, we took the boat from Riomaggiore to Vernazza, which is a lovely half an hour ride with fabulous views across this spectacular coastline. Vernazza had been buried in over 4 metres of mud in the 2011 storms, but you would never have guessed it. We climbed up to the lookout and were quite sure we had made the right decision not to walk the Cinque Terre. We had a couple of hours in Vernazza, then took another boat on to Monterosso, and then the train home.

I am back at work now, and struggling to hold on to my memories of that day. Here are a few photographs to give you a sense of the loveliness of that stretch of coastline.

The walk can wait until next time!

Cinque Terre 2

Cinque Terre 3

Cinque Terre 4

Cinque Terre 5

Cinque Terre 6

cinque Terre 7

I am linking this post to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO week #81 on the theme of Last weekend, we…. as this was a holiday I had with my adopted son.



  1. locksands · · Reply

    It certainly does look lovely over there and I’m sure you made a good decision.

    1. Yes, no regrets there…. It is lovely and if ever I go again, then I’ll go out of season for sure..

  2. I love walking but not in the heat. So I think your boat trip was the only sane option. BTW what was the book J that so absorbed J?

    1. Yes, you’re right, I really hadn’t thought it through. Too hot for a big walk. J was reading A game of Thrones. Thank goodness for Kindle. He told me that the first book was 1,000 pages (kindle pages = Normal book pages?) and he was onto book 3 by then. He is a voracious reader which is no bad thing I think

  3. We did the walk at the crack of Dawn to avoid the heat. Good choice by you!

    1. Very wise! I loved your description of Vernazza and the crowds of tourists having been dropped by aliens in your post about the place. Dawn sounds like a very good time to do your sightseeing.

      1. Thanks for that lovely compliment. the way the crowds disappeared in the evening it did seem so alien like. 🙂 Thank you for reading the post.

  4. Sensible decision! You’ve still got a trunkful of memories and other to look forward to. Regards Thom.

    1. Yes, and we still got to enjoy the views, it’s just they were upwards rather than downwards 🙂

  5. It looks gorgeous – great decision.

    Thanks for linking up to #WASO x

    1. It was a great day out and lovely to be by the sea again. I always find the sea incredibly calming.

  6. I so want to take my son to Italy, a place I’ve never been myself, and your pictures have only reinforced that desire! One day….

    1. It’s a lovely country to take young children because the Italians just love them…. wherever you go, shopkeeper are clucking over little ones. J’s a bit old for all that (!) but it still feels easy. And I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t like pasta and/or pizza 🙂 so maybe sooner rather than later?

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