I speak no Italian and I can understand a little Spanish, so with this knowledge I would guess that Cinque Terre has something to do with the number five and land, but after spending three days hiking the trails in Cinque Terre, I am convinced that it actually translates to “Land of One Million Steps.” In reality, Cinque Terre translates to “Five Lands” because there are five little villages linked by multiple, interconnecting trails on the hillsides and a train on the coast. The idea is that one can combo hike/train to one’s heart’s content to and fro in Cinque Terre, the five villages, and stop to eat, drink, maybe even take a refreshing swim in and around the picturesque villages. The villages are from south to north: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso (our base) located in the Italian region of Liguria and for all of you UNESCO World Heritage site hunters, this one is on the list. I will let the pictures tell the story here because it would take me more words to do justice to the scenery than all of the steps I climbed.
There are many steps but they all have great rewards like firmer booties and great views!
This a view of the village Monterosso, where we rented a little apartment that was full of character.
I am certain that there was not one spring left in all of the chairs, couches and beds combined. The woman who met us and let us into the apartment explained how to get the power back on when it went out.
The draining board in the kitchen though was pure genius!
I was in charge of cooking one night.
We hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza on our first day in Cinque Terre.
There was a huge storm the night we arrived in Monterosso and all of the upper trails were closed on our first day of hiking. The lower trail was still wet and slick and water ran down the steps in many places.
Usually you have to buy a ticket to hike on the trails but because of the storm and the trail closures, all of the hiking was free for the day.
Vernazza, where we enjoyed a delicious early dinner…
Ashley got close to the water and started talking about swimming…
and we enjoyed people watching and the sunset.
We became aquainted with many different types of steps in our three days of hiking Cinque Terre.
Up and down, up and down…
There were some places to rest.
This place looked especially inviting along the trail. I could spend some time here with a good book.
We walked through pretty villages
with colorful and stylish (check out the daisy sheet) laundry drying in the sunshine.
More beautiful steps.
We stopped and bought a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice from this man along one of the trails.
This was a nice flat section with a beautiful view.
Hillsides of terraced vineyards…
…but even the grapes get tired from the steps and use a special contraption (at least I think it’s for the grapes!).
In case you need to rest before climbing another set of steps.
The views are always worth the climb though.
Late lunch or more hiking kids?
A garden with a beautiful view.
I think this sign means, “If you are tired from all of the hiking and have fallen to the ground (like this sign), help is ahead.”
We hiked one of the trails on Halloween and were surprised to see a jack o lantern.
Instead of trick or treating we ate gelato.
Ashley even got to swim twice in the cold water of the Ligurian Sea (Scott too…that is him out there).