THIS was the opportunity for Sharyn Oxenbury and Peter Reid of Mooroopna to experience all that Cinque Terre has to offer.
They had always wanted to visit this part of Italy with its coloured houses clinging to the cliffs over the sea below, so Peter decided to look into it and found a tour called Hidden Italy with self-guided walks through the villages of Cinque Terre.
They flew to Milan and took a train to Levanto. The walk would take them to all five villages with hotel stays and as they walked their luggage would be sent on to the next hotel.
Sharyn just loved the feel of each village. The local food was wonderful and the people very friendly. Most spoke English and if they didn’t they seemed to understand anyway with much nodding and smiles.
Peter loved the walks which were mainly on small dirt tracks with the sea below but it wasn’t a straight line, you had the climb 200 to 300 steps at times before reaching your destination.
Reaching Monterosso they stayed for two nights and again there was great food. Sharyn tried the anchovies, which were not like the ones in a bottle at home…these were big and fresh you could have them done in egg and breadcrumbs. Indeed you could have them six ways and she did.
At each town there was so much to see with the shops and little cafés to experience and always that stunning view out to sea.
On the way to Vernazza the walks took them through the backyards of homes and right through vegetable gardens. Vernazza was such a pretty place with its cobble stone streets and coloured shops and homes.
They walked to Riomaggiore via Corniglisa. The track took them to the top of the mountain where they walked through a forest then came out the other side to those views of the ocean below. They had two days at their destination so they took a ferry ride to Palmaria Island where they did another 12km loop walk.
All along the way Sharyn found the food wonderful. These are fishing villages and the seafood was in abundance and cooked to perfection.
The walk was now over. They boarded a train and headed to Genoa and had a night in a hotel before boarding their cruise ship the MSC Armonia for a Mediterranean cruise.
They would visit Marseilles, Mahon, Sardinia, Malta, Sicily and Naples with the opportunity for another walk. This time it was Mt Vesuvius. Both Sharyn and Peter loved the climb on the mountain and the wonderful views below.
Finally they cruised back to Genoa for disembarkation taking a train to Milan. After a night in Milan they flew to Hong Kong for three days of R&R before flying home.
Sharyn and Peter just loved the whole experience. There was so much to see and do. They met some wonderful people and the Hidden Italy self-guided walk was incredible, though you needed to be reasonably fit climbing all those stairs.
But if you are looking for a holiday experience with a difference Cinque Terre could be the place for you.
Until next time,