La Spezia, Italy – Part 2 (April 23rd and 24th, 2018)

NOTE: You will notice on some of my pictures that I’ve changed my “signature” to Bluegreenpacker. This is because I was trying to come up with a catchy/cool name for my account on Instragram and I came up with bluegreenpacker. Pretty much it’s because I love blue and green, I have a blue and green backpacks, and I love ocean and forest which is blue and green, respectively. It just seemed to fit me! So, yes. My blog is still called Broadening Perspectives Adventures, but I am the bluegreenpacker on Instagram!

April 23rd

Tim suggested hiking from Riomaggiore to Portovenere; he said he thought it had some of the best views on the whole trail. And this section of trail doesn’t require a Cinque Terre day pass so you only need a 4Euro train ticket to Riomaggiore. However, the train tickets are the same price for up to Levanto and so I bought my ticket for I think Monterosso in case I decided to go back up north again today and could potentially re-use my ticket if the conductor happened to not check it :-/ I know, slightly below the board…

I hopped a train to Riomaggiore and then started hiking. This was a bit of a longer hike – about 5 hours total. The trail heading south out of Riomaggiore basically consists of probably at least 1,000 or more stairs. I didn’t count. I could have but I was probably about halfway up when I thought if counting and didn’t want to go back down. It was intense. You basically have to get a rhythm of breathing and climbing stairs so that you don’t pass out. At the top of all these stairs is an old convent or monastery.

Stairs…stairs…more stairs.  

Now, what I didn’t really notice was that the trail splits into three directions with the same trail symbol. So the first symbol I saw, I followed, and it led me down to a road where the symbols stopped, I didn’t see anything (symbols I mean) in either direction. I walked a ways in both directions on the road, didn’t see anything. In the general direction I wanted to go, there was a tunnel that I didn’t want to walk through because I’m not sure there was a pedestrian walkway. I’m sure I looked lost to the few people who were working on their properties. I then stopped for a minute to study my map I had with me and finally noticed the trail split. So I had to go back up several stairs and back to the monastery and then continue my hike on the path that was in the middle. I probably lost 30 minutes to that little detour but not to worry. I had all day and had gotten a good start on the day.

This is the trail I took down to the road where I ended up turning around.  

Walking….walking…

Seemed a little out-of-place liked these prayer flags enough to try to photograph them.  

The trail was quite nice. Got to Campaglia which is a really small village in the hills. After Campaglia, the trail got really rocky, slightly steep in some places, but then you could see some stunning cliffs in the distance. At one spot, the rocks on the trail overlooked the ocean and so I just stopped and appreciated the view for a few minutes. At this point, I was sort of leap-frogging a couple of Italian ladies who were hiking the trail as well. There were a couple of places were we consulted with each other when the trail would split and symbols would be not immediately noticeable. The last couple of miles of the trail were the most beautiful for sure. The little bit of wispy clouds went away, the sun came out, and it was an absolutely beautiful afternoon!!

This is where the view was worth the hike.  

As you come down into Portovenere, there is a big castle on the hill that you get an amazing view of.

Looking down at Costello Doria from up on the Cinque Terre trail.  

Down in the town, on the main street towards the castle are a bunch of shops selling olive oil, pasta, pesto, and other Italian goodies and souvenirs. It was in one of these little shops that I relented and bought a couple small bottles of olive oil; one infused with basil and one infused with lemon. I also bought a beautiful spatula made out of olive wood. It is a beautiful piece of wood! I figured it’s now or never to buy souveniers. My trip is fast approaching its end. I also bought a piece of tomato pesto focaccia… wow was that delish! Then I walked up to the castle and saw some people swimming off the rocks and I thought “I am so stinkin happy I brought my swimsuit!!!!” So I slipped that on and went swimming in the beautiful water by the castle. Again, I felt so alive and happy to be alive right then… it was really a fantastic day!

Looking down towards the water and rocks where people were sunbathing and swimming. I decided I just had to join the people swimming there.  😀  If you search “Parco Naturale Regionale di Porto Venere”, that’s where I was.  🙂  

Happy post-swim selfie.  🙂  

Views from near the Chiesa di San Pietro.  

I decided to take the ferry from Portovenere back to La Spezia. I am glad I did! I ended up sitting in front of a couple of older couples. During the trip, the boat captain kept saying tour-y information but only in German and Italian, not in English. I heard one of the couples ask what languages they were and so, unable to help myself, I turned around and said “it’s German and Italian.” We well got talking. They were semi-retired couples. The guys were life-long water resource engineers, the son or grandson (don’t remember which generation he was) was going to school for engineering. So I got their contact information. I emailed the guy so that he has my contact information. I also gave him my name and email address. I haven’t heard back from him but he was a good connection to make. In his semi-retirement, he works on international water projects. ;-p Yup, he’s a guy to know! They were really interesting to talk to. When we were getting off the boat, the young adult kids said “wow they’re sharing stories and keeping each other occupied.” 😀

Ferry ride back to La Spezia from Portovenere.  

 

Got off the ferry and went back to the hostel. There was a new guy in my six-bed dorm room. He was on the bunk above me. In a super cool attitude he’s like “oh yea, i’m your bunk mate!” 🙂 Turns out he’s from northern California. He is a chemical engineer and was working for a biomedical engineering or pharmaceutical company…don’t remember. Anyway, we got chatting and I said I was going to get more farinata from La Pia Centenaria and then was going to go to Riomaggiore to watch my last sunset on the Italian coast. He asked if I wanted company and I said yea sure…why not. 🙂 So, I showed him how to get around, where the important things were, and ended up at the same place in Riomaggiore. It was an awesome sunset! Turns out, Dan is in the same sort of boat as I am… taking time off to travel, not exactly sure what he’ll do when he gets home. 🙂 Nice to meet you Dan!

April 24th

My last full day in La Spezia, I decided to hike one more section of the Cinque Terre trail. I hiked from Corniglia north to Vernazza I had to buy another Cinque Terre card but that was ok. I don’t feel like I have too much to say about this hike. I was feeling pretty fit and so was hiking quite fast and was passing people left and right. There were a couple of groups of people who just couldn’t get my hint that I wanted to pass them and so got some dirty looks and sneers as I finally was able to get past them. Oh well.

In absence of words, I’ll just add pictures of today’s hike.

View looking south.  

I wouldn’t have seen this particular leaf if a couple hiking ahead of me weren’t stopped looking at it and taking pictures.  🙂  

Pretty sure those are nets to catch olives from the olive trees during harvest time.  

More locks of love looking down towards Vernazza. 

After the hike, I went back to the hostel with plans to shower and then go to Riomaggiore to watch my last sunset on the Italian coast. My hostel roommate Dan decided to join me and it was nice to have company.

Last Italian sunset in Riomaggiore.  

After sunset, we went back to the hostel, I packed up some of my stuff, and then went to bed!

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