July 27, 2008
We left Monaco heading east, into the wind about a week ago. Initally planning to stop at San Remo the first night, we decided to keep on going to Marina Degli Aregai. San Remo seemed a bit too touristy for us at the moment and a night in a quiet marina sounded good.
The new marina at Aregai is well organized with a friendly and helpful staff complete with nice showers, a small market, and a large, clean launderette ... Life doesn't get much better than that for a tired yachtie! Jim gave Tenaya a good washing while I did loads of laundry. What fun sailing life can be, especially on our first afternoon on the Italian Riveria.
After sailing, well mostly motoring, in light winds to Loano we crossed the Gulf of Genoa to reach Santa Margherita Ligure which lies just past Portofino. The waterfront around the marina hums with the activity of restaurants and shops. Luxurious homes and grand hotels are nestled among the trees in the hills above.
The point at Portofino
Santa Margherita Ligure
Colorful buildings along the harbor in Santa Margherita
The waterfront at Santa Margherita Ligure
A colorful church
Jim in Santa Margherita Ligure
Local fishing boats
Fisherman bringing in the catch to the waiting people
These exquisite towns with pastel colored buildings clustered either at the base of steep, green canyons or perched high atop the cliffs, always along the coast, are absolute gems. Touristy, yes, but fabulous nonetheless.
We took the train to Riomaggiore, the last of the five towns and walked back through the others to Monterosso. With several different paths from which to choose such as through canyons, ascending the mountains, or along ridges, we chose the Number Two path that follows along the water. It is the shortest and we have a thing about water.
Path Number Two follows the water in most places
Until the 20th century these towns were only accessible by foot. Now they are linked by roads and rail service although they are still most charming if seen by foot. Up and down we walked on paved pathways, rocks and dirt. Lots of up and down and it was very hot. Above all it was absolutely gorgeous.
Katie on the path between Riomaggiore and Manarola
The coastline along the walk
Sunbathers and swimmers at Corniglia
We stopped for lunch at Vernazza, the forth town on our journey. While devouring delicious pizzas we chatted with the couple from New Zealand at the table next to us. Our short stop turned into one of over an hour. It was a bit difficult to get into the rhythm of walking again, especially since we headed immediately up a steep hill.
Jim under the colorful umbrellas during lunch
The lush vegetation between Vernazza and Monterosso
As we sailed down the coast Friday morning we saw the towns from a different perspective than we had the previous day. What took 5 1/2 hours (including a long lunch) to walk took just two hours at 5 kts. From the sea the extensive terracing for vineyards was more easily seen. The towns of Cinque Terre produce an excellent wine from very ripened grapes, rather more like raisins.
Monterossa from the sea
Vernazza from the sea
Corniglia from the sea
Manarola from the sea
Riomaggiore from the sea