After our beach lingering, we went on to do the hike from Vernazza into Corniglia. Note the steel netting above me...after seeing the size of some of the boulders it caught and reading news stories like this, I was pretty thankful for it.
|View back toward Vernazza...the little beach we were on is bottom center.|
This hike wasn't nearly as intense as the first one we did - many more areas that were level and we were able to take in much more of the view because we didn't have to worry about stable footing the whole time. The natural, unadulterated, raw beauty of the Cinque Terre amazed us...the photos really just can't even begin to do it justice.
It was incredible to us that all along these hikes between villages, there were homes - some that were even higher up the trail than we were. I mean, I can't imagine having to go down these trails with bags of groceries, but these people have called the Cinque Terre home for generations upon generations.
|The only bit of trail "running" that I did was here, ahead of Eric to get this shot.|
Corniglia was a cute little town, and I did pop into the market to get some fresh strawberries, but we didn't spend as much time here as we did in the other villages. Word from the wise - I would not recommend staying in Corniglia unless you are prepared a) to climb up 400 stairs (literal number) from the train station every time you come back "home", or b) to wait 15 to 20 minutes each time for a bus to take you to the top of the hill. Cute town, but I would recommend visiting as opposed to staying here.
We were pretty tired by this point in the day, so we went back to shower and then took a train back into Vernazza for aperitivo and dinner that night at Trattoria da Sandro, upon a recommendation from Aspiring Kennedy in this post.
Aperitivo in Italy is sort of like our happy hour, but restaurants serve small snacks for free (or included in the price of your drink is probably more accurate) to go along with your cocktail. These range from small bits of pizza or bread/topping, to a bowl of chips and nuts/olives. We picked a spot right on the harbor in Vernazza and had prosecco and spritz before our dinner. You pay a little more to sit right on the water, but hey, it's vacation right? A spritz is our favorite to order in Italy, and everyone drinks them. Basically, we just try to fit in and pretend like we live there as much as possible, ha! But...I think my poor Italian might just give me away. A spritz is prosecco, aperol (sometimes campari), and a splash of soda water, garnished with an orange slice. I love anything sparkling, so these are right up my alley.
Around 8:30 or so we headed to dinner. We learned our first time in Italy a few years ago that 8:00 is the absolute earliest you want to head to dinner unless you want to be completely alone in the restaurant. Apertifs help hold us over until then. Trattoria da Sandro is right outside the train station in Vernazza, literally. Ordinarily, we would avoid it, as the location indicates a tourist trap. But since Aspiring Kennedy had recommended it (and has never failed us on her restaurant recommendations in Europe thus far), we decided to give it a go. And oh my, I am so glad we did. Both the food and the service were phenomenal, and like most places in the Cinque Terre, it's family run. Y'all know we love a good small business.
Fresh anchovies are their specialty, and while it's probably not something I would order in the States (which are inevitably NOT fresh and packed in oil...blegh), I was determined to give it a go in the Cinque Terre. Ours were marinated in lemon juice and were phenomenally fresh. I definitely recommend giving them a try even if you don't ordinarily like them (I don't). I ordered the sea bass in a lovely light tomato sauce with potatoes and zucchini, and Eric actually ordered the anchovy casserole which was out. of. this. world.
As we finished up our last course, our bartender from the place where we had drinks before dinner came in with a large group of his friends for dinner at the same restaurant. If there was ever any doubt that this was one of the best places in town to eat, that erased it!
We spent the remainder of the evening strolling around Vernazza under the glow of street lamps, and then took a train back to Manarola.
Coming up tomorrow...a MUCH more low-key third day in the Cinque Terre.