Monday, September 16, 2019

Monday, September 16, 2019

first hike and did not like monterosso

Posted by Hippobean at 11:30 PM
Italian breakfast was of course continental. Which means lousy. Cold slices of bread, cold cuts and cheese, cereals, scrambled eggs. Nutella (really?), jams and boxes of juices. Coffee machine with expresso, cappuccino, americano, hot latte and hot water as choices. like I've said, lousy. But it's european.

The first hike was from Levanto to Monterosso, the Azure SVA10 route. Quite looking forward to it and I felt good and healthy this morning. We started off walking from our hotel Pensione Moderna in Bonassola, our base, to Levanto, which was the next town in the south. This walk was coastal with gorgeous view of the turquoise sea, clear blue sky and balmy weather. A series of lighted and surprisingly airy pedestrian and bikes only tunnels, cut through the hills, led into Levanto. Levanto a big town with a nice long seafront promenade. Already people were sunbathing. Not many tourists. We gathered picnic lunch material at a grocery. They didnt speak english and I've wanted prosciutto and the attendant pointed at different types of ham on the counter. I guess prosciutto simply meant ham, not exactly the long thin slices I was thinking of. I've pointed at a hard cheese but the attendant said it couldnt be cut and had to be bought in whole. so I've settled for a soft one and she cut 2 slices. Got a small french bread and a box of orange juice. Had wanted an apple but the weight scale was broken and didnt want to waste time waiting for it to be fixed. Outside, there was a red fiat and someone was tying a wide white bow on the hood. A perhaps late 20, early 30's man was standing in front of it. Through the Italian conversation among the people around the fiat, the man was the groom.

Levanto was a new town, no winding labyrinth narrow cobble stoned streets. Aside from the long refreshing seafront promenade and beach, not much was worth seeing in town. We started to ascend about 70 steps up to reach the castello. Not too impressive. From there, it was all gentle uphill along the coast. The views of the town below and the sea were spectacular. The mediterranean style houses along the path all had terraces with fantastic views of course. I wondered who lived in those houses and if they're happy. someone mentioned how they get their groceries up there. There's a road of course. but I dont think they had their groceries delivered.

The path quickly left the coast and it's now pine forest. Very steep with slippery rock 300m trail up to the ruins of St Antonio, the monastery of Augustinian monks, where we stopped for our picnic lunch. Up here on punta mesco, we could see Monterosso, the first of the 5 villages of Cinque Terre, below us and then further south, Vernazza and Corniglia on the hill.

Punta mesco was the best spot to view the 3 villages all in 1 sight. Nice way to start the trip. Many french hikers and they brought a bottle of red wine for lunch.
The final stretch was a 380m descent to Monterosso, all rocky giant steps. On the way down, we encountered hikers going uphill from town to St Antonio.

The hike took almost 7 hours, with a half hour in Levanto, half hour for lunch and a few stops along the way to catch our breath. While others declared it was a difficult hike, I was surprised it didnt feel that difficult for me. In fact, I've quite enjoyed it. It's only 9 km but it felt very long and I was tired at the end, but the climbs didnt feel so hard exactly. Normally I'd be bitching and swearing about the climbs and expected to be breathless with frequent rest stops, but I did surprisingly well.

The trail ended in the new town in Monterosso and the first order was gelato. The train station poured out a multitude of tourists and they filled the entire promenade. It put me off instantly so I just sat in front of the station, under a brutal sun. No shades anywhere except in the cafes. We took the train back to Bonassola, which was only 2 stops away.

Dinner was at Lungo Mare. The menu had gnocchi with lobster and pasta with lobster. I had want that but you need to order for 2 people and I had no one to share it with. So I settled for the seafood ravioli which came in stuffed with seafood and a few langostini. The sauce was heavenly.

Levanto photos:

Monterosso photos:



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