Subtitle: Sweet Mary, Mother of God do I miss accessible water.
Our last (but certainly not least) two nights in Cinque Terre were spent in Riomaggiore, the southernmost of the five villages. After we left our apartment in Vernazza, we hopped the train looking forward to relaxing in Riomaggiore and having somewhere to leave our things for more than one night!
Originally, our plan was to hike the entire length of the park, but unfortunately some of the main trails are still closed. We thought about trying the more difficult trails but since we’d already been struggling with the green “easy” trails on our first two days, we decided that we were due for a train break, rather than tacking the yellow “intermediate” trails. Our aching legs were 100% okay with this plan.
Technically this picture was from when we were leaving… hence the blue skies. You get the idea though.
After a bit of breakfast and checking in to our next apartment, we headed out to see the town. The first order of business was looking for a beach. It wasn’t a particularly nice day, but it was humid and we were dying for some accessible water. This is what we found…
It’s water… and the same Fonzi guy that we saw in Vernazza…
… buuuuut those waves didn’t look promising for accessibility.
We made our way down to the harbor, where the crashing surf made it patently obvious that swimming was not going to happen that day. In fact, the ferry boats that run between the Cinque Terre villages weren’t even landing in Riomaggiore that day. The good news is that the view was still lovely.
The churning waters complemented the colorful boats very well. But I hope the underwater one isn’t for rent; that doesn’t seem particularly water-safe.
Above the harbor, we found the walkway that led to the boat landing and the beach. Many people were trying to get a glimpse of the beach like us, but mostly we all just got wet. BV and I found a perch up some stairs, watching as the waves rolled in and people braved the splash zone.
Here I am, enjoying the show.
After many, many minutes of standing, sweating, and watching other people get splashed, I got curious about the few people who had made it around the corner to the alleged beach. Additionally, I was hot as hell, and couldn’t watch the water any more. Soooo…
BV found this very amusing. But we had been standing there for at least 20 minutes, and I knew perfectly well what was going to happen when I went down there. No, I did not see the beach, and yes, it felt amazing.
After I cooled off, I attempted to dry off with some ice cream. Logic. Over our snack, we determined that there was no way we were going to get to swim in Riomaggiore that day, so we headed back to put our swimsuits on, and hop a train to a different village that may have better conditions.
Long story short: it was at this point that we realized that my swimsuit from the day before was exactly where I left it. Hanging on the handle of the window in our Vernazza apartment, where it was hidden by curtains when we left that morning. Change of plans! Back on the train to Vernazza, where happily the next guest had checked in and was happy to let me in to retrieve my suit. Whew. After that, we headed to Corniglia in search of beach. It was pretty (more on that later), but still no beach action for us. Here’s the view from the Riomaggiore train station, because that’s the majority of what we saw for the rest of the day.
As far as train station views go, this is pretty good.
After our rail adventures, we spent a relaxing night in town, eating dinner and meeting the locals.
Our full day in Riomaggiore couldn’t possibly have dawned any differently. And thank goodness because if we couldn’t get into the damn water that day, we might have lost our ever-lovin’ minds.
So. Much. Better. To the beach!
We quickly ditched this spot in favor of an area with much smaller stones, right next to the waterline. That meant a little bit of splash from the waves, and later some shade… very important. The day was filled with lounging, reading, struggling in and out of the water, and watching other people do the same. Waves + stones = trouble.
After we were sufficiently sun-struck, we went back to the apartment for a pre-dinner nap. On the way, they were decorating for some sort of procession. We had seen signs for it the night before, but definitely slept through whatever it was. Tourist fail.
Refreshed and relaxed, we decided to have a “fancy” dinner for our last night in Cinque Terre. We ate at a seafood restaurant right next to the harbor, which was predictably touristy, but really good. Highlights of dinner include watching the waiter de-bone a fish for an American child at another table (I can’t do it either… our education system seems to have a gap), and enjoying street traffic over mussels. They had a fairly decent duo playing music, who had been at the same restaurant we had eaten at the night before. It’s a small town… I daresay they rotate.
The only downfall of our stay in Riomaggiore was that our room didn’t have a window. We knew that beforehand, so it wasn’t an issue, but it didn’t really make us want to kick it in the room in the evening. So after dinner we looked around a bit for somewhere to enjoy a nightcap. Nothing really jumped out at us, so instead we grabbed a bottle of wine and found a bench on the street to lounge on.
Get yo’ meat here.
Seriously… if you can, I highly recommend spending the night in any of the Cinque Terre villages. It’s so much better at night!
With that, our last evening in Cinque Terre was at an end. I miss that salt air…
Have you been to Riomaggiore? Did your room have a window?