Hiking in Cinque Terre

At the tail end of my grand adventure through Europe I spent a few days in the amazing town of Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre area of Italy. If I ever have the chance I would love to spend a few weeks in Cinque Terre taking Italian lessons in the morning and hiking in the afternoon.

All of the people in Riomaggiore were so nice. I speak about 3 words of Italian and have excellent pointing skills; but, I was able to get around and work it out because everyone there was so patient and kind. I couldn't be more in love with this little town!

One morning I decided to take a hike along the coast line to another town and then a moderate to hard hike from that town, up through the mountain ridge, back down to my own little town.

This was the only map I had. A terrible terrible map with just basic squiggles for directions. Being fairly foolish, I decided that I could make it! I was a girl scout and a camp counselor (can you see where this is going?).

I made it along the path, called Via dell'Amore (Lovers Lane), stopping to take lots of pictures of these amazing cliff-side towns.

And without much trouble I made it to the trail and and started hiking. But being the responsible hiker I am, I checked the warning first:

(I actually took this picture with Stephanie from Le Sigh of a Fashionista in mind!)

Warning: do not wear high heels while hiking! Well, thank you, how thoughtful AND helpful. To be honest, I wasn't wearing the best of hiking shoes; no boots, only a pair of worn down converse.


After about thirty minutes of hiking I came across this sweet little altar. It was no more than 6 feet tall.

The gorgeous fall leaves reminded me of being home in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina (my personal happy place).

After about 2 hours of hiking I had made it about 3/4th of the way up the mountain when I encountered this:

and this!

WILD BOARS? WILD BOARS! WILD BOARS!

I didn't actually see any boars. But I was on the look out.

I hiked for another hour (about 3 to 4 hours total) and finally made it to the top! Wooo! At this point I knew I needed to turn right to head across the ridge but I just wasn't actually sure where to turn but kept my eyes open for a sign or arrows or something.

As I kept on the path I soon realized that I was incredibly lost. I had really only two options: try to keep on going or turn around for what was guaranteed to be a steep and slippery four hour hike home. So... what did I do? I called my mom.

That's right, I took my international blackberry on top on a mountain in Italy and called my mom. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey Momma. Sorry to interrupt your meeting but I'm lost.
Mom: Yea? Are you okay? Where are you?
Me: Oh yea, everything is fine. Nothing to stress about. I'm just in the middle of the woods in Italy.
Mom: In the woods?! You have no idea where you are?!
Me: Erm. yea.

Eventually I found my way out of the forest, but at that point I had passed over the mountain ridge, out of one national park and into another. In the distance I could see a large town. I decided that town was the best bet for a ride home-- I would find a bus, a train, a donkey, something! I walked down a long winding road for 9 kilometers. After asking for directions and making some lucky guesses I got into town and found the train station. Using my Eurorail pass and passport (which, THANKFULLY I HAD IN MY BACKPACK) was able to take a 30 minute train ride home to Riomaggiore.

Getting off the train I was welcomed home with this amazing sunset!

After 9 hours of hiking, wandering, a bus ride, a train ride, and generally being lost I made myself a huge carbo-loaded dinner of lemon linguine with squash, tomatoes, prosciutto, and fresh ricotta:

(this is the picture appeared on the blog just a few days ago and got me started thinking about this story!)

This story could have turned out badly, forcing me to use my survival skills (of which I have none) and spend the night in woods. But honestly, I am so glad I got lost and spent those extra hours wandering through the woods. I'm also so glad I made it home that night!

But I will tell you that I was so sore after 9 hours of hiking and walking that I had a hard time walking for days!

4 comments- my fav!:

Stephanie said...

1. I love the "no heels" warning sign. Totally makes my day.
2. Did you see any wild boars?
3. Your pictures are AMAZING. Seriously, you need to do something professionally with your incredible talent.

Peachy Keen said...

What an adventure! I was in Cinque Terre last March but we didn't hike because the trail was closed for the winter. It sounds like we missed out. You got some gorgeous photos!

Kristin said...

That sounds like one fabulous day...especially the pasta end to it. HA!

S@sha said...

That might be the most gorgeous sunset photo I've ever seen!

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