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Best and fastest way to see Cinque Terre


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large_5550_14719650777452.jpgVernazza on a postcard. We didn't have time to scale the hills to get such a vista.
Italians aren’t big on breakfast; usually just coffee and maybe a pastry at most. So we were pleasantly surprised by the relatively big breakfast at our guesthouse consisting of packaged toast, egg and some pastries.

Our Nepali hostess had suggested that we take the bus 0915 down to Vernaza and then the boat to explore the other villages. The drive down the narrow windy road felt easy with someone else at the wheel, and with them liable for any damage to the vehicle.

At Vernazza [Vernazza-travel-guide-1306897], we ignored the taxi-boat operators and found the ticket sales for the big boat which cost EUR222 on a hop-on/off basis. The ticket lady suggested we go tll the way south to Riomaggiore [Riomaggiore-travel-guide-1304044], come back part-way to Manarola [Manarola-travel-guide-1301024], look up at Corniglia [Corniglia-travel-guide-1298620] (which has no berthing facility), then all the way north to Monterosso [Monterosso-travel-guide-1301916] before backtracking back.large_5550_14719650797895.jpgWaiting for the boat.We did exactly that.

Each town had a slightly different feel. Especially for “our” village Vernazza, they don’t bear any resemblance to the promotional photos which have been taken from remote hillsides or even aerial viewpoints. Vernazza looked like the most amazing village but from any viewpoint we had the chance to get, it was nearly the less spectacular.

Riomaggiore, Manarola and Cornigilia, in comparison looked quite good from the sea and were good to explore on foot. Monterosso felt just like any average beach town; after all it was the only one with a beach.

We spent less than an hour in each place. In view of the very hot weather and sunshine, it was enough. We didn’t have time for a sit-down lunch as there was a gap in the bus schedule from 1530 till after 1800.

Having departed on the 1045 boat from Vernazza, we were back there at 1515 in time for our 1530 bus back to our guesthouse.large_5550_1471965082177.jpgRiomaggiore.

The bus and boat combo had been so easy for us. It would have been a night mare driving down to Vernazza and parking there, and getting between the villages by train/bus would have meant missing the more spectacular views of the villages from the sea. With only one full day (and two nights) we really didn’t have enough time to walk between the villages. We were pleased with how much we had seen in the limited time.

During breakfast, we had opted to eat in for the night. They offered a set meal of pesto-pasta, big prawns and pannacotta. All were delicious but if I had know the price of the pasta, I would have skipped it. I always believe that there is a high premium on Italian food especially when dried pasta is used. Basically one could be paying $15-20 for instant noodles in sauce, sometimes with no topping.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Italy

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