The road less travelled… to take or not to take?

On my second day in the Cinque Terre, I decided to hike a trail the hotel receptionist (a local) recommended.  “It’s very beautiful” she assured me.  And it was.  However, later on, talking to fellow Aussies at dinner, I showed them on the map the path I took – and was met with “Are you crazy?” Perhaps a second opinion would have been wise before embarking on what became a 5.5 hour hike through wild boar country…

This trail is not part of the regular tourist track.  Which is of course what attracted me. I caught a train to Riomaggiore, the last of the “Five Lands” and then hiked directly up through the town towards Telegrafo.  Very steep steps at the beginning, through a beautiful green valley terraced with vineyards. All fine.  I met some other walkers early who warned me of a boar that was “becoming one with the earth” along part of the track ahead.  OK.  Got past that. 

An hour’s hike to Telegrafo, and my legs, tired from the day before, began seriously complaining.  A small rest and sugar fix (homemade walnut slice) at a very small rest stop which is Telegrafo, and I was assured the next portion of the trail was easy.  Oh, to have a few more language skills.

I hiked an hour or so through a National Park pine forest following the trails to Campiglia, a small, pretty town.  Thankfully there was plenty of shade as it was about 32 degrees C.   The ocean and rock cliffs were on my right. Forest on the left. A series of outdoor exercise options were built along the path – Stairs were the first option and I had to laugh!! 

At Campiglia I would recommend getting a bus or taxi down to Portovenere, which means Little Port.  I walked. For 3 hours. Many switchbacks later, a rocky trail which was well marked at the beginning with signature red and white stripes became less and less easy to define.  I noted a sign which warned hunting for wild boar takes place through the months of November to January and regretted the decision to hike alone. 

Following my nose and intuition, and with help from locals when I reached the town, I finally found my way to port, where I bought a ferry ticket back to Monterosso for 13 euro.  This boat stops in all the pretty seaside Five Towns along the way back, giving you an  ocean perspective of the villages.  Gorgeous. Waiting for the ferry, or “little ship” as a described by one local, I rewarded myself with a glass of local wine and a Margeurita Pizza.  Delicious.  Ahh. Sitting in the shade, by the sea, listening to banter in 3-4 different languages, I was happy.

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