Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Italy in 10 efficient days -- Cinqueterre/Pisa (1.5 days)

Day 6: Cinqueterre! One of my lawyer friends has talked this up quite a bit, and I think it may have to do with the fact that she went a decade or so ago when it was a little less crowded. The crowds and the mudslides have maybe dulled this gem of the Mediterranean just a little bit from what it perhaps once was. But I actually think it was perfect for Daniel and I because you either hike or take the train to the difference towns, and we did a ton of hiking, which was a perfect overlap of our interests and beautiful weather for hiking in mid September. 

We actually got to Riomaggiore, the first city from the South, the evening before and did some swimming, although we probably didn't read the instructions about safe places for swimming correctly and ended up with some blood lost. 

In the morning we checked our bags with some checked luggage lady for something ridiculous like 10 euros each. Wow, highway robbery. Remember that if you're spending just a day here (totally doable if you're mostly here to see the coastline and do some hiking). Maybe it's worth it to stay at an actual hotel that can keep your luggage for the day instead of the sideways place we stayed at. Also, heads up, it was mosquito city there in certain places, so bring repellent. 

Between Riomaggiore and the next city there is a path (Via Dell'Amore) that's been closed for like 5 years because of potential structural issues. We just scaled the cliff a little to get around the barrier, and it was a nice walk (Daniel slept there on his last day, when I took the train to stay the night in Pisa). If you don't want to scale the barrier, you can take the train there or maybe do some other longer hike. 

There's a similar story with the next city Manarola. I actually think this may have been a better place for swimming, if we had brought swimming gear. But we didn't really have time that day either because there's sort of a full day of hiking just to get from place 1 to place 4 (we never did get to number 5 although we could have grabbed a ferry or train to finish the journey). 

Daniel again wanted to take the path that goes along the coast that got cut away by a mudslide (visible from the water or from the former starting place of that path) but to me it looked a little too destroyed. I'm actually glad we ended up taking the hill path instead because we got some great views of both Manarola and number three city Corniglia and the hike was pretty fun after the first half mile or so which was basically like walking up stairs for forty five minutes. The path is a little hard to see, but we asked some people by some pay restrooms (Daniel is very good at asking for directions) and there was a little water station halfway up the stairs with some good views for resting. By this time, I don't know what was wrong with me, but I was not at my peak performance. Something I ate or the heat or something? The first couple hours of the hike Daniel was waiting for me to rest a lot. Things turned around in the afternoon, but even so I was wishing I had brought true athletic shoes with me instead of the very thin soled sneakers I had brought.  

You don't need a pass to go to Cogniglia, but to get to the fourth city Vernazza, yes. You can pay at the beginning of the trail to Vernazza. Vernazza was maybe the liveliest of the places? He is the top photo of this blog. Pretty cool how he juts out like that. We could sort of see the fifth city way far away and it didn't look as charming, so we called it quits at Vernazza and went back on the ferry, which was a nice maritime and relatively cheap way to see the cities. Ferry tickets are sold down at the ferry line. The ferry holds a lot of people so don't be too nervous you won't get on, but do stand in line and not wait until the last minute. 

If you wanted to skip a trail for time savings and less intense, probably take the train or ferry from 2 to 3. The trail from 2 to 3 was pretty long and intense with good views. The trail from 3 to 4 was a little less jungly and less up and down. 

I'm sure there's shopping and there definitely was a drinking culture from the tourists that were there at night. Mostly it's just pretty beautiful. 

Day 7: I stopped in Pisa on the way back to Rome to meet Arya. Pisa seems like the major hub city that you pass through to and from Florence? It's not probably worth more than a couple hours of wondering and seeing the tower, but is a cheaper place to stay before or after your day hiking in Cinqueterre. 


  1. The "idealism" in sociopathy, what is that about? For example movies with warped, sociopathic avengers punishing bad people that stepped over some heinous line, would such fiction exist if there was no such phenomena? Some psychos are known to want to "dethrone" saints, do other types of socios like to dethrone sinners? Do morals & ethics play a far greater role in socios lives than whats known, perhaps some specimens have "super ethics" as a compensation for the tiny conscience?

    1. Interesting question. They don't like hypocrites, that's common at least.

      There's something of the vigilante in **-* but to be frank, I think that's purely an approach to personal justice. He is somewhat interested in the plights of animals and children - the innocents of the world. He would protect his own son but again, I doubt he would invest in protecting others.

      As for the "sociopathic avengers", America had always had a very puzzling fascination with the good / evil dichotomy. I never did like American cartoons. That sort of black-and-white thinking results in dangerous phrases such as "the axis of evil" and rather horrendous interferences in other people's politics. Not sociopathic really; more post-facto rationalisation of parochial rhetoric and clear lines concerning us-versus-them.


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