Climbing all those little hills throughout Tuscany was a great preparation for the ligurian coast. My first stop was once again “dictated” by a capming site – and how lucky I was ending up in Tellaro: a tiny town at the end of a road, behind Lerici. I found a wonderful spot to set up my tent (room with a view as I like to call those spots that look out to the ocean). Tellaro was so tiny and it’s streets to the ocean so narrow, that I think I would have not even be able to pass through with my bycicle and all the luggage. Really a lovely place.
On the next morning I had the great idea to ride only to Lerici and take the boat to Portovenere. This didn’t help with the kms or the meters of altitude I had to do on that day, but I saved me from riding through La Spezia. My goal was to ride the panoramic street above the Cinque Terre and make it all the way to Levanto. The distance was not bad (about 60km), but I knew I had to do 1400m of climbing. It was a beautiful day and actually quite warm. For once I had used my brain and gotten extra water and some fruit and cookings in order to enjoy the day on the bike. And thanks God I did. Because as always, things come differently than planned. Part of the road was blocked and I had to do a detour to Vernazza and back up to the panoramic road, adding almost another 400m in altitude. So a new record in climbing/day for me with my 40-50kg bike&luggage:-)) But it all went well and I happily arrived in Levanto.
To visit the Cinque Terre, I left my bike in Levanto, took the train to Riomaggiore and from there hiked back through the Vinyards to Manarola and Corniglia. As I knew that not all the hiking paths were open, I went to the tourist information in Riomaggiore beforehand to check what was possilbe to do. I ended up listening only to the comments two ladies got in front of me though. I would say, they were “best-agers” (what a lovely marketing term), perfect makeup, hair done, hotpants and tank tops, wanting to hike to Manarola. The most famous 20min walk ”Via dell’Amore” had been closed after the 2011 floods so now the shortest option to get from the most southern of the Cinque Terre to the next northern one is to hike up endless steps through the vinyards and then hike down endless steps through the vinyards. The lady at the tourist information was very stern and pointed out at least three times to those two lovely best-agers “it’s only steps up and steps down. It’s very hard. 90 minutes minimum.” The two ladies still asked “but is there really no way we could walk the Amore path”. “No.” “But it has been closed for a year!”. At this the young lady from the tourist infomation looked up, her facial expression not changing a bit and replied “It has been closed for four years, actually five in September.” haha. I wondered how often she already had to say that. Well. It took me about 30-40 minutes to hike to Manarola;-)
The Cinque Terre were beautiful. Even though it is very touristy and quite crowded already now, I still enjoyed the hikes, the view and the colourful villages (and some wine on a terrace looking out the ocean of course). And I was very impressed by all those terrases for the vineyards and vegetable gardens – unable to imagine what hardship it must have been to build this all…
By the way – the rain keeps following me. I was lucky though, it only caught me once while riding. And by now I have learned my lesson: there are short down poors for which I hide behind the next best roof I can find and use the time to take a break (on the picture I was standing only 2km before Tellaro at a hotel parking, having a melone waiting for the rain to pass). And besides that – the weather forecast is quite promising for the next week! So I hope I can leave this rainy periods behind me.
Some complications that come with the rain is doing laundry, or rather getting my stuff dry. But so far it has always worked out somehow. I remember discussing with someone before I left on how I would dry my staff. Well in Levanto I actually washed everything I have with me (except for my bikini, a pair of trainer pants and my down jacket, that is what I was wearing that evening:-) and with the help of my elastic straps I managed to create quite a good system to hang up my clothes. See for yourself!
So only 5 more days in Italy – how quickly time passes. And it will be very special days, as my friend Patrizia will come and join me on the ride from Genova to Ventigmilia (where we will have dinner with my parents on friday – Juhuuuiii!). That’s it for now.