Our last of the five towns. I’ve been writing these blog posts in the order that we experienced them and I have literally felt like I was back there in Cinque Terre. When I opened this draft (with pictures only) I felt tinge of sadness, knowing it was the last of the towns in our day-long adventure to this gorgeous neck of the woods.
If I had to say we had a least-favorite town, it would probably be this one: Corniglia. Not because it wasn’t awesome and adorable and wonderful, because it was all of those things, but because it was seriously perched on the top of a hill and quite a haul up that steep hill to get to the actual town. This may have been less of an issue if it hadn’t been our last town of the day or if we weren’t pushing a jogging stroller with a 27 pound toddler inside. In fact, part of what made it so difficult for us would be precisely what would make it perfect for us if we were doing an adult-only trip and wanted to stay in a place almost unspoiled by tourists.
If I were to give a suggestion to a family with four kids about where to stay overnight in Cinque Terre it would not be Corniglia. When we arrived we were very fortunate to have had an American tourist give us the following tip: The signs all point you to the fast way to get to the actual town but it’s straight up 382 steps. (Check this site out for info and much better pictures.) We would have had to carry the stroller so we opted for the slower way the fellow American told us about: up the winding street. We actually had a great time walking and every few minutes would glance to our left to see the amazing views.
In the collage below:
- I took the top left picture from the road we were taking and if you look closely, you can see a diagonal line cutting through the greenery. Those are the steps we could have taken.
- The two sea pictures were taken from a little spot only Bailey and I ventured to once we finally reached the top. More on that in a minute…
- The bottom right picture is a little train that runs up the side of the hills for the harvesters to gather the grapes for that amazing dessert wine, Sciacchetrà, that I talked about in an earlier post. (Check out this site for pictures of this little train thing in action.)
It was our intention all along to eat dinner in Corniglia, but when we reached the top and found no obvious restaurant for our family, we checked our watches to see what the best plan of action would be. We could either a) take the next train (which was coming in about 30 minutes) or b) look for a place to eat, missing that train and the one that would come while we ate, but then we’d have to wait another hour for the next train. Basically, we would either need to rush back to the train or eat here and kill a LOT of time in the dark in the least-touristy town with four tired boys.
Only problem: Bailey had to use the bathroom. And by “bathroom” I mean he needed to sit for a few minutes.
Fortunately, the really nice American who had given us the tip about the stairs vs. road was walking around outside and he and his wife spoke to us again. I asked them if they knew where a public bathroom was, and, since they were staying in Corniglia, they hadn’t even needed one. Never fear… the wife told her husband to walk Bailey and me to their apartment so he could use theirs!
Matt stayed with the others in an area with a very cool soccer field while Bay and I got to explore a little as we walked the narrow streets to the bathroom. (Another blogger has mentioned this soccer field before.)
As Bailey and I walked I snapped pictures of the adorable alleys and narrow “streets” that were made only for people. After the gentleman let Bailey use his bathroom and went back out to find his wife for dinner, Bailey and I ventured past his apartment to the end of the street and found an incredible view. The two sea pictures above were from the end of this street as is the bottom right picture in the collage below. I’m fairly certain you can see Manarola from here. (Don’t quote me on that.)
We made a hasty decision to book it back down to the train station to see if we could make that next train. It was cutting it close, but the alternative didn’t sound too pleasing. This way, whenever we finished dinner we’d be back at the town where our car was parked and we could just load up and go home.
The boys really wanted to take the stairs so I let Matt and the bigs tackle the stairs while Parker and I jogged down the hill. Matt took these next two pictures… one from the stairs looking down at the train station and the other looking back up toward the top of the stairs.
We did make it back to the train in time and as soon as we arrived in Monterosso we asked around for the best pizza shop in town. Two different locals gave us the same name. Here’s how I heard it: Las Morphia. When we didn’t find it where we thought they said it would be, I asked around in a few shops and got blank stares. I finally decided to quit putting the break between the two words and said it really fast like an Italian might.
Good thing because had been putting the pause in the wrong place! La Smorfia! (I just googled the translation: the grimace. Funny!) As soon as I said it quickly I got looks of recognition and discovered we were just around the corner from the highly recommended pizza joint.
We ordered a LOT of food and ate quite a bit of it. Our pirate lunch was long gone! The dinner we had at La Smorfia was really yummy and I’d recommend it to anyone in Monterosso.
This was our view as we ate our dinner.
While we walked around towns throughout the day we had spotted a few huge signs with maps and I took notice of something that would be a huge help to us: a road that didn’t take us back the same way we came. We followed the directions the map said, much to the chagrin of our GPS who didn’t know anything about this road. We muted her until she started recognizing things again.
Cinque Terre is a beautiful place and one I really want to revisit. I do hope we’ll be able to come back here again sometime.
What I think we’re doing today:
I’m super excited about today. Matt and I are going to go shopping for clothes in our new sizes, but we don’t think we’re going to buy much. We just want to see what’s out there, and then plan to actually do the purchasing after Christmas, when prices drop drastically. My parents are going to watch the boys for a few hours so Matt and I can go alone. FUN! Guess what part Matt’s most excited about? Looking at a couple of Land Rovers he’s considering purchasing. He’s had a couple really good cars he loved, a Ranger and then a Jeep, but since then he’s just taken what he could to get by. I really want him to have the car he wants this time.
But what I’m really excited about is the evening’s activities. Chili, homemade by my sister-in-love, Ashley, a huge bonfire and a hayride on my parents’ property. We LOVE being outside by the fire, and the bigger the fire the better!
My parents have a lot of land and have purchased an additional two four-wheelers, bringing the total up to four. Yesterday my dad spent a considerable amount of time teaching the boys how to ride, change gears, get up their extremely steep hill, and get out of tight spaces. Carson was scared of the hill at first, but he’s mastered it, going both up and down! (He’s my most cautious one. The other two flew up/down it the first time.) Dad also taught them the proper safety measures they were to use.
And don’t tell Jessica but my boys have had a BLAST with their “Welcome back to the US” gifts from Nana and Papa. (She’s not a fan of guns.) My dad also spent a lot of time teaching them the proper use and handling of their new, real, guns and they are so excited to spend more time outside today. My parents had no idea I was going to have four boys when they bought this land and built this house… God did and He prepared a huge tract of land where they can explore and be boys!