Amsterdam & Italy 2011: Day 10 - Cinque Terre Levanto 24Apr2011

We lazed about the morning but I got up early to post photos of yesterday’s big day. We then hiked to the next town north of Monterosso al Mare: Levanto. We also had to do a fair amount of web surfing to sort out our next two days which were the only unplanned days of our trip. We topped the evening off returning to our favourite restaurant in Monterosso: Il Brigantino.

Easter breakfast at 5 Terre Hotel, Monterosso al MareYou would think that we would be in great shape to handle today’s hike, given all that we did yesterday, but it was still quite the slog. We weren’t really sore from yesterday but it was very muggy and the hike toward Levanto begins with a lot of steep climbing. I should back up to say that we were treated with a special breakfast at our 5 Terre Hotel in the form of dark chocolate and an easter edition of pannatone that was especially sweet and that only I seemed to really like. Yes, a lot of hiking so I can eat whatever I want…this will all change when we get back to Vancouver.

Caught the elusive DenaDena was really incredible as she flew ahead of the rest of us during the hike. She really became quite the elusive creature. The only way we could catch her is if she were to get a thorn in her paw or hurt one of her wings. Once again, I like Daniel’s description of Dena today:

“With Dena hiking almost like a mountain goat along the trail…except she doesn’t poop when wants to and doesn’t have four legs (I left out the hairy part.)”

Villa overlooking the sea on the way to LevantoThe trail to Levanto, aside from being challenging, is not as well maintained as the Cinque Terre trails as it is a regional park instead of a national park. That being said, the views all along the sea were very rewarding and it was well worth it. In Levanto, once again we made sandwiches, this time replacing the pesto with cucumbers. The town itself was more low key as not part of Cinque Terre so it was less touristy. It also had sand instead of rocks for its beach. We caught the train back to Monterosso and were greeted with a massive crowd at Monterosso when we tried to get off the train. What a scene. Daniel overlooking sandy beach at Levanto

Crowds trying to get on train at MonterossoThe next two days were originally left without any plans so that we could decide what to do once we were here. We have decided to stay in Siena tomorrow and then to go to Rome one day early so that we can now take in the Colosseum from the inside instead of just the outside based on what we have heard from other folks during our trip. We won’t be as rushed now in Rome before heading back to Vancouver. Tomorrow it will take more than 3 hours to get to Siena with two transfers, including having only 5 minutes to change trains from Empoli to Siena (but an ample 11 minutes in Pisa to catch the train to Empoli.) We leave Monterosso at 1103 hrs so we better pack a lunch since it doesn’t look like we’ll have time to grab something en route unless we miss a transfer somewhere.)

Waitress and me at Il Brigantino, Monterosso al MareWe returned tonight to the same spot we ate on our first night here: Il Brigantino. Half a block off the main drag, this place gets far fewer customers but the food is better value than anywhere else, and really good. The 0.5 litre of wine here costs the same as a single glass at the place we ate last night and here was a local Cinque Terre wine which was not an option last night for red wine. We stuck to a few pasta dishes, lots of aqua minerale with and without gas, lots of wine and a couple of tiramisus.

That’s it for another day in Italy!