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Breathtaking, that is all you can say about Cinque Terre …. Phil and I caught the train to Monterosso, the first town of the five which you reach from the Levanto end and it is beautiful –  very pretty and colourful , but on reflection, perhaps with less soul than Vernazza and Riomaggiore, and also Levanto which we loved.

We decided to brave the walk from Monterosso to Vernazza – 90 minutes of pure fun – but with awesome views in the true sense of the word. The track is somewhat scary since  it becomes very narrow in places, and you meet travelers coming from the other direction- like the large groups of boisterous teenage Italian boys we encountered – luckily we were at a place we could allow them to pass. Then we caught our first glimpse of  Vernazza from the ridge high above … it was literally breathtaking and worth every step along the tricky path.

It was great to feel a positive vibe in the town  while they are rebuilding after the floods, and we sat and had our first pasta meal on the waterfront near the C14th century church. It is a amazing piece of architecture.

We caught the train to the next two towns, Corniglia and Manarola as the tracks are closed. Corniglia sits high in the hills in a more rural setting and Manarola sits on a promontory. God knows how they built these towns – they are an incredible mix of color and culture like nothing we have seen. Flowers everywhere, people cycling, old men sitting chatting. Riomaggiore is the final town and was busy – had a great vibe too and the view back to it from Marina is great.

Dinner back in Levanto was another taste delight – bit more upmarket than the previous night – proscuitto and melon had to be tasted to be believed ! -then we went  back to the apartment which offers and insight into Italian life by virtue of its central situation and open shutters – dinner is late and people are out late – just was we were getting ready for bed. A completely different way of life- but enticing……