Levanto, Italy - May 28, 2012

Ciao a tutti from Cinque Terre,

You might have noticed that there have not been any new spots for a while. I left Monaco and came here on Saturday. Woke up feeling lousy, and just got worse all day.

Beautiful ride along the coast though. I took the tollway mostly which in this case was a good choice. Much better views as the tollway is up the slope. You go through one tunnel after another, coming out in a new valley each time. Like a real surprise. The only distraction is that the terraced crops, and I don't know if they are grapes or olives, are enclosed in greenhouses. So it looks very industrial in lots of places. But I guess they're not going for looks.

Menton, France, just east of Monaco

Menton, France, just East of Monaco

Anyway, here at Cinque Terre there are 5 small towns perched along the cliffs linked by trails and a train along the coast. Nice hiking as you can just go from town to town or restaurant to restaurant. The whole area is a national park. Anyway, I sort of staggered into Levanto, which is just outside of the park on the north, but couldn't find a hotel. All full. So just camped. Must have the flu or a really bad cold. Fever, snots, achy, cough, the whole thing. Except no puking and for small miracles we should all be grateful. Nice bathrooms though. No appetite. Too bad as the seafood is supposed to be better than anywhere. Actually, not finding a hotel was just as well as I would have had to stay for quite a while and they are all very expensive here. So camping was a good choice.

Looks like they had a very bad winter or spring here. Half of the main trail is closed. I spent all day yesterday in the tent sleeping, well expect for a few hours when the sun makes it too hot, but today I took the train to the southernmost town of Riomaggiore, and walked north to Manarola, then took the train to Vernazza. Was going to walk to Monterossa but too wiped by then. That was going to be a 2 hour commitment. I started out but turned back as I realized that the required input exceeded my potential output. So just walked around town. Anyway, in Vernazza, it was quite clear that they had been hit with mudslides or something fairly recently as a lot of the groundfloor shops were stripped bare, streets were all torn up and there was a general hue of dried mud everywhere. Guess that's why the trail is closed. Probably got wiped out in a few places.

Along the Trail, Cinque Terre Region, Italy

Along the Trail, Cinque Terre Region, Italy

Vernazza?, Cinque Terre

Vernazza?, Cinque Terre

Turns out, it was a bad day to take the train as there are rotating strikes in Italy and today the target area was Tuscany. So trains that came from Tuscany were canceled. Spent half of my time today in train stations waiting for trains that never came. Anyway, looks like it would be a fun place to come back to... but more fun with two instead of alone.

So as I am still not feeling very well today, plans are to stay here yet another night, rest and sleep tomorrow, and hopefully leave Wednesday. Too bad. I was hoping to be in Trieste or Slovenia by then. Oh well. Plans are for changing. And besides, I might have trouble with insurance in Croatia and/or Bosnia and Serbia and not be able to spend time there anyway.

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Samuel Longiaru
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