Today was another day for hiking, but first I had a long breakfast with a fellow from Wyoming, mailed a few post cards, and made some plans for tomorrow. I could stay here in Vernazza for much much longer, but it's time to move on and see what else is out there. It took me a little while to decide where to go next, but I finally settled on Rome. I can always do the other places like Pisa, Florence, and Tuscany on my way back north if time permits. I can also return here to Vernazza later, if I don't find anything better in Italy, that's what this older couple I met this morning from Ottawa did.
Today's hike was much simpler and more relaxed than yesterday's. Today I just climbed the big hill behind (east) of Vernazza to locate a church and community I spotted yesterday. The climb was much more gruelling on a more rugged trail than yesterdays', but I didn't go nearly as far and took my time at. Unlike yesterday, today's trail was relatively quiet. Yesterday I often encountered traffic jams where the trail was so narrow that you had to stop and wait, some times in a line up, for about 20 people to pass going in the opposite direction. I talked to a guy at one of the ticket booths yesterday and he estimated that about 2 to 3 thousand people do the trails between the five towns every day. Whereas today, I can count the people I met on the trail on one hand. Along with fewer people there was also much less trash, actually today's trail had no trash on it at all. That's likely because only serious hikers do this trail and serious hikers know better than to leave anything behind.
The small community and church was the turn around point for me, so when I got there I lingered around for a while before heading back down the hill. I visited the church and sat in for part of a service that was underway (I would have stayed longer but it was in Italian and I had no idea what was been said, the singing however was in English). I also stopped in at little bar right next door to the church and enjoyed a beer while taking in the scenery and observing the locals. Bar's around here are not the same as back home. Here it's common to see people just having coffee or kids eating ice cream. Before heading back down I watched a couple of guys who were delivering some wine nearby, they were using a cable car system for that!
Here's a few photos from today.
This is picture from yesterday which shows the destination for my hike.
On the way up and down the big hill behind Vernazza there were plenty of places for taking in the great scenery.
To my surprise there were roads at the top of the hill and a huge valley with many more small groups of houses behind the hill.
A close up of the church. The was no room for me to back up enough to get the entire church.
Inside the church.
One of the two fellows delivering the wine. They used the cable car just behind him to get the wine from down near the corner of the church on the right to here.
One of several groups of houses along the valley to the east of Vernazza.
The church from the north side.
You don't need to know Italian to know what this sign means.
A couple of the locals.
Another shot of my room. I didn't realize earlier that I'm almost directly above that big hole in the rock.
The town of Vernazza probably has more cats then people, they are everywhere.
A shot of the hill I climbed today taken from the balcony outside my room.
After my climb I took it easy for a bit and just hung out on my balcony watching the boats go by.
Another great sunset in Vernazza.
As mentioned above, I'm off to Rome tomorrow. I haven't bothered to reserve a seat on the train because there are several that run each day from La Spezia to Rome, so I should be able to get on one of them. Same thing goes for hotels, there seems to be a huge choice of hotels not far from the train station in Rome so I should be able to find something when I arrive.