Friday, October 9, 2015

Death March

Let me start by explaining our room here in Vernazza.  First it is on the 3rd floor, which means climbing 66 stairs, most narrow and steep.  The room is quite spacious and has a loft.  The bathroom is tiny.  It is about 3 feet long and has a raised end (like a very low seat) leaving a tiny space to put your feet in.  Mine barely fit, David’s of course not at all.  You could only stand one way to take a shower and getting in and out was a challenge.   The second issue with the bathroom is that every time someone below flushes the toilet a rank order comes up ours and permeates not only the bathroom but the whole room. So, when we heard we could move into another room we jumped at the chance.  Patti and Steve were scheduled to move from room 2 to room 1.  I asked if we could move to room 2 and our host Paulo said why not.

We went down to breakfast about 10.  They said they would move us about 11.  By the time we got back to our rooms, everything was done.  We had decided at breakfast to do the Vernazza to Corniglia, a 2 ½ mile trail that starts just above the train station.  Rick Steves says the trail from Corniglia to Vernazza is demanding.  I think that is an understatement.  Everything is up until, of course, you start back down.

We met all ages
We started off at noon and the start of the trail was pretty easy.  Uphill and not too steep and the steps weren’t very high.  We arrived at the gate where you get your trek card.  The door was closed but not locked.  I started to reach up to knock on the door but Steve beat me to it and opened the door.  The worker inside was rudely awakened by us.  He mumbled something about the trail was free today.  Closed the door and we assumed back to sleep.

A view from the trail
We reached a small restaurant with wonderful view and bought water and rested a bit.  Still going mostly up with a few flat spaces, we trekked on.  As I said the views were spectacular.  It was a partly cloudy day and so pretty muggy which didn’t help my efforts.  More than once, I cursed myself for being talked into this “short” hike.

Vernazza from the restaurant
The trail continued to go up and the stairs got steeper.  Some places have guardrails and others don’t.  Those required David to hold my hand to keep me upright.  I was getting very tired, my stomach was upset and I was dizzy.  The small breakfast we had was long gone.  We found some rocks to sit on and I ate something and drank some water.  In about20 minutes, I was ready to start again.

Steve and Patti waiting for us
 In order for me to see the scenery, which is outstanding, I had to stop since when I was walking my eyes were glued to the path to ensure I didn’t misstep.  Therefore, we made a lot of stops for viewing and a lot of stops to let the faster folk go by us and on the narrow parts of the path to allow those going the opposite direction to go through.

As we got closer to Corniglia, the path got wetter and slipperier so my pace slowed considerably.  I was beginning to think we would never get there. There are a few points along with way now  where we could see our destination…it still looked a long way off to me.

First view of Corniglia
This used to be a nude beach. It's a long hike down.
We came upon another small restaurant called the half-way.  I went great, we are only half way!!  But with some sugar (cookies), chocolate and a large bottle of water, after a 30 minute rest gazing at the amazing views of the water, we moved on.

Cornigla Church

Not too much farther, we came upon a sign that said Corniglia 25.  Steve assumed that was 25 minutes.  We started down now.  Very steep and very slippery.  For me, this was the worst part of the hike as I was paranoid about falling or turning my ankle.  It was slow going and in some ways, harder than the uphill portions.  Of course, we still had some uphill to do and I was really running out of steam. 

These are used to facilitate picking of grapes and olives.
Finally about 5:00 we reached our destination.  At the first restaurant I saw, I sat down.  I made it, thanks to patience of David, Patti and Steve.  We had a bite to eat and then the three of them went to wander around town.  I opted to enjoy a glass of wine staying seated until it was time to go to the train.  The train ride back to Vernazza was 4 minutes.

No comments:

Post a Comment