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Cinque Terra Day 1 ...to Riomaggiore

The Cinque Terra is a group of five small towns that hug the hillside and the coast just south of Genoa Italy. Historically isolated, it is now very easy to reach them via train. Once there you can use the train to hop between towns, or hike (like I did) along rocky coastline terraces. You can also buy a 1,3 or 5 day pass (for 5.50 Euro a day) to the park which entitles you to unlimited train, path, bus and facilities use. The path only pass is 3 Euro a day. The waters off these towns have been designated as a marine preserve... an aspect I did not get to explore (this time). Rick Steves in TV/books series "Europe Through the Backdoor" has made these towns incresingly poular, but they are still relativley calm compared to the rest of the Riviera and I found that most of the tourists cleared out after 5pm, at least at this time of year.

These pictures were all taken with a digital camera. I will suppliment with the 35mm pictures when they get developed. The digital really didn't have a wide enough lense to take this place all in.

Please check out the links on the last CT page for more info!

Click on the pictures for a larger version.

So... I booked tickets a few days before from Nice to Genoa. Total cost round trip was about $45. The Italian train system website would bomb out when I went to purchase the tickets, so I hoped I could catch one of many opportunities when I got to Genoa... Anyway... so this is to show you that each car has a number, and hopefully a destination (or route) in addition to a train number.
...and if all went right, you have a reserved seat. You don't have to get a reservation on some trains (costs and extra $2-$3) but on major routes it is a good idea. I left Nice around 10am and hoped to get to Riomaggiore by 4pm.
The lovely Genoa trail station.
The Italian train system had these neat little ticket dispensers, so you just walk up to one, select your destination, choose your train and pay with cash or credit. Done! So... now all we need is a train. Seriously through, they all ran on time. If it said leaves at 17:19, when that station clock it 17:19 the doors closed and it was off. Disproves the notion that only Mussolini can get the trains to run on time.

I chose to ride to the last town in the chain and walk my way back. Riomaggiore doesn't look like much from the station, but you must be amazed there is a station here at all! (see later pictures) To get to the town you either walk part way through the train tunnel... swing all the way back up and around a hill, or follow the coastal path around a point to (let's try this again)...

Riomaggiore! (that's better)
So, back to look at that train station from the coastal path and from above...
Side step... I saw these all over the place, usually hanging from balconies. This is the symbol of Italian opposition to the war with Iraq. "A banner from every balcony" was something I saw... to be fair I also saw a few "We are in this together" stickers with the US flag, and a few "God bless America". As has been the case since I arrived I never had the impression that anyone cared that I was an American one way or another.
Side step again... I had resisted buying sunscreen in Nice because it was so expensive. I figured (I don't know why) that it might be cheaper in Italy. Well, I broke down and bought some, since my Scandinavian skin was rapidly being burned off. This little tube cost me $16. I have not figured out the numbering system yet, but whatever it ism I need the highest number... buying the #4 stuff would have probably made my sunburn shiny.
Wiring can be difficult...
...and another cool thing, when I reached Italy my cell phone had a message telling me what the local info number was.
Stayed out on the rocks for a nice long sunset