We woke up ready and rearing to hike the Cinque Terre, but knew that in order to make the distance, we'd need to fuel up on a good breakfast. Luckily, one of our travel companions had done her research and found Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre recommended highly on Tripadvisor. The little restaurant was only a short walk from our accommodation and the Sicilian-inspired food on offer was just fantastic!
The owner was a real character, reminding us more than once that his restaurant was consistently booked out ("even though it doesn't have a view"). Some people on Tripadvisor have commented that his nature is abrasive and boastful, I merely found him to be proud...and a little socially awkward. In any case, the food served was so delicious that we decided to secure a dinner reservation post-hike.
With full bellies, we set off on our hike, but were saddened to discover that only two of the four legs of the walk were open, due to some recent rainy weather. The most difficult, narrowest and most slippery leg or the walk between Vernazza and Monterosso was, however, open. We set off on this route, which took us around 3 hours (including very frequent photo stops). We captured hundreds upon hundreds of photos of this stunning part of the world. Here are three of my favourites:
By the time we arrived in Monterosso it was pizza-and-beer-o'clock (otherwise known as lunch time). My beloved and I split our pizzas - one featured local anchovies and olives and the other was topped with grilled vegetables. Both were tasty and definitely filled a hole!
Replete, we caught a local train to the third town of the Cinque Terre - Corniglia. My beloved, who was coming down with a cold, and one of our travel companions opted not to climb the 382 steps to reach the town (yes, I counted), but the remaining two of us, trekked up the steps (I was quite proud of my effort sans ACL!), picked up some fantastic frozen yoghurt topped with fresh lemon juice and honey and bolted back down to deliver our bounty to our other halves before the treats melted entirely. I think we were nearly successful...
We then took a train from Corniglia to Manarolo, where we were able to embark on the second of the available walks to Riomaggiore. This leg is known as the "Lovers Walk" (and we were delighted to witness a proposal (successful, it appeared!) during our stroll). This portion of the Cinque Terre hike is regarded as the easiest. The path is wide and fully concreted. Accordingly, it was a nice way to conclude a busy day.
Shortly after arriving back in Vernazza, it was time to make our ways back to Il Pirata. Our experience at the establishment was, once again, excellent. We started our meal with an abundance of antipasto and bread, as well as a Sicilian "fruit only" granita. It was pastas all round for main...
...followed by delectable desserts - cannoli with freshly piped ricotta for yours truly.
We rounded out the meal with a shot of local liqueur and, with tired legs and contented bellies, soon made our way to bed.