We arrived at our hotel in Levanto with the help of Sadie the sadistic SatNav. She was behaving herself and didn't try to direct us to turn right over any cliffs (she became more troublesome as time went on).We had chosen to stay in Levanto because I couldn't find anything nice at a reasonable price in the Cinque Terre. One guide book said it had nothing to recommend it and you should only stay in Levanto if desperate. But we liked the town. It was very easy to get the train from there to the five towns making up the Cinque Terre, or if the weather was good, you could get a boat. We were staying in a 19th century Palazzo, with painted ceilings and lots of character.
|Ceiling of our room|
We didn't intend to walk between all of the Cinque Terre, but thought we might do the easiest leg, which is between Riomaggiore and Manarola, but unfortunately it was closed.
We then wandered down to the harbour. The sea was incredibly rough, but that was an amazing sight. I find the sea fascinating, how it can change its moods so easily. They had actually roped off the access to the quay as waves were breaking over it and there was a danger people could been swept off into the harbour or the ocean.
|Waves crashing over the breakwater|
|Street in Vernazza|
Next stop was Manarola, which I think was my favourite of the five towns (though Vernazza was a close second). The sea was still being whipped up by the winds, so we got some incredible visions when we walked out a little way towards the headland and looked back to the town.
|Sea still rough at Manarola|
|Local shop selling an assortment of dried pasta|
|One of Corniglia's narrow streets|
Corniglia is the only one of the five towns not to be on the water. We got a bus from the train up to the town, rather than climb the hundreds of steps. This was the least impressive of the towns. We had a very long wait for the train to the next town - at least one and possibly two timetabled trains never turned up. This was very unpleasant as by this time the wind had dropped and it was very hot.
|Beach at Monterosso al Mare|
In summary, I have to say I was very disappointed in the Cinque Terre. I didn't think it was a patch on the Amalfi coast and Sorrento which we visited on our last trip to Italy. (see http://jennyjtravel.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/amalfi-coast.html)
|Local speciality - anchovies|