Friday, October 7, 2016

Returning from Portovenere by Sea

The Mediterranean is calm and the ferries are running up and down the coast between La Spezia, Portovenere, the towns of Cinque Terre, and further up the coast to Levanto and Portofino.  In previous years, the sea was rough and we had to return to Monterosso al Mare by train from La Spezia.  This year, we get to see our hike from Riomagiorre to Portovenere in reverse from the water.

 Portovenere harbor

The ferry pulls out of the harbor in Portovenere and heads around the castle to which we descended in the last part of our hike.  As we round that point, we can see all the way up the coast to Monterosso.  The ferry first slowly cruises along the ridge, where we scrambled up and down the rocky trail along the top.

 Leaving Portovenere harbor and rounding the point

Portovenere in the rear view mirror

 Trail along the top of the ridge

 Soon, we pass by Campiglia on top of the hill, the small town we passed through in the second half of the hike, after the walk through the forest paths.

 Campiglia on the right on top of the hill

As we continue up the coast and around the corner toward Riomaggiore, we take one last look down and spot the tip of Portovenere in the far distance.  We kept viewing and getting closer and closer to the fort on that tip as we hiked (and took many pictures of it increasing in size as we approached). Near us, on the hill above, is the  Santuario della Madonna di Montenero, to which the trail first led us up from Riomaggiore, before starting down the coast to Portovenere

 Looking back down the coast from just outside Riomaggiore
Portovenere in the far distance, Santuario on top of the hill

 Arriving in Riomaggiore by sea

The ferry continues up the coast, stopping in Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso.  We get a good view of the towns and of the train tracks popping in and out of the tunnels as the they proceed up the coast.  In the train, there is just a flash of light and a view of the sea, then the darkness of the next tunnel takes over.

Train tracks pop in and out of the tunnels along the coast

Corniglia from the sea

Approaching Monterosso

We arrive back in Monterosso, tired, well-fed, and relaxed.  Time to pick up a bottle of wine on the walk from the harbor and enjoy the rest of the day.

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