Up for breakfast at Blu Marlin in Vernazza, and had a little walk around the town. Of the 5 towns, Vernazza is supposed to be the prettiest but also the most touristy. Corniglia is for wine enthusiasts and walkers, Manarola for sophisticated French and Italians, and Riomaggiore for .. I don't know.
Having visited the 4 of them, I'd agree with the guidebook's assessment. Vernazza is a very nice looking town. Here it is looking back from the harbour wall
We decided to walk to Corniglia, the next town along the Cinque Terre. The walk is only 4km but takes about 1h30m, as it's pretty steep. You follow the signs to Corniglia and go almost past our terrace as you leave Vernazza. Above the town is the most fantastic view of Vernazza and its harbour
The furthest turret is a bar and the closest is someone's home!
We walked along the steep track, which is made of slate and slippery granite, mud and clay, with no guardrails and a sheer drop into the ocean below, until we finally (after a brief rainstorm) came in sight of Corniglia.
And we eventually came into the town, wet and in need of a coffee!! After that we went to the station to catch the train to Riomaggiore. You have to buy a ticket to walk the trails, and for a small amount extra this ticket entitles you to bus and train travel as well. There are 365 steps down/up to the station at Corniglia from the town, as it's perched on a hill and the station is almost at sea level. We were walking down, and about 100 people were walking up, with surprised looks on their faces!!!
Riomaggiore has a covered walkway from the station to the town (as does Manarola) so we walked through and came into the town. It's quite pretty too. We had an Ok lunch at a restaurant recommended by the guidebook (it was the Lantern - food good but service just short of downright rude, warm wine and J got the wrong dish, but we were sick of complaining by then. But try the Lampedara as it too is recommended and looked great), then walked to Manarola. The path to Manarola is really a superhighway, wide, well maintained, and with resting spots all along it. No trouble at all to survivors of the Vernazza-Corniglia route!!
and it offers lovely views back to Riomaggiore and forwards to Manarola
As the weather was so bad the boats were all pulled up out of the water in Manarola, making a very pretty sight
but it meant we were unable to catch the boat back from Manarola to Vernazza, and had to take the train instead. On the way we got the bad news that it may take 2 week to repair the car, as there are no parts in Italy, and no matter wherever we are, we have to take the rental car back to Ovada!!!
So we returned home to Vernazza and after a fortifying glass of
red we went out for dinner to one of Michele's recommendations, Trattoria di de Sandro. We had met a couple from Adelaide, staying in the
Camera Giuliano with us, who also recommended it. J had the calamari,
fresh caught that day, and lovely and sweet and tender it was, in one
of the lightest batters I have ever tasted. I had the tegami (?? I
think it was called), a local dish, made of a layer of potatoes, a
layer of boned fresh sardines and a layer of tomatoes, with herbs,
olive oil and garlic sprinkled over, and baked in the oven. It was
absolutely delectable, and so different. I had a chat to the chef in
my broken italian, and he seemed happy that someone wanted to know
about it. A lovely meal and highly recommended. Another speciality
which the Adelaide people recommended (which we didn't try) was
stuffed mussels. And another recommendation, a restaurant where Michele's husband Giuliano works at night, is
Ristorante Pizzeria Vulnetia, which is down at the harbour. We didn't eat there ourselves, but it is reported to be good also.