Corniglia was my last stop. We arrived by train and the station was a bit of a ways outside of town. There was a small shuttle bus that met the train and took you into the heart of town. Just like the other towns just about everything was closed. Corniglia wasn't quite as perfectly situated on the water as Manarola. What Corniglia did have going for it was tons of coffee shops, art galleries and restaurants - granted none of them were open while I was there but, there was insane potential.
When we left Manarola I declared that I was freakin' starving! I also warned my new travel buddy that a melt down may ensue if there wasn't some food soon (Mom, you feel me right?!)! We hit pay dirt.
There was one restaurant open and it was on a hillside overlooking towards the ocean. The town was to the left and the terraced hillside was to the right. I might have to call it epic. There was a small courtyard area where we ate - in the center of the courtyard was a lemon treaded loaded with fruit. When we walked in there was another group dining however; we soon had the place to ourselves.
All I can say is 'Holy Homemade Pesto!'!!! Seriously, the food was delicious. We had some appetizers....as in anchovies and capers with garlic on bread....I had exactly two nibbles. We had fresh tomatoes with olive oil. We had meals covered in pesto. It was scrumdillyumpsious.
I can neither confirm nor deny but I've been told that the wine in Cinque Terre is fabulous. The grapes from this region actually produce a crisp slightly sweet white wine....hmm....sounds like something I might enjoy! One thing that I really would like to see (ahem, would need to return to see) are the terraced vinyards in full swing. Because we were there during winter months the vines had no leaves on them so, when you looked at the hillsides it was very hard to distinguish the actually terraces.
I will admit that I had a mini meltdown at the restaurant. I was very fixated on getting to see all the towns. After we ordered I realized that the train was leaving in 15 minutes. We could either stay and enjoy the meal or ask for it to go and run with it. Clearly, running with homemade pasta and peso is less than ideal. We stayed. Enjoyed the meal and then had the best treat ever. Our hosts were very talkative and wanted to spend time with us...another perk to being there in the winter....they had time to do so! They ended up walking us through the kitchen and into their house. They use the home as a B&B during the summer months. The best part? There was a large terrace on the roof with amazing views of the small valley, wine terraces and village. Hands down the highlight of the day.
Because I was on the roof going camera happy we just about missed the train! We literally watched the bus leave the town square....which meant that we needed to RUN to the train station. We ran down the road and just by chance saw a sign for the train station - it was pointing down a hillside where there was a small trail. It was a switchbacked stair case. We sprinted it. Taking two stairs at a time. I was like a leaping gazelle....or maybe a pink puma (that one was for you Zikes). No lie.
Cinque Terre has two other towns that I wasn't able to visit. The town of Vernazza would have been the next stop by train. Sadly, it was recently dessimated by severe flooding and mudslides. The town is no longer open to the public. (In some of my ocean shots you can see a large muddy area still remaining.) The last town is Monterosso - I've heard that it has the nicest beach but that it's very resort town-ish.
Needless to say, we made the train and headed back to La Spezia. It was a perfect day ashore. I don't think I've ever had a better one....although the monkeys in Gibraltar were mad cool.
Yep, it was epic.