While I woke up early, we ended up having a slow morning today. I got to see a colorful sunrise as I rose early.
Jeremy dropped off his laundry around the corner and they were to deliver his clean clothes at 10:30. So we had breakfast in the hotel and got ourselves organized for the day.
Today we wanted to hike from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza. Apparently this is the most difficult of the hikes between the towns and starting from the Monterosso side gives you the worst of the stairs going up. The trail climbed roughly 550ft through vineyards up these crazy steep and narrow steps. We didn’t anticipate the weather being this warm here either, so we tried to tackle it in the earlier hours of the day before it got really hot. I did not pack any shorts, so I got to brave the hike in a skirt … a first for me, haha. The views were incredibly scenic, Jeremy tried to not have a heart attack from the sudden exercise and I tried to make sure that my knees didn’t give out. There was a lot of traffic on the trail too, it looked like there were a few guided hiking tours.
Once we descended into Vernazza, we were treated to a gorgeous view of the town and the small bay in front of it.
Our first stop we to get some water and a glass of prosecco in the piazza. We walked around a bit to try to find a spot and ended up grabbing a table off to the side of the piazza where we had a light lunch while we watched all the people coming in and out of the area.
From there we thought to try to catch a train to Corniglia. Right as we got to the ticket counter we learned the train there was due any moment, so we bought and validated our tickets quickly and hopped on.
Once we were in Corniglia, we had to either do the mile hike of switch back staircases or take a bus into the town. We opt’d for the bus. Corniglia is small and quaint. Far less touristy than the previous two towns. It was comprised of many small alley ways meandering between the buildings that you would only be able to pass on foot. We grabbed a gelato and then headed back down to catch the train back to Monterosso.
After quick showers and a video chat with the boys, we headed back into Old Town Monterosso to get picked up for our Italian Cooking lesson at the Cinque Terre Cooking School. We wound our way up the mountain to a quant little restaurant, driven by Jonathan. There was one other couple with us taking the lesson – Michelle and Kate. They were from Chicago/Indianapolis.
Our cook was Rusty, a Filipino with an American name teaching us Italian cooking. Perfect mesh of laughter followed that explanation from him. He was joyous, informative and just super fun.
We started with stuffed vegetables – The stuffing consisted of bread, milk, parmesan cheeses, egg, parsley, and nutmeg. We boiled onion, Zucchini and tomato, then shelled them out to put the stuffing into and set them aside for roasting in the oven later. Next we started on the gnocchi dough, followed by a homemade pesto using a mortar and pestle to give it the “love” it needs. After grinding and grinding and grinding away at that (thank goodness for the wine, laughter and great conversation that we had through it), we started on the Sweet Bread for our dessert. The sweet bread was something like a fruit cake, but in bread form. Following the preparation for that, we watched Rusty pull together our sea bass that had roasted potatoes, pine nuts, tomato and parsley.
All the food was whisked away to the kitchen while we sat at the table and enjoyed learning more about our new friends. We ate, laughed and each told stories about our lives. We finally headed home around 10pm and we all had such a wonderful time.