It’s going to be another tough year for tourists and locals this year. The Winter just passed has been the wettest we have seen for years and the region has suffered the consequences yet again with more landslides, large and small.
The famous coastal trail (Sentiero 2/Blue Trail) is currently closed and while parts of it will probably reopen, others will remain closed indefinitely.
It’s like wounds that fester, with no time to heal. The National Park had spent most of last Summer redoing the trail Corniglia to Manarola, quite an engineering feat with two new walk bridges, when ‘bang’ the rest of the slope and part of the isolated house on the trail slid down destroying the trail yet again.
The dry stone walls bulge with the rain, like a pregnant belly, but when the terrain dries out there is nothing left to sustain them and down they go. In years past, locals tell me the walls could sustain the changes in the seasons, but with the extreme climate that we experience today, they are too fragile and easily beaten.
Since the flood of 2011 many areas had massive fencing and whole slopes even ensconced in steel netting. But that it is not necessarily the best solution as I saw in Vernazza where locals were recovering stones from the wall that had slid under the netting.
In some cases the abandoned land covered in blackberries is holding the place together, while well tended vineyard plots slip and slide, and locals look on in despair….and then roll their shirt sleeves up and get on with the repair.
On the trail from Vernazza to Monterosso another house has been hit and remains hanging in despair.
But it’s not all bad news as the vines begin to sprout and the place takes on its Springtime colours. Even the prickly pear makes a show and the sunshine dries out those saucepans nicely!
Train timetables between each village are available, which helps in planning the day….just double check they have photocopied them correctly! A same way timetable on both sides was pretty useless to me and yet the Park office staff did not seem too fussed by the mistake.
Automatic train ticket machines can catch you out as well as they may only take credit cards or if they do take cash may not give back more than € 1 in change!