Summer sets on the Cinque Terre and I have had my last swim for the year. There will still be some mild sunny days ahead but the hubbub and chaos of the Summer is starting to wane and we all breathe a sigh of relief.
Two tourists make the most of the more lay back atmosphere, dancing to an old time classic ‘Volare‘ at Monterosso. Passer-by’s hardly give a second glance as though the event is something normal. The busker is honoured.
The Beach umbrellas have been taken in and for the moment the stumps remain, with only memories of the hordes that gathered in their shade, slathering sun screen lotion and rolling over to toast the other side.
A local girl returns from Milan to be married in her hometown, Vernazza and is paraded proudly through the tourist crowds to the antique church of Santa Margherita. It brings reality back to the little village, as tourists trip over themselves to get a quick snapshot.
It has been a long hot Summer and a very busy season again. Day trippers and cruise passengers have added dramatically to the general crush in the main streets of the tiny villages of the Cinque Terre straining the local services to the limit. Long queues outside snack food and gelati shops, some anxious faces waiting in similar queues for a toilet and rather exasperated gasps as the crowds pour out of the ‘cattle truck’ train carriages. Mass tourism is this and more all over the world, where some locations cope better than others and are able to manage the ever increasing flow. Cinque Terre is not one of those places, it is a fragile territory and far too small. And while it is understandable that the world wants to visit, we hope it can be limited, to not spoil what we have, for us and visitors alike.
The authorities responsible spend hours discussing the matter but till now no significant changes have been made. To stir them along a petition was launched recently to Save the Cinque Terre from mass tourism. If you know and love the area please sign.
Daredevil hikers continue to ignore the ‘No Entry’ signs to the coastal trails closed between Riomaggiore and Corniglia, scaling spiked fences and boasting to friends of their escapade. Little attention being paid to the fact that they may aggravate further landslides as they hike through the areas, putting their lives at risk and necessitating a rather expensive helicopter rescue if the land slips away beneath their feet or a rock fall knocks them off the trail!
Yet as the Summer sets on the Cinque Terre it’s a magic time, hiking the trails is a joy that regenerates my heart and soul. Nature at its best, villages bathed in a soft pink glow which deepens at every step.
I stop to enjoy the colours on Corniglia and hear a whisper in the stillness that says it’s time to head for home before the sun slips away completely.