Dawn beams gently over the Cinque Terre and after days of rain it looks like it will be a great day. Not a sound aside from the waves lapping over the rocks as even they seem to be in off peak mode.
The Cinque Terre is ‘ours’ again, after another hectic season. The last ferry stopped at the beginning of November and only local fishing boats bob about now
Not a soul to be seen on the trail from Corniglia to Vernazza despite it being Saturday and no sign of a drink or rest stop halfway either as the Bar Gabbiano is closed.
Autumn colors dot the rugged terrain enhancing the beauty of the moment. It’s a great time to hike and even free as the check point on the coastal track is closed for the season!
A menacing danger sign and ‘forbidden transit’ indicates you enter at your own risk, since the trail can never be completely closed off as it is the only access some locals have to their private land.
My favourite beach at Vemazza looks tempting but I guess it would be a little too fresh in and out of the water.
Locals catch up on the gossip on the Main Street and only a few stray tourists wheel trolleys from the station in downtown Vernazza. Kids play in the main square under grandparents watchful eye, tricycling amongst the boats pulled out of the water in the recent storm alert.
What is usually the prime restaurant area in the season becomes the winter boat park.
Some people soak up the warm autumn rays relaxing like lizards on a rock outside the church.
Another local casts a line from a super rod and while he had not been successful ( yet there was still half a day to go) said he ‘likes the challenge’!
There is still a mix of shops, bars and restaurants open although as each week passes they become less till eventually the tourist venues close altogether. For those that have their flood protection barriers are in place as no one wants to see a repeat of the damage from the 2011 flood. Cruise ships still dock at la Spezia but less frequently during the off peak season and tourists always look a little shocked to see so little open to tempt them into spending money.
Vernazzans make the most of the sunshine as laundry flaps from terrace to terrace, a reassuring sign of normality. While in the surrounding hills maintenance work goes on to rebuild fallen walls and bit by bit recover abandoned land. I take the trail back home to San Bernardino.
Yet another season over at the Cinque Terre and we can soak up the peace and quiet for the next few months.