The Summer has started with a vengeance, with over 35 degrees (95F) for the past couple of weeks and in the Cinque Terre tourists and locals can be seen wearing the absolute bare essentials on the trails, and in and around the villages. Or if Japanese are covered almost from head to foot with an umbrella to keep off the stinging rays of the sun.
Mountains of gelatis and litres upon litres of water are being slurped down as people head for a shady spot or a refreshing dip in the sea. The water is fantastic, and an essential revival from the draining heat and rather clammy conditions, if you can find a space to squeeze into. The Cinque Terre is not the Riviera with long open stretches of sandy beaches, more like a hide out for crabs clinging to rather uncomfortable rocks and sloping boat ‘Marina’s, or standing room only for the crazy kids who spend the day leaping from dizzying rock heights to the turquoise depths below.
Locals seem oblivious to the tourists and chat amongst themselves on the harbour, cooling down with an occasional squirt of the hose kindly provided by the Council.
It’s all rather noisy and very cosmopolitan as half the world is here and every lingo wafts above the turmoil and the long queues outside the gelati shops. We all have our favourite places and there is almost room for everyone to do their own thing. Besides we know it will quieten down at sunset when we are ready to enjoy an aperitif.
The renewed Piazza in Vernazza has been truly christened by the tourist crowds, and the local restaurants and bars are back in business under their colourful umbrellas.
We hope to see it open during July and particularly to save the café along the trail which only just reopened after being closed for about 5 years or more! Bar Gabbiano ( Seagull’s bar) is at the half way point just when legs are beginning to crumble, and you are wondering ” who made me does this!?” It is definitely worth stopping by, for the great view and juices on offer,
Unfortunately some tourist behaviour is considered inappropriate and downright crazy, like the two Australians waist deep in water at the Monterosso beach drinking from bottles of beer, which I don’t have a photo of. But I did capture the English girls who sat at my favourite beach Marina downing 3 bottles of white wine under the midday sun with no lunch, and becoming increasingly louder and more dishevelled. And while no one said anything to them Italians would think there is a time and a place for drinking….while these tourists think they are in another time and another place and anything goes on holidays! C’est la vie!
My day at the beach has finished and I am ready to hike back up to my hideaway village of San Bernardino, lured by the thought of a mint icy- pole from my fridge.
Stop press: the Corniglia-Vernazza trail reopened today 15 July!