From up here the tiny town of Vernazza looked a mere toy town, with little wooden people almost entirely still on the sand and in the sea, and perfectly pastel houses too pretty to possibly be real.
The battlements upon which we stood was worth the steep climb and winding steps, as we took in the majesty of the Med while blocking out the annoying sounds being made by 3 guys in their early 20s who, you guessed it, we were stuck on a tour with.
Yep, we decided on a tour of Cinque Terre so as to make the most of our very quick day-trip, but what we hadn’t counted on was the shortness of time allowed in each of Cinque Terre’s incredible Ligurian towns.
Scuttling back down to the sea, we grabbed a gelato (mandatory every single day in Italy – trust me, it’s the law) and settled into the sand, a rare treat from the pebbles that define most of Europe’s coastline. If you have time, it’s worth wandering the tiny alleys carved into the hill upon which Vernazza is set – well away from tourists, the tiny winding streets provide both a cardio workout with all those stairs, as well as a more traditional perspective on the town, with local artists and stores scattered all over the town.
But, if like us, the heat starts to wear you down and the waves call your name, pop right back to the beach and don’t feel guilty for not exploring – you’re on holiday, after all!
3pm. Startled by how quickly an afternoon in the sun seems to just roll away, we jumped up still wet from our swim, and scuttled off towards the train station where the rest of our tour would be waiting, no doubt getting impatient.
But then, just before the curve in the path that would reveal the station, we heard the crashing of waves. To our right, magic was happening. A tunnel carved into a cave, with the bluest of seas on the other side.
There’s no way anyone could resist exploring it and this time, to our relief rather than frustration, finding those 3 guys on our tour exploring the same “secret” beach (yes, I see all those tourists in the photo, too!) made us feel that maybe sometimes it’s okay not to follow strict time limits…I mean, look at that ocean xx