Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bar dell'Amore, Parco Nazionale Delle, Cinque Terre

Bar dell'Amore, Parco Nazionale Delle, Cinque Terre
Thursday 14 September, 2006

The Cinque Terre consists of 18 kilometers of sheer rocky coastline in northern Italy, terraced hills and vineyards sloping steeply down to the sea. Five little villages are built into the rocks between the beach and the hills. You can hike, swim, drink red wine, and watch blazing Mediterranean sunsets here. Centuries old footpaths and mule tracks wind about 500 to 1,000 feet above the sea, leading through olive groves and vineyards, orchards and chestnut woods. Each village has its own character, they are a few minutes apart by train and there are almost no cars as the villages are not easily accessible by road.

We woke up early and caught the train from Monterosso to the southern most town of the Cinque Terre - Riomaggiore. For the uninitiated the walk is best approached South to North. Fortunately the weather had cooled a little and it was lightly raining. This was a welcome relief from the mid 30 degree temperatures we had experienced over the past few days. We commenced the reasonably flat walk from Riomaggorie to Manarola - along the way you hit a stretch known as Via Dell'Amore that is dominated by love.

As you walk up a small incline you reach the Tunnel of Love - this is where local (and international) lovers leave messages, pictures and poetry to their loved ones. It's very colourful in parts and whilst most of the messages are written in Italian there's the odd message in English which is highly entertaining. At the end of the tunnel is the love seat where lovers sit and pose.

A kilometre out of the tunnel you reach a small bar/ shop called Bar dell'Amore. This seemed like the perfect place to sit and enjoy our first coffee of the day. It is perched very high on the edge of the cliff and offers spectacular views of the Cinque Terre.

Our coffee was spot on - it's pretty hard to get a bad cup at a local bar/ cafe (unless of course you indulge in the hotel coffee - we avoided this at all costs). We sat and took in the view and pondered the next leg of the walk into Manarola...this is the life.

Bar dell'Amore, Parco Nazionale Delle, Cinque Terre


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