Sunday, 29 July 2007

Pilgrimage from Levanto to Manarola 27/07/07

Can Italy get any better??? Today was AWESOME!!!

If somewhere deep down in my subconscious I have any negative feelings towards Dan for abandoning me mid quest, this is where they all get erased ;)

Dan was regularly talking about this place where there are five little villages around some cliffs that you can’t drive between and that we should go out of our way to go there. I only realized two days ago that my path was taking me straight there. I hope you are reading this Dan :)

It’s called Cinque Terre and it is amazing. It was one of the most beautiful walks I have had. I took heaps of photos but they jus don’t do it justice.

I got to the first town, Monterosso, after another tortuous walk over the hills and sat down for breakfast around 10am. Even though I had planned to walk all the way through the five towns today I was still going to take my time and enjoy it.

This is the first place on my pilgrimage where I have met a lot of tourists. Probably 90% of the walkers are native English speakers. I was attracting heaps of attention because of the size of my pack so it was good to sit and chat at every chance I had.

The walk was hard but the views make it all worthwhile.

I arrived in Vernazza just in time for lunch. Pesto is a local dish here, but everyone keeps telling me that good pesto has to be made with a mortar and pestle rather than a blender. Today I thought I would test this theory and I am pleased to say I agree :) This was the best pesto I have ever tried! Wonderful :)

As I was in such a good mood and even though I knew it wasn’t a good idea with more walking to do, I figured I should do a bit of wine tasting. The local wines were great!

After a few glasses it was back to the track for a “sweatfest” to Corniglia.

I wanted to try something in every town along the track so now it was time for some gelato. And then, having enjoyed the wine tasting in Vernazza so much, I couldn’t resist doing it all again here ;)

I ended up spending a few hours sampling as much wine as I could. It was great! It was starting to look less and less like I would make it to the end today, but it didn’t really bother me. I was having fun and according to my map there was a camping ground just down the road.

Well, the campground didn’t exist so I headed for Manarola. I figured I would just bite the bullet and pay for a hotel, even though I wasn’t looking forward to finding out the prices…

When I arrived in town I was standing in the main square, deciding whether to go for another drink or to try to find a room, when the decision was made for me. This wonderful English woman spotted me and on hearing I was walking to Rome decided to buy me a beer. She was great and was keeping the whole place amused with her banter. Sorry I didn’t make it to your show though ;)

When you are going through life with an open heart it is amazing what the world provides. When I think back on the last week I have been overwhelmed by random acts of kindness and generosity. Today was no exception.

A kiwi couple at the bar decided to buy me dinner and then an Australian mother and daughter let me crash at their apartment. You guys are all great! Thanks :)

And Dale…You have nothing to worry about ;)


Jo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo said...

Hi Ben
I'm Jo, friend of Caroline, the mad English woamn in Manarolo. I was in the bar too, behind the couple from Oslo. It has been fascinating reading your diary - and I shall look forward to keeping in touch with how you are getting on. I wish you lots of luck with it - you certainly seem to have the determination you need. Glad you had such a good night in Manarolo, it was great to meet you.

Nicu Panaitescu said...

Hey Ben!
Writting this from Romania.
Every time I read your blog I dream of making some pilgrimage myself. Half an hour later I wake up and remember I am 47, my body is not in perfect shape and all that crap. :(
However, I am glad you like Italy, (I love it!) you'll miss it very soon and I hope I will be able to visit Cinque Terre this year in September.
Good luck and God bless you!

Ben :) said...


thanks guys :)

and nicu...probably half the people ive met in the world doing pilgrimages are retired. 47 is still young!!

enjoy cinque terre and if u want to come for a longer walk let me know...i can tell u, your body will get in shape soon enough ;)

pris said...

Hi Ben!
I am glad for you....and good that people is nice with you....God bless you, and go ahead.....
hugs... from Gt...