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Portofino (May 2016).

Between hikes to the villages of the Cinque Terre in May 2016, the assistante and I also did a day hike to two other towns outside of the Cinque Terre. Since we had more days than needed for just the five villages, we chose to explore a bit more of Liguria while we could. That said, we set out the day after our Vernazza-Monterosso hike for another long hike, all the same gorgeous (as usual). Heading out around 10:00, we took the train out of the Cinque Terre to Rapallo, a small city where we didn’t stay too long, as we just grabbed food for the road before starting our hike to Santa Margherita Ligure. It wasn’t a long walk, perhaps about 45 minutes, and mostly on pavement. Granted, there was a portion of our hike where we had no choice but to walk alongside the road, making sure the avoid the cars whizzing by at neck-breaking speed– it was definitely a relief when we could get on the sidewalk again!

We arrived at Santa Margherita Ligure around noon, where we sat on some large, flat boulders alongside the sea to rest and have lunch. Compared with the sunny, blue skies in the Cinque Terre from the previous days, it was unfortunately dark and gloomy that day. However, the views of the classy villas along the coast (even the cliffs) and the vast Mediterranean remained beautiful, albeit just a bit mysterious. Thankfully, the clouds would clear around 15:00 when we returned on our way back to the Cinque Terre, so the noon gloom wasn’t so bad– at least it didn’t rain!

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In Santa Margherita Ligure.
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Santa Margherita Ligure.

After lunch, we continued with our trek, this time to Portofino, our final destination. The walk took longer, about 90 minutes– fortunately, most of it was flat terrain, and we got to check out the sea, which was right next to the trail, during our hike. We came across this neat “tree in a rock,” which reminded me of the Lone Cypress in California– goes to show that life can defy the laws of nature sometimes…

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Surreal…
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Hiking to Portofino.

We cut through a small, narrow path with a slight incline, as a shortcut to reach Portofino more directly, and soon enough, we arrived in the famous harbor town. Situated along the Italian Riviera, Portofino is known for attracting celebrities to its shores, with actors like George Clooney and Robert De Niro having spent time there. Due to its star status, the town is ridiculously expensive, as the assistante and I soon found out. Prior to arriving, we knew that things would cost a lot, but we wanted to treat ourselves after a long hike and feel somewhat “posh” for doing so.

That said, we walked past the numerous souvenir shops selling nautical toys, clothing items, and postcards over to a cafe just meters from the harbor. We sat outside on the terrace, where we ordered some drinks to relax with. It was no joke just how much our drinks cost, with the assistante’s hot chocolate at 7€ and my glass of white wine at 9€! Admittedly, the drinks did come with some crackers to snack on, but if I were to stay in Portofino for any more than a day, my budget wouldn’t allow it!

Aside from the break we took, we didn’t do much else in Portofino, as it was just a touristy spot to “feel rich” and otherwise spend money on shopping and eating. We headed back to Santa Margherita, then Rapallo, which went faster this time before taking the train back to the Cinque Terre, arriving back around 18:30.

In total, we hiked a grand total of 17 kilometers (almost 11 miles) that day, which was just as much, if not a bit more, than a typical hike between adjacent Cinque Terre villages. You can bet, then, that we were rather tired, and we ended up just resting our legs (and bodies) in the hostel. The assistante, who had moved to my hostel for the last two nights of her stay, would be leaving the following day, so we didn’t do too much that evening so that she would have the energy to head out in the morning. I would continue to hike the rest of the Cinque Terre later, all the while continuing to enjoy my time in Italy.

Last post of my adventures in the Ligurian region of Italy to come soon. Arrivederci!

 

— Rebecca

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