|It was also super humid and crazy hot. So, gross, yes, but sooo happy, too.|
The path meandered toward a few buildings, where a some people were living in between the towns. As we turned the corner past yet another blue Corniglia sign, we came upon a tramped down fence, twisted grapevines still clinging to it, where people had been climbing out onto the roof of a house set into the cliff. It was perfectly flat and overlooked the sea with a perfect view of Corniglia, sitting quietly on her cliff in the distance.
|Corniglia at my elbow! Sooo excited.|
We passed lots of people coming up the other way, and discovered as we headed downhill that we had gone the hard way. Oh, well. When we got close enough to see the buildings clearly, we snuck down a side path through some grapevines to admire the view. I wanted very much to sprint the rest of the way and get there already, but I reigned myself in and walked the last leg.
Just as we're coming around the last corner, I hear accordion music again. The song is "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and I just stop in my tracks. I tell Noah, "See, this place was made for me. Accordion music everywhere!" but really I'm just speaking so that I won't burst into happy tears. I was all about the happy tears the first couple of days here. So, we cross the little bridge that leads toward the road, and smile at the accordion players, because they just completely made my day. Accordions on both ends of the hike, and I was about to step foot in the place I'd wanted to go for years. All in all, the hike took about an hour and a half and while it was a bit steep at the beginning, it mellowed out halfway through, which was nice.
Walking into the town, you step across the road and straight into the grapevines. There are so many of them, terraced along the hills in all directions.
|Lemons outside the gelato place. Literally almost the size of my head.|
|Locks everywhere seems to be a theme in Europe.|
|Perfect for lounging!|
So, Corniglia is, as I said, the only town of the five that's not right on the water. To get to it, you either take the shuttle bus from the train station (boring), drive in from someplace else (cheating), or train/hike in and walk up the 365 stairs (which I was so excited about). That wasn't sarcasm, I was genuinely excited about those stairs. So, in following the signs toward the train station, we started down some stairs, and it took me about halfway through to realize that these were the 365 stairs I had been wanting to climb. Half of them are too large to take in one step and are incredibly awkward, and the whole lot of them zigzag in tight little switchbacks down the cliffside. Once you're at the bottom it's nearly a half mile walk to the train station itself. You can imagine, if you time it wrong, how frustrating it would be to get to the bottom and watch your train pull in and know, no matter how fast you ran, that you wouldn't be making that train. We did a lot of running on that little stretch of pavement.
But that's later. For now, we checked the train schedule, realized we had quite a while, and decided to go in search of the (closed) path toward Manarola. Down some stairs to a little man made waterfall and around a corner, we found it, totally gated off with warning signs posted in Italian, English, and German. Since we weren't in any particular hurry, we decided to walk the length of the path we'd just taken, but this time on the low side, closer to the water. Noah collected rocks to take home with us and I kept wandering into the wall, staring at the sea.
The only complaint I had about Corner House was that there was no wifi. However, Jenni, having been there a few nights already, had discovered a spot just between the apartment and the grocery where you could pick up someone's wifi, and a spot out near the center of town, as well. Whenever I needed to send a quick message to someone (like my mom, to let her know I was still alive after no internet for 3 days), I'd pop out to the corner and stand there on my phone, trying to act like I was just loitering and not stealing someone's internet.
So, after hours of good conversation and delicious, real food, we all went to bed. We were all heading out in the morning - both of them to Germany, and us to stay for a few nights in Corniglia. And even though I didn't have that Christmas feeling anymore, I was still ridiculously excited to get to stay in 5Terre in the morning.