Sweat drips down my face. My legs are burning. I'm making great time. This time it's for time, not pictures.
It's hard to look up because the rocks are unpredictable. I'm halfway down a set of steps rounding a bend.
Bam, a chubby tourist cuts you off. Walking so leisurely, adjusting her little digital camera lense to get a terrible picture. "Excuse me, excuse me." No movement....I wait impatiently, I'm no billy goat, but let's show a little trail etiquette. Bread is at the bottom lady!
Finally she moves, and I am off. I feel so free. The sweat begins again and the sun is reaching the golden hour. Kristin and I woke to watch it rise and tonight we will have dinner as it sets. I am hiking the Cinque Terre, my body feels even stronger knowing I am on my hike back from two towns over, who cares about train timetables...I'll worry about that in a couple of days.
Cinque Terre is a group of five towns along the coast of Italy and you can hike between all five. People generally hike and then take a train or ferry back to the town that they are staying in, but the ATM in our town is out of money, so we have no choice (I always wanted to hike back.) The hikes are hard. Steps on steps on cliffside paths. We even helped a lady who slipped and was luckily caught by brush on our way back.
We stayed in the middle of the five towns, finding what could be the last room available on this holiday weekend. Corniglia is the perfect place to stay. Less tourism then the others, but restaurants cure the no kitchen problem, and Visa is accepted! Let the exercising portion of our trip begin!
The first day we hiked to Vernazza and Monterosso, laying on the beach and eating focaccia bread smothered in the local pesto. The next day we hiked up so so so so so high into the mountain to walk by perfectly carved out grape vines and through the tiniest of towns, to walk down a million steps. A landslide has shut down the two main paths between Manarola and the other town Riomaggiore so alternate routes are taken. Today, blisters are setting in for Kristin and we plan to just take the ferry back to Corniglia. We begin the last hike in excitement, which is quickly replaced with exhaustion. We stop at the top to talk to some fellow "United Stater's" (not trying to offend those from South America) reassuring them the trail only gets harder.
We finally make it to Riomaggiere only to find the ferry doesn't take you to our town, but Vernazza, the town after...I know what I am going to do. Kristin reluctantly goes along with my plan and I get the ferry tickets. One last hike!
The ferry ride is so beautiful. The sun is once again getting tired and the water is such a beautiful turquoise green color. I think briefly about getting organized for tomorrow, but I let it wash away, I love this place.
The ferry lets us off and I remind Kristin we are eating pizza for dinner, and that I'll see her in Corniglia. The trails are less crowded today thankfully and I make great time. I felt such a rush making my way back into town. The weather couldn't have been better, and tomorrow we are going back to Switzerland (don't mind the zig zag in our plans.)
Some beers in the sunshine with a group of funny people follows as Kristin makes her way back to town! Pizza taste better when you deserve it.
Unfortunately, in the morning, delayed trains steal a day from our journey. We make it to Bern at like 9:30 p.m and have to check into our hostel by 10:00! We use some Swiss phone and the guy from the hostel tells us,"To take our time." We play some cards and finish our bourbon reminiscing about the train ride there. We sat in a cluster of people laughing so hard with this brother and sister, it was so fun. Kristin cooked a beautiful breakfast in the morning and Interlaken is our destination. A few years ago my friend, his brother, and myself were mesmerized by the mountains there. I can't wait to be back!
We finally get to Interlaken and I point to this restaurant/overlook on the top of a mountain and tell Kristin, that's the hike. We settle down at the hostel, dropping our bags, smushing all the rules. Our hiking boots get released from the many knots connecting them to our backpacks, it's time for some soil from the Alps to nestle into the fabric.
This hike is tremendously hard. So steep. Our backpack is a little heavier today and we are just tired. Water breaks are needed. On one of them we get passed by an older couple, embracing breath and the burning sensation in their calves. If only we had walking poles... We commit to taking our time. Around every corner we insist we have to be there...were not...but we are at a hut that I've been to before. Rejuvenation finds me when I see the autographing David did still overlooks the valley. We wre totally pro "leaving no trace" but one time wouldn't hurt. Gosh, I just smile.
We finally make it to the top. It was hard, we wave to the older couple as they sip on water, respect to them for sure!!
The view is beautiful and a peaceful day at the lake awaits. We really don't have any plans after Switzerland. Kristin has found the Black Forest in Baden-Baden, Germany, so off we go. Hansel and Gretel met the wicked witch here...scary.