29 March 2016 – Cinque Terre

Rise and shine!  After a not-so-great sleep for any of us (Sylvie actually spent the wee hours of the morning meditating on the terrace) we headed to the lobby to pick up our breakfast in a bag that the hotel was offering since we were checking out before the ‘free breakfast buffet’. Free food for the train? Sounds good to me!

We hiked up the Cavour hill to Termini station, cursing the amount of crap we brought with us. Our travel planner (me) decided we would take the first train out (6:15) so that we could maximize sleep on the train (it would be midnight home time) and have maximum time in the Cinque Terre!  My plan worked:

Sylvie: “Great chatty company on train ride to LaSpezia!!!”

When we got to LaSpezia and found our way to the car rental agency (it’s not where you’d think it would be, let’s leave it at that), we were informed that we would need to wait a couple of hours for the car to be ready. Cappuccino time!

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While we were sipping our drinks I texted our friends the lovely Jo-Anne (as she will always be called) and Brian (also lovely, but for some reason that moniker didn’t stick!). Lo and behold they were having a slow start to the day and were right down the street!  Yay friends!!!  

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Fragola! (L-R: Jo-Anne, Una, Sylvie, Steve). Photo: Brian!

We took turns wandering around (while one person stayed behind to watch our bags) until the car was ready. You guessed it, the car (below) was actually there when we arrived 2 hours prior, so yeah.

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Once we got the car loaded we were on our way to check in to our AirBnB which was a bit outside the city centre (for parking reasons!).  The AirBnB we stayed at was perfect! There was so much room, a terrace, it was just lovely! Our host, Cristina was fantastic as well, offering tons of recommendations. Highly recommend.

We were meeting The Lovely Jo-Anne™ and Brian for a run and dinner. Steve and I wanted to scope out our run start, since *eeep* it was starting the next day!  Onto the train we go!

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Our destination was Manarola, the second of of the Cinque Terre towns. We walked down to the water and then hightailed it back to the top because Steve and I really wanted to check out Cinque Terre Trekking. We were disappointed to not have visited the store in 2013, especially after seeing this video that they were involved with:

Yeah, we ran some of that in 2013. This is why we so badly wanted to come back here, and why this was the logical start to our run!

Cinque Terre Trekking is located on Manarola’s main street. It’s a small shop, but it has EVERYTHING that you might need for trekking, running and swimming. It’s fantastic!  Needless to say, when the five of us walked in, we took over the place. 

UntitledAs we walk in the lady at the counter looks at me and says “I know you…!” How cool is that?!? She immediately asks when we are starting our run, and I’m super excited to talk with her. Steve and I have been following Cinque Terre Trekking on Facebook and Instagram since 2013, as well as their race, the Sciacchetrail. Turns out Christine at Cinque Terre Trekking has been following us as well! Skip back to the video above, Christine is just after the 5:00 mark! 

Due to the number of hats we were buying, Christine had to go to her storage area to pick some more stock. That was fine with us since we wanted to go on a trail run. As we walk out the door of the shop Christine points to the ground and tells us that “those arrows are markings from the Sciacchetrail race course”. Whoop! Let’s check it out! She says: “you’ll come race it in 2017?”. BIG SMILE – we would LOVE to, and we will, just maybe not in 2017, unless we win that lottery, then we’re signing up right now!

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The race is this way! ↑↑↑  (also gratuitous Altra shot)

Sylvie and Brian, enough chit chat, we’re going up those stairs!

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It took a bit of time to get up to the top, but it was so worth it!  Check out that view!! Thank you Brian for making sure I didn’t fall backwards!

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Manarola looks so tiny from up here!

I’ve had problems with vertigo off and on over the years, but since the ‘great fall on my face‘ of 2015 the symptoms are a lot worse and the sense of floating, disorientation and vertigo come on easily. I opted to keep my spinning head and panic to myself once we got to the top while everyone else went for a quick run. I’m embarrassed to say that to come down I used my buff as ‘blinders’ to try to block the drop to my right while Steve held my hand until we were past the disorienting parts (love you Honey ♥). I’m pretty sure that trekking poles would have helped a lot with my balance and overall feelings of floating. I’ll add those to the list for when we come to race the Sciacchetrail :D. (Una note: So after 6 more weeks of symptoms I discovered that I have problems with my Eustachian tubes and there’s a whole lot of fluid trapped in there which results in a sense of floating and difficulties knowing where I am in space… um, my ears have been blocked for MONTHS so that’s one reason this was so rough!). 

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Happy Steve hovers over Manarola

We reconvened at the store and Christine had all our hats ready. Christine asked where and what time we were starting our run because she and her running buddies wanted to lead us out. We were SO EXCITED by this!! See you tomorrow Christine! 🙂

We said our goodbyes and made our way to find a restaurant for dinner. We ended up at Ristorante Marina Piccola because it was overlooking the bay so that we could see the sunset.

Bonus: the food was fabulous!

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Fettuccine with Tuna. Oh. My. God.

Had the clouds held off one minute more we would have had the most spectacular sunset. Instead we had to settle for this. Bummer 😉.

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We hoofed it back to the station to catch our train back because we had an early morning!

We said our goodbyes to TL J0-Anne and Brian, and made our way back to the apartment. What an awesome day.

 

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