For those of you who didn’t know, I went on a short trip to Italy during the first week of May, right after my teaching contract ended. I had about a week of free time before I had to return to the United States, so I decided to travel for the final time during my stay in Europe!
Besides going to the five villages in the gorgeous Cinque Terre (which you can start reading here), I also made a small day trip to two other places nearby: Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino. While not part of the Cinque Terre, these two Italian communes are also worthy to check out while in the area.
It was interesting, because I wasn’t planning to visit those places beforehand. But my hiking partner, Annie, invited me between the days that we were exploring the villages, and so I decided to go for it. After all, why not see more of Italy while I had the time?
We set out around 10h00, catching the train to Rapallo, another little town near Santa Margherita. Our plan was to “hike” (more like walk) from town to town, ending in Portofino before making our way back to Rapallo to catch the train back to the Cinque Terre region.
The two of us arrived in Rapallo around 11h00, got some food for the road, and trekked over to Santa Margherita. The walk didn’t take too long, perhaps around 45 minutes. Most of the path was sidewalk, thankfully. However, there was this one stretch that was just pure road, and so we had to really keep to the side in order not to get hit by the cars passing by- and they weren’t going super slow, either!
We made it to Santa Margherita around noon, pausing to sit down for a bit, have lunch, and admire the classy villas stretching along the port. Unfortunately, the weather that day wasn’t very nice, as there were tons of looming, grey clouds and overall a gloomy atmosphere. Luckily, it did not rain at all, and eventually, the weather cleared up around 15h00, although we were heading back to the Cinque Terre by then!
From Santa Margherita to Portofino, the walk was longer. It was about a 90-minute journey, although it was still relatively leveled and flat. We did need to cut through a narrow trail that snaked along a hill to the top, in order to reach Portofino. But that wasn’t too challenging, compared to the Cinque Terre hikes, good Lord… 😛
We reached Portofino around 14h00. Perhaps you might have heard that this particular port town is quite…rich. Or rather, filthy rich. After all, it is known for being a vacation resort, as well as for catering to celebrities and other wealthy clients. The place did feel fancy (like, ridiculously so) as we wandered the small town. We stopped by a small café to sit down and get drinks by the port…and it was expensive. I’m talking over-the-top pricey: Annie’s hot chocolate cost 7 euros, while my glass of white wine was 9 euros: it’s insane! However, it did come with a lot of small, salty snacks (chips, crackers, olives), so it wasn’t too bad. But still, man, my budget would be blown if I spent more than a day there! 😦
There really wasn’t much to do in Portofino, even with wandering around town, so Annie and I headed back around 14h30. The walk all the way to Santa Margherita, then Rapallo, felt faster than going to, but perhaps it was because we already knew the direction that we were heading towards. We arrived back in Rapallo close to 17h00 and caught the train back to the Cinque Terre, returning around 18h30.
Overall, 17.2 kilometers (or 10.6 miles) of walking that day! Definitely was tired, although it wasn’t strenuous, just long. While the weather wasn’t the best, and the fact that the two towns weren’t exactly that exciting (just pretty), the day trip was a pleasant one; it was sort of a “resting period” between my hike from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare the day before and the anticipated, hilly one from Riomaggiore to Manarola the following day. Plus, I got to see more of Italy!
More to come soon. Grazie!
— The Finicky Cynic
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