Travel Talk

Published on May 30th, 2013 | by Ann Rickard


Never go back.

If, on your travels, you fall in love with a city, town or country or become smitten with something iconic such as The Great Wall of China or the Eiffel Tower, it’s best not to go back in my opinion.

“And although on each visit it looked just as pretty, it never beguiled us like it did that first time”

It always seems smaller, less captivating than it did that magical first time you saw it.

I will never forget the first time I saw the Cinque Terre, the rocky strip of coastline rising out of the sea between Genoa and Pisa on the Italian Riviera where five charming villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggorie – perch on the cliffs and seem to tumble into the sea.cinque terre 2

Part of Cinque Terre’s charm is its lack of development.

Paths, trains and boats connect the villages but cars cannot get in from the outside. Italy might have an abundance of art treasures but I think the Cinque Terre is one of its finest natural treasures.

You can walk the tracks between each village and it is one of the prettiest walks in the world.

With the Mediterranean shimmering below and the mountains seeming to terrace up to the heavens behind you, there is something beautiful to look at with each step.

We began our walk in the village of Riomaggorie, an easy stroll along the Via dell’Amore (street of love) to the next village Manarola. Our first vision of Manarola with its jumbled cluster of pink and yellow houses built into the cliffs, was love at first sight.

The laneway leading to the sea was lined with busy bars and cafes where people laughed and ate and drank. I can’t recall ever being so enchanted.

cinque terre 3

Each village had its own attraction: in Corniglia we rested in a small piazza and explored streets so narrow we could barely fit through when walking side by side; Vernazza faced a tiny bay dominated by cliffs and two ancient towers, Monterosso was busy with promenading people.

The walk was strenuous in places and sometimes so steep we had to drag ourselves up as though climbing a ladder. But when we completed the journey we felt wonderful and certain we would go back to the Cinque Terre. And we did.

And although on each visit it looked just as pretty, it never beguiled us like it did that first time.

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About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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