|Halfway between Vernazza and Corniglia. That's Corniglia in the distance.|
The trail to Manarola from Corniglia continues behind the Cornigilia train station, where we found several signs that the trail was closed. Of course this all didn't register until after we watched the only train for the next half an hour leave, so faced with climbing back up the Mayan pyramid or a bench at the train station, we sat. I'm not going to lie: I was considerably, disgustingly, sweaty; probably just as smelly (I wasn't about to put my nose in my armpit to find out); my feet were blistered; my shoulders sunburned and my stomach growling (I'd read in my guidebook to find a cafe in the next town so we'd only grazed through the morning - ha, oops). So as much as I'd originally wanted to hike all the way from Vernazza to Riomaggiore, I wasn't devastated that we had to cheat a little.
While we sat and waited for our train, the number of would-be hikers increased, and another girl, maybe about 14 years-old, sat next to me on the bench. Joey and I continued our conversation, and as it reached a lull, the girl looked over at me and said, "I'm from Norway."
That's all. Completely matter-of-fact and even more out of the blue.
Not much for small talk with people I do know, I replied with the nicest thing I could think of: "Okay?"
And that was the extent of our conversation.
Joey gave me the "Do you know her" look, to which I replied with the "WTF" look, after which we stifled our snickering until the train came.
In Manarola we stopped for gelato. I ordered a large cone of my favorite: Amarena. The gorgeous Italian woman behind the counter blessed with long legs and the ability to eat pasta all day every day in her Gucci size 2 pants replied, "you know that's three scoops, right?"
Are you saying something? Because I just hiked a mountain and I live in Africa.
We drifted from Manarola along the "Via dell'Amore" to the last town, Riomaggiore, where we saw a bride posing for pictures with a huge bouquet of lavender. Then we took the last train back to Santa Margherita, for naps, showers, and another romantic evening along the Ligurian Sea.