Saturday, August 11, 2007

July 2007 - Monterosso al Mare, Italia - The Resort "Land"

The hike from Vernazza to Monterosso, which we did with Alex and his friend Dimi, is the longest and most "treacherous" of the hikes between the other towns. Monterossa is the resort town of the Cinque Terre. It's the largest and most touristy, having the best equipped and most crowded sandy beaches and the largest selection of hotels, bars and restaurants.

As we entered Monterossa on the trail from Vernazza, we passed over this tiny cave-like inlet cut out of the rocky cliff adjacent to the smaller, more secluded of the town's two beaches.

Overheated from the long hike, we decided to head straight down to that beach for a dip in the that beautiful, inviting acquamarine water.The water was cool and refreshing
We hung out on the beach for awhile until we all got hungry.

Then we ventured into Monterosso's Old Town, appearing much like the other four towns with pastel-colored buildings tightly crammed in along narrow, crooked streets.

We walked down this street a few blocks into the town and stopped for lunch at . . .
. . . for some food and wine. We ordered two assorted platters of raw fish, cold cuts, smoked cheeses, and pickled vegetables and a bottle of the Vino delle Cinque Terre, a light crisp refreshing white wine.
Afterwards, we headed back towards the waterfront, . . .
past the Old Town's main square, Piazza Garibaldi, . . .
and over towards the New Town and the large, more lively beach.
We didn't stay long at this beach, as it was a bit too crowded, . . .
so we just walked along the New Town's water front promenade, past this old fortified bunker.
Here we are in front of the huge rock that sits just off shore of Monterossa's main beach. Swimmers can climb to the top of it for a great photo op. I considered it for a second but opted to just chill with everyone else on some of the large bolders you can see more immediately behind us.
The sun was wearing us all out so we decided to head back to our hotels.
Monterosso may be the least charming of the Cinque Terre, but it's certainly the liveliest and easily the best place for swimming and and sun worshipping, as Casandra demonstrates here with style, standing up.

But our favorite thing about Monterosso, which none of the other town can claim, is that from its smaller, more private beach, sprinkled on four distant promontories jutting out from the dramatic rocky coast, you can see all four of the other towns. It's truly an amazing sight.

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