Cinque Terre - what's that?

Old Jul 28th, 2003, 05:25 AM
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Cinque Terre - what's that?

Someone recently complimented a post saying that it was refreshing compared to the Cinque Terre reruns. Cinque Terre? France? I'd never heard of it. I've lived and travelled in Europe for over 10 years and had no clue. So I went trawling (Google) and found that it was the steep strip of Genovese coast, with its little villages plastered to the hill slopes.

And then I remembered. Early last June my wife and I decided to get off the Autostrada (sp?) and hug the coastline that we had visited 10 years ago, looking for places to stay for a few nights and get nostalgic.

Well, had things changed!! We hit the first village, I think it was Riomaggiore - and were stuck for 45 minutes partly because some supply vehicles were unloading, but mainly beause - it was full. We passed by the next town (slowly) with similar problems/delays. The coastal road was absolutely choked in most places, buses everywhere. By the time we got to Vernaza (sp?) we were ready to quit. No parking, no well-signed alternative routes, and then a few tour buses arrived in succession - and the place burst. People spilled out into the streets and were standing in large groups in the most inconvenient spots. There was nowhere to move. Hoot-hoot.

We got out of there as quickly (ha!!) as possible. The quaint tranquil villages were but a dim memory. I hate to think of what it is like in late-July. We went north to the Piemonte where we found what we were looking for.

And then this morning I read an article in (Euro)Time Magazine about Rick Steves, and all was revealed.

I went to his web site and saw that he is now plugging Rothenburg. Thank heavens we went there in April.

Hey Rick, forwarn us as to where your promotions will next focus in case we then need to move them up our priority list quickly. Riquewihr? Conques? Giethoorn? Heaven forbid.


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Old Jul 28th, 2003, 05:55 AM
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Uhhh, I went by train from Florence and had an incredible experience in the Cinque Terre for 3 glorious days in Vernazza ($35 a night, care of Rick Steves!) highlighted by an all day hike through all the towns hugging the coast, ending up in Monterossa I think it was.

I would never drive in Europe if I didn't have to. I have enough stress driving all day here in Washington DC! I don't like the stress of driving in a foreign country. That's just me. I'm sure we miss alot, but that's ok. I rented a car to drive to Bathe from London once and lost going to Stonehenge for 2 hours. Never again. Especially driving on the other side. Eeegads. What a scary thing to do on a roundabout. Give me a train or a bus anyday!!!

Silver Spring MD
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Old Jul 28th, 2003, 06:06 AM
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Rockknocker: I think i may be the person who made the remeark about your trip report being a refreshing change from the many posts about the Cinque Terre. What is fascinating to me is that the place apparently retains a great deal of charm for folks despite the fact that it is often jammed with tourists. I have yet to see many posts here claiming that the place is "touristy." I suppose a certain amount of its popularity may well be thanks to Rick Steves' raves about the place. That's also interesting since someone recently posted here that they were "ashamed to admit" they had found out about some hotel or location by reading on of Rick Steves' guidebooks.
Old Jul 28th, 2003, 06:34 AM
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Rick Steves has been talking about Rothenburg for 20 years, so if you enjoyed it this past April, it must have survived his recommendation.

With a lot of these smaller places, timing is everything. Full of day-trippers during the day, but peaceful morning and evening.

He has an essay on Rothenburg in this months newsletter:
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Old Jul 28th, 2003, 08:01 AM
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I must be the only person that has never Never Read Rick Steves Books...
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Old Jul 28th, 2003, 08:28 AM
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Hop on over to his website, Kismet, and take a look. I'd never trust his hotel recommendations--too spartan for me--but he does offer some practical, nuts and bolts advice. His guidebooks are very good when augmented with other sources.
Old Jul 28th, 2003, 09:29 AM
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Re: "Rick Steves has been talking about Rothenburg for 20 years, so if you enjoyed it this past April, it must have survived his recommendation."

Good one, elberko!

I also agree with you that timing is important with a lot of these smaller places. And not just timing during the day, but timing during the year as well. When we were in Cinque Terre in late April it didn't seem overly crowded at all (except for Liberation Day weekend when Vernazza was packed with Italian tourists) but I'm sure it's quite different during the summer months.

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Old Jul 28th, 2003, 09:37 AM
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kismet - I've never read them either...
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