Here is a link to tomorrow's diary.
Here is a link to yesterday's diary.
Here is a link to the index of the days.
Here is a link to today's photos. Click Show info at the top right of the screen to get the titles of each slide. However, it'll probably be best to look at the photos after you've read the following text (if you plan to do that!).
Day 2: Vernazza 8 Foce di Drignana 1 La Cigoletta 7 Vernazza (750m)
Because I wanted to do route 1 in stages, the obvious journey for today would be to climb up route 9 back to the Santuario Madonna di Soviore, continue route 1 where I left it yesterday and then come down route 8. Although I was familiar from yesterday with route 9 and thought it would be easy to find the footpath for route 1, I was worried about descending route 8. I noticed that the text provided by Sherpa Holidays contained a description of the journey I was planning to do tomorrow which would start with climbing route 8. So I decided to swop the order of these two days.
Route 8 starts in Vernazza. From my hotel in Monterosso, it's about a ten minute walk to the railway station and then there is a frequent service to the other four villages. Because I'd got the Cinque Terre card that has trips on this bit of the railway included, then there was no need to mess around with getting a ticket.
Given the text I was using, finding route 8 is easy: it starts just North of the railway station. And again it's another hard ascent of 500m up route 8 to the junction of route 8 with route 1 at Foce di Drignana. You start by seeing interesting views of Vernazza's harbour; then you pass a cemetary; and about half way up to Drignana you come to a church called Madonna di Reggio. There are seats here with a nice viewpoint looking back the way you've come and so it provides a useful place to rest.
The footpath from Madonna di Reggio crosses a road and then ends on a road. Here you go right up the road and then come to a T junction. Here you go left up a road and shortly meet another road coming in from the right. You go up that road and shortly you meet route 1 crossing from left to right. Although this is explained in the text I had, the lack of waymarking in this area would make it difficult to find the route without this text.
In the first part of route 1 you have to do some more climbing: I found this tiring. It's from 500m to 770m. Because I was tired, I managed to walk past the highest point (near to Montagna Malpertuso) without noticing it. But I found the picnic seats mentioned in the text at Prato di Corvara (735m). Again a good place to rest. I met some mountain bikers here. The rest of the footpath along route 1 to La Cigoletta is undulating through pine forests.
At La Cigoletta I leave route 1 and use route 7 to return to Vernazza. I wasn't looking forward to the end of this trip as according to the text it finishes with a sharp descent on loose rocks. The first part of the route down to the church at San Bernardino has a few steep bits but is pretty uneventful, but the next bit from San Bernardino down to Vernazza lived up to the description in the text. I didn't like it very much, and I knew I wouldn't like it again in two days' time when I was due to walk up it.
Route 7 finishes with a junction with route 2 and it's a short journey along route 2 back to Vernazza. Route 2 is the coastal path: it was very crowded and noisy. And it was weird meeting so many people again. However, when I got to Vernazza it was even more hell as the place was heaving with people. Although I wanted to look around, I quickly went inland and found a bar away from most of the people in order to relax before the next train back to Monterosso.