Genoa 2009: Day 5

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 5: Riomaggiore 01 Sella La Croce 1 Porto Venere (639m)

I'm not sure whether to finish the rest of route 1 today by walking all the way to Porto Venere today or whether to finish the walk tomorrow. I decide to catch the earlier train to Riomaggiore, the 0841 train (rather than the 0915 train). There are a few spots of rain on the way to the railway station but these do not continue.

When I get to Riomaggiore, I first go to its Information Centre as Riomaggiore is a confusing place to walk around as it has a lot of twisty, hilly streets, and yesterday I failed to note how I'd got from the end of walk 01 to the raliway station. The woman at the desk queries whether I want route 01 or route 3. I guess that route 3 is the more popular. She gives a sketch map of Riomaggiore and this has the start of the two routes marked on it.

The climb back up to Sella La Croce (637m) is long but uneventful. Although it's advertised as 2h15m (2.5K), it takes me 1h30m and it doesn't feel as long as yesterday's descent. So when I get to Sella La Croce, I'm in a good mood. The map says it'll take 1 hour to get to the Colle del Telegrafo and I do it in 55 minutes. A surprise awaits there: there's a bar-restaurant. And I can't resist. I have a coffee and a sandwich and a mars bar and acquire some water for later.

My choice is to take route 3 back to Riomaggiore (2h) or to carry on walking along route 1 to Porto Venere (3h20m). I'm in a goiod mood, and feeling fit that I've already decided to carry on.

My notes from Sherpa Holidays cover a trip walking from Riomaggiore to Porto Venere: they use route 3 to get to Telegrafo and then use route 1 to Porte Venere. So their text is going to be useful for the rest of today's trip.

It's busy at the bar-restaurant and there are a lot of people doing the the rest of today's walk. Just after Telegrafo, there is another bar, but I resist the urge to stop again.

Campiglia is reached in just about an hour. There's a chapel here, and an infrequent bus service leaves from here to La Spezia, the big town further along the coast from Porto Venere. There is another bar-restaurant behind the chapel and this has hammocks where some walkers are dozing in the bright sunshine.

I have wondered about taking the bus as the text from Sherpa Holidays says that the footpath from Campiglia to Porto Venere should be avoided when wet and is difficult for those that suffer from vertigo. But one person's vertigo is straightforward for others. So I decide to persevere. However, there are tricky sections of rock to scramble down and some parts are fairly close to the edge (where there is a steep drop). Although I manage it, I wouldn't want to go there again.

The footpath meets the road a few times and each time leaves it. At one point, there is a waymark pointing off to the left and where my text seems to say go left. There aee a few people in front and lots behind that also go this way. However, the footpath divides into two at a point where there is no waywark: one path descends into wood and looks uninviting and the other path goes steeply up loose rocks aiming it seem to join the road again. The group in front of me have already turned back, and I walk half way back to the road. However, the woman of another group of four behind says she has been here before and this is the right way. And so I join her, but when she gets to the junction, she quickly says it's different and even though her gallant son gazelle-ly ascends the loose stones she announces that this is not the way.

So we return to the road. I think I know where we are on the map, but later find this is wrong. I walk on ahead up the road. There is a red arrow painted on the ground pointing down a path that probably leads to the loose rocks. After walking about 1K up the road, there is another turn off to the left which is very well waymarked. I work out where we are on the map and where the difficulty had arisen. I also think that this turn-off from the road looks very similar to the previous one and that is why the woman thought we should have taken the earlier turn-off.

From here it's a reasonably descent into Porto Venere. I arrive at about 3.15pm, it having taken about 2h from the Colle del Telegrafo: the map suggests 3h20m. I feel very happy. I've now done the whole of route 1.

Although the text from Sherpa Holidays says that you can get the boat back (from Porto Venere to Monterosso), it's not obvious from the signs (which of course are in Italian) how much it will cost. There is a reasonably long queue. Sherpa's text says that must people pay 3 euros for the bus back. I stop at an Information Centre and she says press "3" on the ticket machine for the ticket for the bus to La Spezia. I find the ticket machine and it's not obvious as to what codes you use for the various places. However, I press "03" and get a ticket for 1.59 euros even though Sherpa's text says it'll cost about 3 euros. I've just missed a bus; a nearby bar provides a coffee and a focacchia whilst I wait for the next one.

The bus does not stop at La Spezia's railway station but Sherpa's text says how to walk there after getting off the bus after a stadium and a military college. This all works well. And I later catch the train back to Monterosso.

It rains most of the night and the following day. I had thought of doing route 2 (the coastal path) but there's a section that's vertiginous and to avoid when wet and as it'll be fairly miserable walking in the rain I decide to give it a miss.