I figured that if I'm going to leave Cinque Terre early, the least I could do is do the most famous trail there, which is Via Dell'Amore
. It's a nice leisurely walk with grand views. I didn't get the views from Manarola just yet, but after that walk, I finally understood the lure of Cinque Terre. I thought this place was going to be a bust like Pisa, but it wasn't. I was so taken by the views that the supposed 30 minute trail took 80 minutes because I kept stopping to take pictures. And it wasn't even a great day for photos because it was so overcast...and raining. Eventually I got to Riomaggiore, which is the first city there. I somehow saw this office that said "Rooms for Rent". I went there, the lady spoke English and she made a quick call and got me a dorm room. That easy. Then the dorm owner came by the office to collect me. We went to the dorm, which was a small apartment with four beds and a bathroom. It sufficed. But it was definitely fine because no one came by the rest of the day.
After a nap, I went back and walked around. The hills of Cinque Terre are grandesque. Because of the countour of the coast, there are no straight lines. Everything curves. Like the waves ebbing and flowing. The colors of the walls of each house vary, and they stand out. So from afar, it looks like something more pleasant than the favelas on the hills of Rio.
Basically the day was just walking and admiring the hills and the coast
. It was great for photos, especially when the sun came out. And the best was watching the football match at the end of the day and seeing Portugal vs. Germany. Each town had its own feel to it. Monterosso was completely California, very flat, lots of palms, lots of fine sand. Vernazza felt a bit like Miami, with lady with longs legs in bikinis and convertibles on the streets, but the colors of the town made me feel like this was Disney's Epcot version of Cinque Terre. Corniglia I didn't really see, but Manarola actually kinda felt like Charleston, South Carolina. And Riomaggiore was definitely like Maine for me. Heavy on seafood, a nice rocky beach and a lot like Mt. Desert Island. Cinque Terre was definitely a huge highlight for the trip, and it was nice that I got to take it at my own pace as well.
I researched in advance and found out that the only hostel in Cinque Terre was in Manarola, so I went there first. However, after a paintaking hike with my suitcase up the steep hills of the coast, I found out that the hostel books up quickly in the summer and you need to reserve weeks in advance. Seriously, I've never heard of a hostel that really books up that far in advance. Someone should think about creating a new hostel. At least the guy was nice enough to tell me where I could find accomodation. Normally, I'd be okay about this, it's just a minor blip. However, I had just walked for three hours straight in Pisa and only got about 2 hrs of sleep in the hostel from hell. I needed some place no matter the cost. And if there wasn't going to be anything anywhere, then I needed to cut losses now and go to some place that will have accomodation. And it wasn't even 9 am yet.