My Italian Adventure
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CHAPTER 68 LOCATION: Vernazza SUBJECT: Perilous Pathways

Rick Steves characterizes the trip from Corniglia to Vernazza as, "2 hours, hard hike."

I wouldn't say it's so much hard as it is perilous. In the litigious society to which I am used, such a trail would never exist, at least not without unsightly guard rails, warning placards, and signed release forms.

Parts of the trail were literally on the edge of the sheer cliff, and in a few places the path had eroded away completely, requiring a careful diversion into the sloped brush to the side.

This lent a distinctive exhilaration to walking the trail, not unlike the first time you get to cross the street without holding the hand of an adult.

With no guard rails, there was nothing to separate me from the experience of walking on the edge. I realized that, without being aware of it, I had been living in a protective cage my entire life, and only now could taste such delight and freedom. Here was a culture that assumed my intelligence, good judgment and sense of responsibility.

Vernazza Juts out Into the Water... a thumb of land attempting to catch a ride from a passing ferry.

Beautiful Bay
The water was clear enough to see the bottom of the bay to a depth of many feet.

The Italians appeared to take this all in stride, with children and grandmothers alike traversing the trails, some in shoes more at home in a church than a stony dirt path.

We were sweaty and dusty, our faces blushed both by exertion and the sun, when we rounded the corner in the trail, and saw Vernazza tucked into a niche in the hills along the coast.

My eye was attracted at once to the fortress turret poking up at the end of the short peninsula, an obvious candidate for further exploration.

With hearty hugs and kisses on both cheeks, we said a fond farewell to our Italian friends, and then set out in search of the town's best gelato...

Next: Vernazza Piazza

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