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