On walk 2 we hiked between two of the Cinque Terre towns. That walk was notable for the seemingly thousands of rough-hewn steps of varying heights and widths that we had to ascend and descend. The views, when we had them, on the coastal path when it was level were lovely but we will likely remember the steps first and the views second. Therefore it is probably fair to say we wondered what a walk that worked its way through several hamlets in the area collectively known as Framura would be like.
I believe the town of Framura is made of five hamlets whose names I do not know. I know we passed through Setta and Costa but we passed through at least some of the other hamlets too. The hamlets grew from the top of the hills down towards the sea which seems backwards until you realize that the view from Costa provides lookouts superb views of both the sea and inland valleys.
Our hiking did not actually begin until 10:57. The reason we did not start earlier was because we were scheduled to have lunch at an agritourismo. We had the morning, a couple of hours, to spend in Bonassola. The town is quiet now that high tourist season is done. However, I have a feeling that even at the peak Bonassola would feel nicer to us than the Cinque Terre villages. We certainly are enjoying our chances to walk along the beach, promenade, and through the quiet streets of the town. That is pretty much what we did this morning. Along the way we got good close-up looks at a painting style that mimics real building stones. That is, a facade might look like brickwork until you run your hand over it and realize it is clever painting that has fooled your eye. It was a nice way to spend the bulk of the morning before catching the train for the very short, one stop, ride to Framura.
It is probably best to think of the walk as an urban walk. After all, the first 3km are along paved paths of one type or another that wind ever upward through the hamlets. For the most part when you are climbing you are doing it on steps. Joy of joys these steps are much more regular in design. But we still had to ascend well over 280 meters (Costa is at about 290m). That is a lot of steps and that means you feel it. I did.
Nice views of the rugged coastline came and went as we climbed. I am sure each hamlet has something to offer if you stop to check them out. The little playground at one, the coffee shop I think we passed in another, the watchtower of Costa.
We left Costa to go get lunch at the argritourismo. The walk changed. We had more ascending to do but the walk switched from paved paths to a dirt forestry road that continued to work its way up into the hills. It took about 20-25 minutes to reach the place and I know I enjoyed the change of walking from the climb up the paved paths to the forested mountain road. The eatery, a farm and restaurant, was a lovely place to sit down and have a leisurely lunch. Pesto pasta with potatos (a typical itialian dish) with string beans was what we were treated to. They provided home produced red and white wines too but I am no judge of those. The pasta was nice though I think I preferred the pesto pasta we had for one of our dinner courses at the Pomieri Hotel in Sicily. Our group managed to spend a good hour chatting and eating.
We still had two-thirds of the walk to do: about 7km. The walk took us around the top of the valley along an actual mountain trail. Completely enjoyable walking through the pine, cork and chestnut forest. We gradually descended towards a dirt mountain road that we would take for several kilometers winding our way down towards sea-level and the Framura train station. It was a lovely afternoon even though the sun did beat down upon us with great force. The temperature under the sun was in the low-mid 80s (under the sheltering canopies of the tables at lunch the temperature was easily 10 degrees F cooler). As we walked and talked (OK, I did little of the latter) some heavier clouds began to mass over the area of the train station. They just floated there and no rain came from them. They did make for a more stunning sky.
We reached the seaseide town a littel before 16:00. The last kilometer or so would treat us once more to steps. It would not be a proper walk in this part of Italy if you did not have steps of some type to climb up and down. We reached the train station at about 16:25. Our train would to arrive at 17:01. No one chose to walk the extra 3km through the old railway tunnel that now serves as a cycle and pedestrian path back to Bonassola. Given that our train was actually 10 minutes late it is likely we could have walked back to the hotel more quickly and spared our rears the uncomfortable benches at the train station. But I think everyone was happy to wait for the train and not pound the pavement anymore. It was an enjoyable walk. The best walk we have do so far at least in part because it featured a good dose of variety.
Stats: The walk ended up being about 10.3km long. It was a “circular walk” though hardly a circle in shape. That means our ascent and descent were effectively the same: about 340 meters. We spent two hours and ten minuts resting but I am confident an hour of that ws spent at our lunch stop. We actually were moving for about 3 hours and 20 minutes. Under the sun the temeprature soared to about 84F though in the shade it was certainly cooler. While clouds slowly moved in as the afternoon progressed I certainly never felt as if rain threatened (none came).
- Mom and Dad on the modest beach in Bonassola. The water is clear.
- Look carefully at three window on this building in Anzo . We think the top one is a painted window rather than a real window.
- Sure the tree is dead but still pretty.
- Coastal and inland views from Costa.
- Heading towards Framura. The dramatic sky looks more ominous than it is.