- Friday 12th September, 2014
- Distance 5.8km, 2hr (Routes 587, 586 & 506)
After wandering around Corniglia, I got a little lost trying to find the alternative path (Route 587) to Manarola so I asked a local man and he walked with me for about 5 minutes and took me right to the beginning of the path, it was very kind of him! His English was terrific and we spoke about the landslides that the region had experienced back in 2011, his opinion was that the Azzure path between Corniglia and Riomaggiore probably wouldn’t re-open… When we arrived at the entrance to the path he said it would take about 30 minutes to get to the top of this very steep trail and then I would be on a flat path for the next 1.5hr or so.
All I can say is that I’m glad it only took 23 minutes to get to the top but it was a very long 23 minutes and I could hear my heart beating, reminiscent of being on the Shikoku walk again! It was so tough!
After the turn-off to Volastra on Route 586, the path flattened out but was still quite challenging with incredibly narrow parts (impossible to pass someone), rocky and uneven terrain and scary drop-offs to the sea below.
Soon I was in Volastra, a small hill-top town with a dominating church and a very handy bar to get another large bottle of water! And then I was off again and walking through the middle of vineyards, surrounded by grapes and the locals harvesting them.
And before I knew it, it was time to go down. Not just any down. DOWN! Down approximately 1,000,000 (I lost count) steps, but at least they were evenly placed so I could go down quite quickly. I had to stop a few times and my legs wobbled like jelly each time. Sometimes seeing the destination that you’re walking towards helps, but Manarola was like a mirage that never got any closer, no matter how many steps I went down.