Happy and relieved were we to spy Vernazza. Relieved that we had almost arrived, hungry and thirsty after a hard hike. Happy to glimpse this simply stunning little place sticking into the sea on a rocky spit. Vernazza is as perfect as it gets. I would have climbed (almost) any amount of steep stone steps for this sight. The best views have got to be from the trail – seeing it from on high for the first time is something special.
The town is dominated by a castle and has the only natural port in the Cinque Terre. Passing a stack of love locks we made our way into the centre, cooled off with some delicious gelato and caught our breath sitting on the pavement. Lots of classic tall, thin houses, cobbled streets and colour everywhere in Vernazza – a feast for the eyes.
We walked through a huge cave-like rock to get to a pebbly beach. The sea was hammering onto the shore, no chance of a dip here but it was mesmerizing. Lack of sand was not an issue – Son was happy to skim stones and design elaborate stone constructions.
Back through the cave and in the picturesque square by the harbour we watched fishermen dragging boats in from the water. Passengers were boarding the Cinque Terre ferry – this was mesmerizing too as it swayed alarmingly from side to side. Getting up the gang plank was an Olympic feat in itself. The three of us decided instantly this method of transport would not be for us – a lousy sailor on the calmest sea, Son agreed he would rather hike ten more trails than be tossed around on this sea – admiring the views from terra firma, the best way for us.
We sat for ages in a bar by the harbour, sipping icy wine, looking out to sea and watching the comings and goings. Perfect views in an idyllic spot – Vernazza is bliss.