For some reason I thought they’d be bigger. These towns really are tiny. Itty bitty crayola boxes on the hillside fighting against the rain to keep their buildings from sliding into the ocean. We stayed in Riomaggiore, the biggest town and the last one. When we arrived it was sunny, we made our way along the path to a rocky beach where people were sunning themselves and watched the ocean for a moment. The hiking trails were closed due to flooding and landslides all winter, information we did not learn until we arrived at the La Spezia train station, the last stop before Riomaggiore. I’m guessing they keep that information quiet because it would hurt tourism so badly. We had booked two nights at the cheapest hotel I could find and it was an amazing find. We were steps from the water, you can actually see our door on some of the postcards of Riomaggiore. So we bought some wine, some pasta and some cheese before the tiny supermarket closed and headed out onto the rocks to watch the sun dip behind the waves.
The next day, as we were becoming accustomed to, it rained all damn day. Hard. In our rain coats, we took the train from village to village stopping and exploring each one for a few hours. Monterosso, the first was wettest, with the biggest beach and the biggest hike that we took. We also bought some dry boxed wine at the local Conad to ease our deluged trekking. It did help. Each town was progressively drier until finally we returned to Riomaggiore and it was time to watch the sunset again and have some more pasta.
After looking at all the clear Mediterranean water all day and being thoroughly soaked (the wine probably helped too) Sean decided to go swimming in the tiny harbor right outside our hotel room. It was freezing and drizzling, but he was determined, so I followed him out with a towel and camera to see him dip in, swim straight across and hop right out. People from restaurants and balconies looked out at the crazy Nordic swimmer as Sean stood out pale against the dark water. The guy who had rented us our room had told us about some Canadiens who couldn’t resist swimming either, so maybe it’s just something about the Mediterranean.