Saturday, July 23rd 2016:
Since this Saturday the “piscina naturale” event takes place in Portovenere, shall we throw in a hike for the 2nd week in a row? The idea, of course, is to follow a (new) trail leading to the infinite trail, then head down to Portovenere and swim to Palmaria island.
However, this time things won’t be so easy. Besides the physical challenge of walking up Mt Muzzerone and along the coastal ridge trail, then swimming to the island of Palmaria, this time there’s also a villain to take into account. As it often happens, the villain has the face of Trenitalia, which (apparently) decided to strike this weekend, starting from 9pm of Saturday until 9pm of Sunday. Will the good guys (i.e. us!) be able to hike and swim and come back home safely, before the trains stop running?
Regarding the swim: this Saturday’s big event is the closing of the Portovenere strait to the boats. From 3pm until evening, boats won’t be allowed to cross it, thus making it feasible to swim from Portovenere to Palmaria. The plan then is to swim to the island… and probably back to Portovenere, unless you find a cunning way to carry your belongings with you. So that you know, the distance between Portovenere and Palmaria is around 250 metres.
As for the hiking part: let’s meet at La Spezia at 10am (I know, it’s early, but there aren’t many alternatives, given the evening strike and the spooky 2016 train timetable) and head to Fezzano (by bus). From Fezzano, we’ll walk to the Jubilee cross, then we’ll move on to Sella di Derby and continue to Portovenere along one of the most beautiful Ligurian paths, the so called “infinite trail”, so as to finish the hike in Portovenere. The “infinite” trail probably owes its name to the fact that the alignment of Mt Muzzerone, Portovenere and the islands of Palmaria and Tino make the trail appear much longer (almost infinite) than it actually is. In truth, the walk from Fezzano to Sella di Derby should take 1 hour, while the trail to Portovenere will require 2 hours. Should we have some extra time, we might possibly throw in the lookout point called “Salto della suocera”, i.e. jump of the mother in law(!!), which – from the pictures – seems vaguely reminiscent of Norway’s Preikestolen.
First part of the hike is rated “T/E” (easy), while second part is “E” (medium).
You may read more about the Fezzano-Portovenere hike on:
– http://www.sentieridautore.it/sentieridautore.it/24.Portovenere.html (in Italian, with a beautiful map)
– http://www.comune.pisa.it/wwfpisa/Trekking/Gite2007/Portovenere.pdf (the whole hike map, we’ll actually start from Fezzano)
and about the train strike on:
How to get to La Spezia… and how to come back alive:
On Saturday, July 23rd, let’s meet at 10:00am outside of La Spezia Centrale railway station, near the red human pyramid monument (I do hope it’s still there!).
Suggested trains are:
IC 35505: Genova Piazza Principe 08:54 (Genova Brignole 09:02) La Spezia Centrale 10:04
From Pisa and Parma there should be one connection at least, from Milano you need to catch the 7am Thello train.
Return from Portovenere may be around 5pm.
For those who are catching IC or Freccia trains:
If you have a travel buddy, you should buy the “2×1” special ticket before midnight (11:59pm) of Thursday. It’s a buy 1 and get 1 free offer, so you’ll basically pay half price.
(*) For those who happen to be over 60 or under 26:
You can half price even without a travel buddy. Remember that you need to have a Cartafreccia card in order to use the junior/senior special offer (in the unlikely case that you don’t have a Cartafreccia card yet, let me know and I can send you an invitation… in which case we’ll both get a 10 euro coupon:-) )
As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)