An 18km loop trail, from Torriglia to the Pentema Xmas crib

It took us more than just a stroll to reach Pentema: we hiked 18km in order to complete the Torriglia loop with Pentema detour, it’s no wonder that the Genovese regard the little town as a remote place, that’s almost at the edge of the world. But then,it was all worth it! and, despite what the Genovese may say, we were happy to go to… Pentema (and discover its gigantic Xmas crib)

As for the hike: we met some snow and had some slips, but in general coped well with the turned-to-white trail; once in Pentema, we took plenty of time to drink mulled wine and explore all houses of the village: they were open for visitors, as they showed scenes from everyday life at the end of the XIX century (some actually were slightly creepy, we easily dismissed the idea of spending the night there!); the 2nd part of the Torriglia loop offered some incredible 360 degree views over hills, snow capped mountains and the sea; and, from the Donetta hills, we could also make out the village of Pentema, which looked like a toy village.

Going to Pentema took some effort, but we were rewarded by a picturesque town

From Riomaggiore to Manarola, via Montenero

Tradition has it that, at the end of the year, we have a hike to the lit Xmas crib of Manarola. 2015 was no exception to the rule, we walked along the Riomaggiore-Montenero-Manarola route. The shrine of Montenero provided us with a wonderful lunch spot, from which to observe the Ligurian coast from Punta Mesco to Palmaria; the weather was cloudy, but the clouds occasionally gave way to some enchanting sun spells. The new vineyard path of Costa Corniolo allowed us to walk just above the Nativity scene hill of Manarola (and newcomers Eva and Sarah, who was celebrating her 3rd birthday,seemed to enjoy it). The descent to Manarola was steep and a bit rough on the knees… but we arrived down safely and could fully enjoy the light show with no worries, apart from those menacing signs at the train station (beware Ale of pickpockets! :-D)

Hiking to a lit Xmas crib in 5 Terre

From Acquasanta up to Cappella Baiarda and down to the shrine

Hiking from Acquasanta up to Cappella Baiarda featured plenty of sunshine, memorable group pictures, a mystical tree that filled us all with zen spirit, a few jaw-dropping views and plenty of sheep watching us. As for the way down to the shrine, uhm, could it possibly have been one of 5 deadly hikes in the history of the group? For sure, getting hit by a falling tree was something I didn’t quite expect. But then, after witnessing people getting sucked into a pit of brambles (#4 Rapallo-Montallegro), missing chains (#3 Cala degli Inglesi), slipping on the ice/losing their nails/lowering themselves down in a snow gorge to save a fallen hiking stick (#2: Crocetta Orero-Busalletta) and fleeing a shower of thunderbolts (#1: Mt Rossola, ), I should not be surprised. But all’s well that ends well, and I’m glad that the “recovery rate” is always high! 🙂

PS: and we could even gain 9 years of indulgence! if we recited a Pater Ave Gloria on each step of the Holy Stairs to the shrine

A mystic hike in Acquasanta