next hike

Saturday, 29th July 2017:

Camogli

Something’s fishy in Portofino Park: rumours have it that the Santa fried fish festival will take place this Saturday, courtesy of the fishermen guild of S.Erasmo. Can we possibly say no to a nice dish of fish?

Of course we can’t! so how about wrapping up season #7 of the Ligurian hikes with a walk from Camogli to S.Margherita Ligure?
The idea is to take a path similar to last year, yet a bit different. We’ll first follow the coast, so as to swim in one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots in Liguria: Punta Chiappa. Following the swim and lunch break, we’ll move on to Batterie and up to Guardia, we’ll tread the very scenic trail leading to Buca dei Corvi and Bocche, before heading down to Santa Margherita, in time for the fish festival.

First part of hike is rated as T/E (easy/medium), takes around 1 hour and has 250 metres of elevation gain. Second part is E (medium) and requires slightly less than 3 hours. We’ll likely reach S.Margherita around 5:30pm, in time for the fish festival (which starts at 6pm).

You may read more about the trails on:
http://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/gb/trail-map/2-san-rocco-punta-chiappa.html (first part, in scary English)
http://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/gb/from-santa-margherita-ligure/66-santa-margherita-ligure-camogli.html (second part, again in scary English)
http://www.nonsolotigullio.com/eventi_tigullio/25134__Sagra_del_Fritto_e_Gara_del_pesto/ (the final part)

If you come at 11am, please bring some food and water with you! Of course, if you come from Milano you’ll have plenty of time in Camogli, to wander around and get some focaccia.

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How to get to Camogli, and how to come back alive:

Let’s meet at 10:59am, at the entrance of Camogli train station. More precisely, we could meet under the “Madonna with Child” relief that’s on the wall opposite the train station entrance.

Recommended trains are (*):

– if you travel eastwards

REG 24529
Genova P.Principe 10:10
(Genova Brignole 10:20)
Camogli-S.Fruttuoso 10:59

– if you travel westwards:

REG 24514
09:27 Sestri Levante
09:59 Camogli-S. Fruttuoso

(if you come from La Spezia, there should be a train at 8:15; if you come from Pisa and arrive later, you might want to skip the first part of the hike and take a boat from Camogli to Punta Chiappa)

– If you travel southwards:

(the much dreaded) REG 33185
Milano Centrale 07:25
(Milano Lambrate 07:32)
Camogli-S. Fruttuoso 09:59

Return will be from S.Margherita Ligure, somewhere around 6 or 7pm.

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(*) 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.

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(*) For those who happen to be over 60 or under 26:

You can have 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:-) )

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As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)

next hike

Saturday, 22nd July 2017:

La Spezia

August may be getting closer, but we can’t possibly go on holiday before having two more hikes: kicking off what will most likely be a double Saturday of hiking (this Saturday for swimming, next week for the fish) is the “piscina naturale” event which, as every year at this time, takes place in Portovenere. The idea, of course, is to follow a trail leading to the infinite trail, then head down to Portovenere and swim to Palmaria island.

For the uninitiated: this Saturday’s big event consists in 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 and waterproof 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) and head to Marola (by bus). From Marola, we’ll hike up to the shelter, that offers views both of the Ligurian sea and the Spezia gulf. We’ll then move down to Campiglia 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 Marola to Bocca del Cavalin should take 1,5 hours, while the trail to Portovenere requires 2 hours. Should we have some extra time, we might possibly have a short detour to the lookout point called “Salto della suocera”, i.e. jump of the mother in law(!!), which is a cliff falling in a sheer drop into the Ligurian Sea (think of a Ligurian version of Norway’s Pulpit Rock)

First part of the hike is rated “T/E” (easy), while second part is “E” (medium).

You may read more about the Infinite trail on:
– http://www.sentieridautore.it/sentieridautore.it/24.Portovenere.html (in Italian, with a beautiful map)

and about Piscina Naturale on:
http://cinqueterreandbeyond.com/it/piscina-naturale-di-portovenere-2017-il-22-luglio-alle-15-via-ai-tuffi/
(apparently, the volume of the music will be lower this year… which would not be a bad idea!)

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How to get to La Spezia… and how to come back alive:

On Saturday, July 22nd, let’s meet at 10:00am outside La Spezia Centrale railway station, near the red human pyramid monument (I do hope it’s still there! if not, let’s just meet at the entrance of the station).

Suggested trains are:

IC 505: Genova Piazza Principe 08:51 (Genova Brignole 09:00) La Spezia Centrale 10:04 (*)

From Pisa and Parma there should be one connection at least, from Milano you’ll need to catch the 7am Thello train.

There’s plenty of trains back from La Spezia. If you come from afar, don’t forget there’s the 2×1 ticket! (if you plan on swimming or sightseeing in Portovenere, you should book a train after 6pm)

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(*) 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:-) ). Also, ticket should be booked before 11:59 of Friday.

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As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)

next hike

Sunday, 2nd July 2017:

Rapallo

*** update ***

The firework show has been postponed ( http://www.festediluglio.it/2017/06/30/rinvio-spettacoli-pirotecnici/ ) due to the rough sea, sad but true! This means that our Sunday hike will be accompanied only by firecrackers, but none of those wonderful fireworks for which the Montallegro festival is famous. For those living in Liguria, you can catch the fireworks on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night.

**********

As usual, it’s that time of the year when Rapallo gets ready to celebrate the anniversary of the apparition of Mary (on the Montallegro hills) with paintings on the ground and a colorful array of fireworks in the sky, both at day and at night. Shall we renew our tradition of hiking on a trail leading to the Montallegro shrine?

Since it shouldn’t be too hot and we haven’t treaded it for 6 years, I suggest hiking along a loop from Rapallo to Montallegro and back, following the pilgrim path on the way up and the diamond trail on the way down. This will allow us to see the midday fireworks while we’re going up and have our (more or less) secluded beach at the end of the hike (Pozzetto, on the borders between Rapallo and Zoagli).

Veterans of this group might remember this as one of five deadliest hikes in our history: the diamond-marked trail was in such bad conditions 6 years ago, that we had to fight our way through the brambles. Nowadays, I believe the path can be walked safely, since a few websites report it as being clean and even suitable for children of 7 years.

Highlights of the hike include: the Montallegro shrine, featuring the Byzantine portrait that the Virgin Mary herself supposedly gave to a peasant on July 2nd 1557, and is behind all celebrations; the S.Ambrogio shrine, which offers an impressive lookout point as well as fountain.

You may read more about the festival on:

http://www.festediluglio.it/
or
http://www.levantenews.it/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/LUGLIO-2.jpg

As for the hike, it has 650 metres of elevation gain, it should take 3,5 hours and I would say it has E (medium) difficulty (given the trouble we had 6 years ago). For more info, you can refer to:
http://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/it/da-rapallo/46-rapallo-sant-ambrogio-montallegro-rapallo.html
or
http://www.xinformare.org/xinformare_percorsi/schede.php?name=rap_ambrogio_mont

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How to get to Rapallo, and how to come back alive:

On Sunday, July 2nd, let’s meet at the main entrance of Rapallo train station at 11:05. We’ll then walk to the opposite side of the station, since the trail starts from there.

Suggested trains are:

— if you travel eastwards

REG 24499 – 10:05 Genova Brignole – 10:53 Rapallo

(or the treno del mare from Milano)

— if you travel westwards

REG 11368 – 09:50 La Spezia Centrale – 10:41 Rapallo

— if you travel southwards (*)(**)
IC 1533 – 08:10 Milano Centrale – 10:19 Rapallo
or
REG 1731 (treno mare) – 8:26 Milano Lambrate – 11:04 Rapallo

Return will be from Rapallo, feel free to choose any train from 6pm to midnight: if you wish to stay for the firework show, it’s at 11pm

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(*) If you catch the IC train, there’s the Special 3×2 offer, provided you buy the ticket before 23:59 of Friday

(**) If you’re younger than 26 (i.e. if you’re at most 25 year + 364 days old) or older than 60, you should be eligible to have a 30% discount, if you catch the IC train and registered to the (free) Cartafreccia program. In case you haven’t registered yet, send me a message and I can send you an invitation (of course, you can also register on your own… but an invitation would grant us both a 10 euro voucher 🙂
In order to get the discount, remember to buy the ticket before 23:59 of Saturday.

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As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)

next hike

Sunday, 18th June 2017:

Levanto

As the Montallegro festival (2 weeks from now) makes it impossible to alternate hiking weekends, let’s have a second consecutive hike&swim, and take a break next week. Besides, the summer heat calls for some more swimming! and, when swimming is the goal, is there any better place than Framura?

The idea is to meetup, shortly after 11am, at the train station of Levanto: from there we’ll either take the pedestrian tunnel or the panoramic path that crosses the Francesca resort (if the resort doesn’t complain) and leads to Bonassola.

Once we’re in Bonassola, we can check out what they are doing (according to their website, special celebrations will be held for the Corpus Domini) before moving on to the village of Montaretto (where supposedly the gattafin festival takes place this weekend. For those who didn’t know it yet, the gattafin are herb-filled fried ravioli, that can only be found in the Levanto region: since we’ll arrive before the party begins, will we succeed in convincing them to make some gattafin for us? ).

After Montaretto we’ll reconnect to trail #1 and walk on until Framura. Trail is rated as T/E (easy/medium) and should feature enough water taps to quench everyone’s thirst; it is well described on http://www.comune.bonassola.sp.it/c011005/zf/index.php/servizi-aggiuntivi/index/index/idtesto/34

Total hiking time is approx 3,5 hours, vertical gain is around 300 metres.

By 4pm we’ll likely be in Framura, where we can either swim in the snorkeling paradise of Porto Pidocchio or have a swim&beer at the beach of Torsei, just below the train station..

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How to get to Levanto, and how to come back alive:

On Sunday, 18th June, let’s meet at Levanto train station at 11:14 am.

Recommended trains are:

* if you travel eastwards

REG 2181: Genova Piazza Principe 09:11 (Genova Brignole 09:20) Sestri Levante 10:28
+
REG 24459: Sestri Levante 10:41 Levanto 11:14

or

IC 1533 (***) (**): Genova Piazza Principe 9:47 (Genova Brignole 9:56) Levanto 10:58

——–

* if you travel westwards

REG 24452: La Spezia Centrale 10:15 Levanto 10:44

——–

* if you travel southwards:

IC 1533 (***) (**)
08:10 Milano Centrale – 10:58 Levanto

———-

Return will be from Framura station, around 6pm.

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For those who are catching IC trains:
(***) just this Sunday, there will be the Special 2×1 offer, provided you buy the ticket before 23:59 of Friday

(**) If you’re younger than 26 (i.e. if you’re at most 25 year + 364 days old) or older than 60, you should be eligible to have a 30% discount, if you catch the IC train and registered to the (free) Cartafreccia program. In case you haven’t registered yet, send me a message and I can send you an invitation (of course, you can also register on your own… but an invitation would grant us both a 10 euro voucher 🙂 )
In order to get the discount, remember to buy the ticket before 23:59 of Saturday.

********************************
As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)

next hike

Sunday, 11th June 2017:

Moneglia

Now that both the weather and the sea are pleasantly warm, who’s up for returning to the emerald waters of the secluded craggy coast of Valletta (Moneglia)?

Reaching Valletta is not straightforward, as it involves a T/E (easy/medium) hike, with 350 metres of elevation gain. It takes around 2,5 hours for the complete loop from the town of Moneglia and back. Plus one hour of bonus hike, should we want to reach the cross and votive stone of Mt Comunaglia (and we should, since we never made it up there, and they barely require a bonus hike with 50 metres of vertical gain)

You may read more about the hike on:
http://www.vannacalzature.it/Itinerari_paesaggistici/Valletta_terra.htm
http://www.vannacalzature.it/Itinerari_paesaggistici/Cresta_Comunaglia-Monte_Comunaglia.htm

While the trail is relatively easy, getting to swim is trickier, as it involves either performing a dive from a certain height or doing some climbing (nothing arduous, you just need to be a bit careful on the rocks)

As for the way back to Moneglia, since we should have plenty of time I suggest taking the safer path under the shade of the woods, rather than outrunning the cars(!) like last time.
It should be feasible to catch any train from Moneglia, starting from the 5:30pm Treno del Mare.

Since one of issues we’ve had with this hike in the past is thirst, please remember to bring enough water with you! Also, goggles or a snorkeling mask might come in handy, as we noticed that not just the humans, but also jellyfish and urchins love Valletta.

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How to get to Moneglia, and how to come back alive:

Let’s meet at 11:50 on Sunday, at the entrance of Moneglia train station.

If you travel eastwards, we recommend:

REG1731* (treno del mare): Genova Piazza Principe 10:24 (Genova Brignole 10:32) Sestri Levante 11:28
+
REG24461: Sestri Levante 11:41 – Moneglia 11:50

* if the train is too crowded and you’re leaving from Genova Brignole, you may also take train 11367, which departs from Brignole at 10:45 and arrives at Sestri Levante just before the next train to Moneglia

If you travel westwards:

Regionale 24490

REG24452: 10:15 La Spezia Centrale – 11:05 Moneglia

If you travel southwards:

REG1731: Milano Lambrate 8:26 – Sestri Levante 11:28
+
REG24461: Sestri Levante 11:41 – Moneglia 11:50

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As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)

next hike

Saturday, May 13th 2017:

 
S.Margherita Ligure


Once again, it’s that time of the year when Camogli celebrates St.Fortunato, by offering a sizzling show on Saturday and fried fish on Sunday. Since the visually entertaining bits are all on Saturday, let’s pick it as hiking day. Two big statues, made of wooden junk, will be brought to the shore and burnt at the stake. There will be a procession, with people carrying the ark of S.Fortunato across town… and plenty of fireworks (otherwise it wouldn’t be a Ligurian festival!).

As for the hike, I propose walking from S.Margherita Ligure to Camogli, via Frate and Porcile, as it would allow us to discover two less beaten trails (Pietre Strette-Porcile and Frate-Bocche) as well as enough lookout points (at Gave, Bocche and the Rock of the Hawks). Also, at the start of the hike we should also be able to see the red carpet that made the headlines 10 days ago, as it was laid from Rapallo to Portofino and, with 8km of length, is now supposedly the longest carpet in the world.

Once we reach “Paradiso”, we can choose between walking to Camogli via Ruta or S.Rocco. Will the sea be warm enough to have a swim? Maybe not, but we can keep an eye on the sea temperature and decide later!

You may read more about the hike on:
http://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/gb/from-santa-margherita-ligure/66-santa-margherita-ligure-camogli.html
http://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/gb/from-paraggi/32-paraggi-valle-dei-mulini-olmi-crocetta-gave-paraggi.html

about the red carpet on:
http://www.lastampa.it/2017/04/30/societa/e-ora-tutti-in-passerella-nasce-il-red-carpet-da-rapallo-a-portofino-yFzWFdLg4goWQf67prSQwJ/premium.html

and about the festival on:
http://www.camogliedintorni.it/Falò.html

Overall, hike should take around 3,5 hours, has 500 mt of vertical gain and is rated as T/E (easy/medium).

Return will be from Camogli. We’ll probably arrive there around 5pm. Needless to say, if you plan to watch the fireworks and the burning of the statues, you might want to stay until 11pm or midnight.

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How to get to S.Margherita Ligure, and how to come back alive:

On Saturday, May 13th, let’s meet at 11:04 am at the entrance of S.Margherita Ligure railway station (by the infamous taxi telephone)

Suggested trains are:

– if you’re travelling eastwards

REG 24529: 10:10 Genova Piazza Principe – 11:04 S. Margherita Ligure-Portofino

– if you’re travelling westwards

REG 11368: 09:50 La Spezia Centrale – 10:45 S. Margherita Ligure-Portofino

– if you’re travelling southwards

IC 1533: Milano Centrale 08:10 – S. Margherita Ligure 10:14 (*)

or

REG 2181: Milano Centrale 07:25 ( Milano Lambrate 07:32) S. Margherita Ligure-Portofino 10:01

****************************************
(*) For those who are catching IC 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.

***************************************
As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)