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Saturday, 25th May 2019:

Sestri Levante

It appeared like yet another cold and rainy weekend was in store for us, but today’s abrupt change in the weather forecast calls for a hike! Apparently, it will be a sunny Saturday over Liguria, so shall we have a short hike? If you’re voting for the European elections on Sunday, you may even benefit from train tickets with a 70% discount.

Since we haven’t hiked for a while, the idea is to start with an easy yet panoramic hike: the trail from Sestri Levante to Punta Manara is a Ligurian classic that usually pleases everyone. It’s also the hike that started it all, 9 years ago, when this group was founded. It’s short and relaxing, yet it can be turned into a longer path by adding a detour to Monte Castello (the highest point on the Manara headland) and a detour to Ciappa del Lupo (the stone of the wolf, i.e. a flat cliff barely above sea level).

Hike is rated as “T” (easy) and should take 2 hours, with an elevation gain of only 200 metres (and yet, the height gain should be enough to have outstanding views over the Ligurian coast). The detour to Monte Castello is T/E (easy/medium) and will add an extra half hour, while the optional detour to Ciappa del Lupo is considered E/EE (medium/hard, but I’ve never done it) and would require an extra hour.

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How to get to Sestri Levante, and how to come back alive:

Let’s meet at Sestri Levante at 11:30 am. Recommended trains are:

Sa, 25.05.2019

— if you travel eastwards
Reg 32529
10:11 Genova Piazza Principe
(10:20 Genova Brignole)
11:28 Sestri Levante

— if you travel westwards
Reg 24452
10:15 La Spezia Centrale
11:19 Sestri Levante

— if you travel southwards
Milano Lambrate 8:37
(Milano Rogoredo 8:44)
(3 trains!)
Sestri Levante 11:34

Return may be around 5pm.

If you’re voting on Sunday, remember to bring your election card: you can get 60%/70% off your train ticket back to your hometown ( https://www.trenitalia.com/it/informazioni/elettori.html ). You’ll actually need to buy a roundtrip ticket, which means that you’ll either waste the second ticket or you’ll come back to Liguria next week (actually, not a bad option: we might be having our first hike&swim!).

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You may read more about the hike:
http://escursionialevante.blogspot.com/2009/02/il-piccolo-anello-di-punta-manara.html (in italiano)
http://www.natura2000liguria.it/sic73/itinerario1.htm (in italiano)
http://cralgalliera.altervista.org/SestriLevPuntaManaraCiappaLupo017.pdf

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As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to write me (at vidlothianATgmailDOTcom) or call me (at +39 329 7203364)

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Saturday, December 15th 2018:

Riomaggiore

After last year’s break, for visiting the Presepe del Bronzin, shall we return to Cinque Terre, for the end-of-year hike? Needless to say, the idea is to walk to the lit Xmas crib in Manarola.

Once again, it has to be a Saturday hike, as the weather forecast is considerably better. Finding a trail that we have not done yet becomes harder every year, since we pretty much tried all coastal trails between Monterosso and Riomaggiore (except for Corniglia-Manarola, which I’ve never seen open in over 10 years), as well as most of the red trail, that runs along the ridge between sea and inland. However, there’s still one segment we’re missing, and it might be worth exploring: the red trail between Forte Bramapane and Sella La Croce. The path initially features a bunch of stairs (that go by the name of holy stairs, as they were part of a pilgrimage trail), but, after some huffing and puffing, it should also offer plenty of views from its lookout points of Forte Bramapane (the ruins of a XIX century fort), the abandoned Schiappacasse cave and the Madonna di Montenero shrine.

Trail is rated as E (medium) and should take 3.5 hours, with 600 metres of elevation gain. As usual, the idea is to arrive to Manarola in the late afternoon, so as to admire the sunset first, from behind the Hill of Three Crosses, and then the lit Xmas crib. For those who yet don’t know it, the lit Xmas crib of Manarola features thousands of light bulbs, that every December are placed on a hill. They are part of a gigantic Nativity scene, that for the past 54 years has been patiently laid on the hill of the Three Crosses, thanks to the outstanding efforts of now 90-year old Mario Andreoli.

You may read more about the trail on:
http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.cinque.terre/iti_dettaglio.php?id_iti=3583 (in Italian)
http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.cinque.terre/iti_dettaglio.php?id_iti=3518 (in Italian)
http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.cinque.terre/iti_dettaglio.php?id_iti=3580 (in Italian)

and about the Xmas crib on:
http://www.turismo.it/il-luogo-del-giorno/articolo/art/manarola-il-presepe-pi-grande-del-mondo-eco-id-10109/

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

Let’s meet at 11:34 at Riomaggiore railway station.

Recommended trains are:

» For those travelling eastwards:

IC 1533 (*) Genova Piazza Principe 9:47 (Genova Brignole 9:56) Levanto 10:58
+
REG 24459 11:15 Levanto – 11:34 Riomaggiore

or (but it’s considerably longer!)
REG 2181 + 24459 Genova Piazza Principe 9:11 – 11:34 Riomaggiore

» For those travelling westwards:

Reg 24454
La Spezia 11:15 – Riomaggiore 11:23

» For those travelling southwards:

IC 1533 (*)
08:10 Milano Centrale – 10:58 Levanto
+
REG 24459 11:15 Levanto – 11:34 Riomaggiore

Return from Manarola will be around 5:30 pm.

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(*) 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. On Friday, you may still get the “Insieme” fare (which is more or less a 3×2)

If you’re younger than 30 or older than 60, you can have 30% off, provided you 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 Friday).

********************************
As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to write me (at vidlothianATgmailDOTcom) or call me (at +39 329 7203364)

next hike

Saturday, 1st December 2018

Rapallo

Since the Manarola Xmas crib is not ready yet, let’s have a hike in the middle of the Levante coast, before moving to the Spezia province 2 weeks from now. For the penultimate hike of the year, I suggest doing the trail of the 2 Gulfs from Ruta to Passo Serra (with Manico del Lume acting as possible bonus hike): it should suit both those who enjoy a relaxing hike and those who seek adventure.

We know the first part quite well: from the Millennium Church of Ruta to Passo del Gallo the trail is easy/medium, features 250 metres of elevation gain and offers inviting green meadows and memorable views over both the Paradise Gulf and the Tigullio Gulf.
From Passo del Gallo to Passo Serra, it’s mystery: from what I read, the trail is narrow but not tough (medium difficulty), with views over the sea between Portofino and Punta Manara.. and possibly some goats. From Passo Serra, we’ll head down to Rapallo, via Chignero and Sant’Andrea di Foggia.

And that’s for the basic hike. Needless to say, it would be a crime not to at least consider reaching Manico del Lume, from Passo Serra. Some of you might remember it from last year (or 4 years ago), as getting there meant facing a fun, albeit challenging, narrow trail secured with chains, followed by the satisfaction of conquering an extraordinary lookout point. Few Ligurian mountains do get as panoramic as the 800mt “Candle Handle”.

Overall, hike is rated as E (medium), with 400 metres elevation gain, however it becomes EE (hard), with 200 extra metres of elevation gain, should we find the time and will to do the Manico del Lume bonus hike.

You may read more about the hike on:
http://web.infinito.it/utenti/s/sercas/cdl/mare/rapallo.htm (trail 505)
https://montiliguri.weebly.com/ruta-lume.html

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

On Saturday, December 1, let’s meet at 10:40 at the entrance of Rapallo train station. From there, we’ll take the 11:05 bus to Ruta (if something goes wrong with trains, there are also other buses to San Pietro di Novella, but I would prefer Ruta as it allows us to start from a height of 250 metres instead of just 50)

Suggested trains are:

* for those travelling from Genova *

Regionale 24529
Genova Piazza Principe 09:11 (Genova Brignole 9:20) Rapallo 10:06
or
IC 1533 (**)
Genova Principe 09:47 (Genova Brignole 9:56) Rapallo 10:19

* for those travelling westwards *

Regionale 11368
La Spezia 09:50 Rapallo 10:41

* for those travelling southwards *

IC 1533 (**)
Milano Centrale 08:10 Rapallo 10:19

We’ll then catch the 11:05 bus from Rapallo to Ruta:
https://www.atpesercizio.it/Orari201811271103/orari_TOC/pagina.38_fer_ar.pdf

Return will be from Rapallo, after 6:30pm.

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(**) For those who are catching IC trains:

If you have a travel buddy, you should buy the “2×1” ticket before midnight (11:59pm) of Thursday.

If you’re younger than 30 or older than 60, you can have 30% off, provided you 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 Friday).

********************************
As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to write me (at vidlothianATgmailDOTcom) or call me (at +39 329 7203364)

next hike

Saturday, 17th November 2018

Sori

It seems like we have a sunny weekend ahead of us: is anyone up for a Saturday walk in the land that’s famous for its pesto, for the sunsets and for being the home town of Picasso’s family?

The plan is to head to Sori and do a loop hike across its many hamlets, all the way to the water mill of Fulle and back: the trail starts with the panoramic trail of the shrines, featuring the lookout points of S.Apollinare and S.Uberto (as well as the statue of Christ with a tilted cross); from S.Uberto, we’ll take the trails leading to the hamlets of S.Bartolomeo, the quaint town of Capreno and ultimately reaching the Fulle watermill, one of the oldest watermills that’s still working (see http://www.paesiabbandonati.it/2018/01/mulino-di-fulle-sori-ge.html )

Hike is labelled as T/E (easy/medium), is 8 km long and has a vertical gain of 500 metres. Overall, it should take us 3/4 hours to complete the loop.

You may read more about the hike on:
https://www.nakture.com/anello-recco-redentore/ (the first 2 churches)
http://www.agenziadisviluppogalgenovese.com/news/359/file/GP_descrizione_sentieri_confoto.pdf (a bit of trails 6-7-11)
and about the hamlets on:
http://www.prolocosori.it/index.php/le-frazioni

Return from Sori will be around 5pm.

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How to get to Sori, and how to come back alive:
Let’s meet at 11:32 at the entrance of Sori train station.

Suggested trains (*) are:

If you are travelling eastwards:

Reg 11239 – 10:40 Genova Piazza Principe (Genova Brignole 10:50) Sori 11:17

If you are travelling westwards:

REG 11368 + 11244 / 09:50 La Spezia Centrale – Sori 11:32

If you are travelling southwards:

REG 2175+11239 08:30 Milano Centrale (08:37 Lambrate 08:44 Rogoredo) Sori 11:17

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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.
Alternatively, there’s the Insieme fare, that’s bookable before 11:59pm of Friday

*********************************
(**) For those who happen to be over 60 or under 30:

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:-) ). 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/call me at +39 329 7203364

next hike

Saturday, 6th October 2018

Moneglia

To hike or not to hike? This weekend we have a rather tricky hamlet-like question, as it’s not certain yet what the weather will be like. According to the latest forecast (by 3bmeteo, ilmeteo, meteoam,meteoliguria and meteocentrale), the weather should range from cloudy with some drizzle to cloudy with sun spells. Not too hideous! So I would gamble in favour of hiking, moreover as on Saturday the last of big yearly festivals takes
place in Bonassola: for those who never witnessed it, the Madonna del Rosario festival ( http://www.infobonassola.com/ ) is a visual treat, since it involves candles on the sea and a firework show, and usually is not so crowded, so it should be possible to comfortably watch it from the beach.

The idea for the hike is to walk from Moneglia to Deiva Marina, since we haven’t been there for ages.

We’ll follow the classic blue trail, that’s also described on: https://www.girovagandoconstefania.it/2018/01/trekking-sul-sentiero-moneglia-deiva-marina-framura.html

but, since we like to discover new things, we’ll add a variant that
we never tried. We can choose between two possible bonus hikes:
– the trail of the cork trees (+30 minutes, see http://www.natura2000liguria.it/sic80/itinerario5.htm )
– the trail to the ancient town of Mezzema, that existed since Charlemagne and has a rich history with some fun facts
(+90 minutes, see last link on https://www.prolocodeivamarina.it/trekking-deiva-marina/ and
http://www.ilsecoloxix.it/p/la_spezia/2011/07/27/AOdcjho-pasionaria_zittite_indagata.shtml)

Total hiking time is approx 2,5 hours + bonus hike time , vertical gain
is around 400 metres, trail is rated as T/E (easy/medium)

By 4 or 5pm we’ll likely be in Deiva Marina, where we could possibly have a swim before getting back home or heading on to Bonassola for the evening festival ( http://www.infobonassola.com and
http://www.mentelocale.it/la-spezia/eventi/57908-festa-della-madonna-del-rosario-di-bonassola.htm )

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

On Saturday, 6th October, let’s meet at 11:05 at the entrance of
Moneglia railway station. Before hiking, we might also be able to visit the Villafranca castle, as it’s near the beginning of the trail and appears to be open to the public ( http://www.culturainliguria.it/cultura/it/Temi/Luoghivisita/architetture.do;jsessionid=9C51760553F4EAC2055B0586DE41FA19.node3?contentId=27458&localita=2122&area=210 )

Suggested trains are:

If you are travelling eastwards:

REG 2181 09:11 Genova Piazza Principe (09:20 Genova Brignole) 10:28 Sestri Levante
+
REG 24459 10:41 Sestri Levante – Moneglia 10:50

If you are travelling westwards:

REG 24452 – 10:15 La Spezia 11:05 Moneglia

If you are travelling southwards:

REG 2181 07:25 Milano Centrale (07:32 Lambrate 07:38 Rogoredo) 10:28
Sestri Levante
+
REG 24459 10:41 Sestri Levante – Moneglia 10:50

Or you can catch the 8:10 IC train from Milano Centrale to Sestri
Levante, with a 2×1 ticket (*)

********************************

(*) 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 30:

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

********************************
As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel
free to text/call me at +39 329 7203364

next hike

Saturday, 15th September 2018

La Spezia

The summer holidays and the Recco celebrations may be over, but a potentially interesting event is happening this weekend, as the far-east side of Liguria gets ready to celebrate San Venerio, patron of lighthouses. Venerio, a hermit who was born on the island of Palmaria some 1500 years ago and spent his last years on the island of Tino, lighting fires at night to provide sailors with a reference point, celebrates his name day on September 13th. Because of that, Tino (which normally is off-limits as it’s a military base) is open to the public on the weekend following September 13.

Shall we seize the chance and visit it? I doubt there will be much hiking to do: since it’s a really tiny island, I read that the whole loop takes… 40 minutes. On the other hand, with a (visitable) lighthouse on top and two lookout points with 360 degree views over the sea, there should be enough ingredients to make this trip rewarding.

You may read about Tino island on:

https://www.magpedia.com/it/tempo-libero/isola-del-tino-visitare-escursione/
http://www.verdeazzurroligure.com/index_htm_files/09l-Isole%20del%20golfo%20new.pdf
https://www.gazzettadellaspezia.it/cultura/item/89096-la-marina-militare-partecipa-alle-celebrazioni-in-onore-di-san-venerio

Will it be possible to swim? From the very few clues availables, it seems so!

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How to get to Tino island… and how to come back alive:

On Saturday, 15th September, the idea is to catch the 10:40 ferry from La Spezia to Tino island. Should that fail, there’s also one at 11:50. Should the situation be chaotic (i.e. if there are legendary queues, because the whole city of La Spezia wishes to go to Tino island) we might consider catching a ferry to Palmaria Island and having a hike on Palmaria instead (in which case, the hike will be much more demanding… although still fairly easy and definitely fulfilling)

*** getting to La Spezia ***

Suggested trains are:

IC 35505: 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 hop aboard the 6:30 regional train (the Thello train is a bit risky) in order to catch the connecting train at Genova Principe.

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 30:

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:-) ). Also, ticket should be booked before 11:59 of Friday.
********************************
As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text/call me at +39 329 7203364

next hike (2/2)

Sunday, 5th August 2018

Camogli

Wrapping up season #8 of the Ligurian hikes is the Stella Maris, the event that sees countless candles being placed on the sea, as a token of gratitude to the Star of the Sea, i.e. the Madonna that protects fishermen when they sail out of Camogli.
Since most of the festival takes place in the evening, I suggest meeting in the afternoon, at 3pm at Camogli station. From there, we’ll take the classic loop that leads to Punta Chiappa and the altar of the Stella Maris.
Hike takes around 2,5 hours (1,5 hours for going, 1 for coming back), it’s T/E (easy-medium) for going and T (easy) for coming back and is well described on:
https://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/it/da-camogli-o-san-rocco/22-camogli-san-rocco-punta-chiappa.html (the way back; for going, we’ll walk via Guardia, as it’s visually more rewarding)

You may read more about the festival on:
http://expatinitaly.com/stella-maris-in-camogli/

Unlike Saturday, you won’t need to bring much water, as there’s plenty of water taps along the way.
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How to get to Camogli, and how to come back alive:

On Sunday, 5th August, let’s meet at 15:00 opposite the entrance of Camogli railway station (under the relief of the Madonna with Child)

Suggested trains are:

If you are travelling eastwards:

either
REG 25731 14:10 Genova Piazza Principe
(14:19 Genova Brignole)
14:56 Camogli-S. Fruttuoso

If you are travelling westwards:

Reg 25714 + Reg 25716 La Spezia 13:38 – Camogli-S. Fruttuoso 14:59

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(*) For those who are catching IC or Freccia trains:

If you have a travel buddy, you can have 30% off by buying the “Insieme” special ticket before midnight (11:59pm) of Friday.

*********************************
(*) For those who happen to be over 60 or under 30:

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, please use AMICO110423712 as referral code when signing up… and we’ll both get a 10 euro coupon:-) ). Also, ticket should be booked before 11:59 of Saturday.

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