how to hike the cinque terre with flip flops and a 5-year-old

First off, I should start by telling you that while we didn’t hike all five towns today, we did hike the most challenging stretch – between Monterosso (where we’re staying) and Vernazza. It’s just over 3 kilometers and is estimated to take 2 hours.

It took us 3.5*.

*Disclaimer: I was wearing flip flops and we had a 5-year-old in tow. I will also tell you that A) we had no idea how challenging this stretch of the hike was going to be and B) at the risk of bragging about our mini traveler, she knocked the socks off of dozens of passersby who looked at her in awe and at her parents in a slightly “what the hell are you doing to your kid” sort of way.

She totally earned her gelato, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s the how-to, step by step:

Step 1:
Take a nice picture at the start of your hike when your mini traveler is still fresh-faced and fully-dressed.

Steps 2 thru 27:
Five minutes after hike starts, begin alternating your answers between “not much longer”, “you’re doing great”, “stop complaining”, and “do you want a snack” when your mini traveler starts asking “How much further?”, “Can we go back?”, “I’m too hot”, and “I’m so tired”.

Step 28:
Take lots of breaks.

Step 29:
Stop often for your mini traveler to take pictures of flowers,
trees,
water,
bugs,
rocks,
her thumb,
and any and all other eye-catching items.

This step is crucial when trying to maintain sanity and keep up morale. Or, when trying to distract the mini from the daunting task at hand. It is also very rewarding when she utters things like, “oooooooh, this is soooooo beautiful” under her breath while concentrating on getting The Money Shot.

Steps 30 – 37:
Don’t forget the pep talks, especially on the precarious, rocky stairways. Ignore the fact that you feel like you might pass out yourself. Keep moving.

Step 38:
Stop for snacks. Especially sweet or salty snacks like these Half Pops. They didn’t pay me for this endorsement, but they’d be fools not to use this face in their advertising. And if you haven’t tried this yummy new treat, it’s like snack crack. Seriously.

Step 39:
Stop for trail-side, fresh-squeezed lemonade. Enjoy two sips and give the rest of yours to your mini traveler who has finished all of hers in one gulp.

Step 40:
Feed and pet the locals. Apply hand sanitizer. Repeat as necessary.

Step 41:
Stop to shed a few layers that your mini insisted on wearing. Insist in return on another picture as payment for your efforts.

Step 42:
Don’t forget to capture an “almost-there-and-we-mean-it-this-time” moment on camera. Lucky for all of you, they haven’t invented scratch-and-sniff photos yet. It wasn’t pretty.

Step 43:
Bask in the glory of arriving – finally!

Step 44:
Make concessions that you’d never allow at home.

Step 45:
Replenish the calories you burned. The salty olives totally restore your electrolytes.

Step 46:
Take more pictures.

Step 47:
Hike back take the train to your hotel.

Step 48:
Head straight to the beach.

Step 49:
Eat more gelato. Repeat as necessary.

In summary, we had a great day and the only thing on my to-do list is to kick my feet up with a glass of vino.

What’s your favorite gelato or ice cream flavor? I’d love to hear from you!

21 thoughts on “how to hike the cinque terre with flip flops and a 5-year-old

  1. This is the cheapest vacation I’ve ever taken. I LOVE my daily check-in with the travelers! Can’t wait for the pics and more stories when you return 🙂

  2. We vacationed in Italy in 2007 and loved our time in Vernazza. My favorite gelato flavor was crema and blood orange. Delicious!

  3. I could not stop laughing! This is greatness Melissa. And pistachio is my favorite gelato, next to coconut … and next to amaretto.

  4. LOVE the final hike view…wow! And petting the strange cat 😉 Tee hee! Here in nola we have a local ice cream parlor that makes local orginals such as “Chocwork Orange” (my favorite) and “Creole Cream Cheese” (a close 2nd). People think I have a cute baby belly…its all ice cream!

  5. Pretty much one of my favorite places on earth!! I remember seeing a few local women making the hike in heels – good choice to at least have flip flops! 🙂 What a trooper Olivia is!! Pistachio wins it for me.

  6. Great stuff ML! 🙂 And I like all of the fruity gelatos (technically sorbettos?) The cantaloupe really tastes like cantaloupe! And the kiwi really tastes like kiwi! Amazing.

  7. Pingback: fridays with gladys and a FREE GIVEAWAY!!!! | begin from here.

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