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:
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”.
Take lots of breaks.
Stop often for your mini traveler to take pictures of flowers,
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.
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.
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.
Feed and pet the locals. Apply hand sanitizer. Repeat as necessary.
Stop to shed a few layers that your mini insisted on wearing. Insist in return on another picture as payment for your efforts.
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.
Bask in the glory of arriving – finally!
Make concessions that you’d never allow at home.
Replenish the calories you burned. The salty olives totally restore your electrolytes.
Take more pictures.
Hike back take the train to your hotel.
Head straight to the beach.
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!