Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hiking the Ligurian Coast: Chiavari -> Sestri Levante

A good day to not be wearing shorts.

Start with a train to Lavagna to skip a section that is supposedly uninteresting. In Lavagna up out of town on a nice narrow path through olive trees and low-scrub (yay, no shorts!). Up and up with progressively better views. Lots of flowers and things that go jab in the legs. At the top of the hill is St Giulia, which has an absurdly ornate church. "The people are poor, but God is rich."

Through town, along the hill, down a bit and then along the road to Sorlana where we have a break and energy bar at the Church. Through some cultivated lands (fruit, flowers, gardens, olives), grabbing a few overhanging cherries along the way. Across an old stone bridge into the magic forest where we take a small, dark path through the chestnut trees. Absolutely magical. Up to a ridge, through more forest, then out to a logging road and a nice lunch spot with a view of the days before.

Further on along the road and the ridge. After a bit we make the decision to take the more challenging, off-road route. Starting along a narrow path through the macchia, then entering a fire zone where things get difficult to follow. Tramp, push, duck, scramble, tramp, duck, scramble, push. Double yay for long pants!
At some point we end up on a pig path (of course). This we take down through the woods until even the pig path is gone, but by then we can see the roofs of the houses below. Diretissima to the houses and rejoin the road. Follow this along to the St Bernardo road and continue into St. Bernardo itself. Break at the church and then continue down the hill to Sestri Levante.

Sestri is somewhat bustling due to the impending Giro d'Italia visit: we're there Tuesday night, the stage on Thursday starts in Sestri, so the hordes will descend on Wednesday.


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