Living on the edge

As the train emerged from the tunnel, I joined the other passengers in a collective "oooohhh" when suddenly we were on the edge of a mountain looking at water.

The five cliff-side stations of the Cinque Terre on the Italian coast draw crowds from all over the world who come to explore the colourful villages perched amongst rock, vineyards and ocean by foot or by train.

The views from up high are spectacular but have to be earned, as my jelly-like legs reminded me after losing count of the stone steps on the lofty ascents and descents.  Hiking in the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre is very rewarding and sore muscles are quickly forgotten after arriving in a village for a fix of freshly made gnocchi, ragu and vino.

Every village requires going up, usually to get a gelato after taking the obligatory 'selfie' in front of the view.

My favourite sight was on the trail today, watching a young girl negotiate the steep and rocky slope in boots designed for a nightclub, while her boyfriend followed in tow, carrying her large designer handbag.

That's living on the edge.

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