cinque terre is a string of 5 traditional coastal towns situated in a particularly mountainous region of the italian riviera. initially famed for their extreme isolation, they aren’t as difficult to reach any more (via train), but you can hike between all 5 towns if you’re keen - and that isn’t easy. teamed up with friends from the hostel, we decided to tackle one hike - vernazza to monterosso. only 1.5 hours, but even at this time of year the sun beats down hard and there’s little escape on the narrow path leading around the cliff face. initially greeted with amazing views of vernazza from above, we soon discovered a mini cat sanctuary on the track. a strange place to put ond, but there was a very friendly cat there enjoying the sun and attention. half way through there was an old man making fresh oj - a true entrepreneur. the final approach to monterosso took us through some of the famed vineyards. all 5 towns have their own vineyards, and a little birdy told me that they each produce distinct flavours (i haven’t tried them all though). arriving at the beach in monterosso was a welcoming site, the cool water was exactly what we needed after a hot and sweaty walk. this is such an amazing part of the world, and for me a truly more enjoyable than the typical big sites (rome, florence etc).