Yesterday Paul and I hiked the Cinque Terre trail. The whole place is a UNESCO World Heritage site (if you are ever traveling and there is a UNESCO World Heritage site nearby, GO) - of something like 8 or so miles of craggy, steep coastline with the five hamlets that make up Cinque Terre) and it was probably one of my favorite travel experiences ever. I have never seen such stunning vistas, except for maybe at Big Sur, although the two really don't compare because of the differences in how you experience them. Paul and I were literally soaked with sweat by the time we finished - it was not easy going on an August day and we drank through something like five or six liters of water in a five hour period. But we have some GREAT photos.
Last night, after swimming away the afternoon in the ocean following the hike, we cleaned up and headed out for late evening photos in Riomaggiore. On the train back to Vernazza, there were all these 20-somethings dressed up as pirates with eye-patches and fake scars and everything. Turns out there was some big pirate party going on in Vernazza that night. Paul and I opted instead to go down to the marina where a water polo match was being held between the Vernazza team and the Corniglia team (each village has its own team). The match was held in the ocean with the fans sitting on the rocks surrounding the marina. It was so cool to participate in such a local event and cheer on the Vernazza team. After the match ended, there was a belly dancer who performed four numbers, and it seemed like the whole town stayed up till almost midnight what with the pirates, the water polo, and the belly dancing. It was bliss, I tell you. Serious bliss.