Eight days of glorious Italian sunshine, with everything working out well with our accommodation, and wonderful food and wine! What more could we ask for. After our train trip from Genova to Riomaggiore, we walked for 20 minutes beside the sea, along the Lovers Walk, to Manarola. Our accommodation was way up the hill, but really that's pretty much the only option, as there's very little flat ground. We had a delightful little bedroom ad bathroom, and could have breakfast out on the terrace, listening to the church bells. We did go back to Riomaggiore the next day, dive - nice to dive, but it was fairly desolate underwater. We did see an enormous octopus!
From Riomaggiore we walked to Corniglia, then Vernazza, and Monterosso. The walks got progressively harder, but we were very lucky in that we went from southeast to northwest, and had the sun behind us in the mornings. The last day was the hardest, very steep going up and down, but the steps downwards into Monterosso went on and on, and were more like a ladder! I was very grateful for walking poles. And the knee was fine!! Such wonderful views along the coast, and I was continually enchanted by the colourful and quaint many-storied building stacked up the hillsides like dominoes. Some of the villages, and churches date back to 1000AD. Mark organized a rental car for us the last day, and we drove from La Spezia to Levante via the coast (sometimes a few 100 metres above the sea though), and back again inland, along narrow little country lanes, with blackberry vines trying to entangle our wee Fiat. That was such a superb day, and I was very lucky to have Mark as chauffeur excellente.