Italy Via della Costa

Day 6: Tarrazzo to Andora

A long day with long climbs, closed churches, wet feet and a black pizza.

After a good nights sleep and fine breakfast, I left Lene in Tarrazzo and set off down the hill from the village, passing the villages other church (even the smallest village seems to have two churches) and crossing the Prino River over the old bridge of San Martino – there are lots of bridges with that name in Italy.

Todays first ascent and descent took me to the small village of Caramagna Ligure. Just before the village there was a stream I had to cross. The maps don’t show a stream here, so I was a bit surprised and assumed it is because of all the rain in the area. The stream was deep enough to get soaked shoes if I tried to cross it, so I had to take them off and gingerly cross the stream, hoping not to slip.

Passing through the village I could see a large church in the distance, away from the coast that I was supposed to be walking parallel with. Despite my hopes to the contrary, the trail set off towards the church, the Santuario di Nostra Signora della Grazie. It was a pleasant walk through olive groves, but of course the church was closed. I find it frustrating that I end up walking several kilometers to a church, in a different direction than I am actually walking, and then it isn’t even open to go in and see. Roosevelt visited the church in 1910.

Walking back south towards the coast, I passed many nice homes with great views along the coast and of Imperia. Still at 300m asl. I continued on towards Diano Marina criss-crossing the autostrada, with views of a number of different villages. I finally descended into Diano Marina, where I met Lene for a light lunch.

I continued along the SS1 towards the imposing church in Cervo.

For some reason, the tracks I had did not follow the official tracks, but before I realised, I was well off the official track, walking along a river and then ascending towards Chiappa along a road with many hairpin turns. I rested in the village and checked Google for any info on Chiappa. No luck, but lots about Chiappa firearms, made in Italy, just not in Chiappa. Again, the church was closed.

Now the serious climbing started, along paths next to stoned terraces, with bunker like buildings also made of stone. The official path, which had passed next to the church in Cervo, met my path at the highest point, where 5-6 paths met. Whilst the climb had been a gradual climb, 400m over 5kms, the decline was very steep, the same distance over 1,5km on rocky paths.

I made it to Andora (not to be confused with Andorra), tired and with hurting knees – going down is hard on the legs – after yet another long day. Lene picked me up and we drove to Alassio where we will stay the next couple of days. We walked into town and I had a pizza where the pizza dough was black!

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