How to enjoy The Cinque Terre

The towns of the Cinque Terre are beautiful to look at, but horrible to be in.

In Riomaggiore, the southern most village, you get off the train with a few hundred Americans and walk below the tracks to the high street, along which are little shops that serve bad and expensive food. There are billboards with pictures of Greek-looking pizza. You can smell tinned olives and dried up oregano. One shop is playing a loud Justin Bieber song. Waiters stand on the streets and wait for people to grab.

The towns get better as you go north, climbing to Corniglia, a mid point rather than a destination, and then on to Vernazza; but then you reach Monterosso, which is the worst of all. The train track is twenty metres from the sea and it follows the length of the town so that there is no escape from the rattling trains. On the thin beach are more bad restaurants that serve frozen pizzas, and iceberg salad with bottled Heinz dressing.

In the Cinque Terre you must walk, and not stop walking. That is the sole purpose of this place. But it is easy to assume that the towns will be quaint and beautiful and worth some coffee-time – as I did on my arrival. Save yourself the trouble, and leave the towns behind.

The good news is that the towns stop abruptly. You pass the last building, and the last wall, and then you’re out. The walk is beautiful. The traverse holds close to the sea, and you always have that breeze and freshness that makes even mid-August jaunts a possibility.

There are no dull bits. Whether you are at the top of the hill or climbing down does not matter because it is all beautiful; the cliffs move in and out to create headlands and coves so that you are always looking at something interesting.

The paths are not challenging, and although many of the passers by wear Northface and Solomon shoes with climbing poles and zealous little backpacks with water tubes, you can do it in a pair of trainers. The entire path is about twenty miles, and can be done in one day, or split up with a night in the middle of the walk. Vernazza or Corniglia are best. Make sure you eat Pesto in the Cinque Terre.


Availability Heuristic

In a study, participants listen to either:

A list of 19 famous women and 20 less famous men

A list of 20 famous men and 19 less famous woman

Afterwards, some were asked to recall the names they could remember, and then if the list they had heard contained more men or women.

Unsurprisingly, the famous names were more readily recalled; but, interestingly, the vast majority of participants then incorrectly assumed that the gender of the more famous people were the majority gender in the list they heard.

Read more: Attest – Official Publication

Denominator Neglect

Picture two urns stood on a table in front of you.

You’re given the opportunity to pick a marble from one of them, and drawing a red marble wins a prize.

The first urn has 10 marbles in it, 1 of which is red.

The second urn has 100 marbles in it, 8 of which are red.

Which urn would you choose? It doesn’t seem a tricky decision: your chances of drawing a red marble out of the first urn are greater (10%) than your chances of drawing a red marble out of the second urn (8%).

And yet, as Daniel Kahneman describes in Thinking, Fast and Slow:

‘About 30-40% of students (the survey participants) choose the urn with the larger number of winning marbles, rather than the urn that provides a better chance of winning.’

… Read more: Attest – Official Publication

The Jones Effect

‘The outside influences are always pouring in upon us, and we are always obeying their orders and accepting their verdicts. The Smiths like the new play; the Joneses go to see it, and they copy the Smith verdict’ – Mark Twain, Corn Pone Opinions

Although not the originator of the phrase ‘The Jones Effect’, Mark Twain has a point: people follow people – they follow their habits, likes, dislikes, and opinions.

(…) Read more: Attest – Official Publication

American Honey

“I’m not going to make an apology for the length. I don’t even mind if people go to the toilet in the middle of it. It’s fine’.

It’s true, you could walk out for five minutes and not be any worse off. There isn’t really a plot. You would struggle to piece together a beginning, middle, and end, because it all blurs into one long journey, a journey that, far from thinking was too long, I never wanted to finish.

Read more – (Arteviste – Official Publication)