Saturday, October 1, 2016
Going to Cinque Terre was hands down one of the best days of my life. The photos don’t do its beauty justice. Everything about it was spectacular– the views, the houses, the ocean breeze, the people, the food, the water, the mountains. It’s one of those places that makes you want to cry because you are so happy and full of life.
Here’s today’s recap:
Nine of us traveled to Cinque Terre: Amelia, Alex, Sasha, Michael, Louis, Olivia, Jill, VD, and me. Our train from Santa Maria Novella was at 6:08 AM, so we left our apartments at 5:40 AM. I love walking around the city when it’s still dark. Not a lot of people were on the streets, and the train station was surprisingly empty. We somehow got on the right train to La Spezia despite being half asleep.
We arrived in La Spezia around 8:50 AM, and our train to Riomaggiore left at 9:10 AM. We grabbed a small snack in the station and were on our way. Hopping off the train in Riommagiore was exhilarating. We walked through a tunnel, and there was certainly light at the end of it. Beautifully colored houses– red, orange, pink, peach, yellow with green shutters. A breathtakingly blue ocean. Lush greenery. It was a sight to be seen.
As you can tell, it was sunny when we arrived. We took photos, wandered through the narrow streets on small steps. We came without a concrete plan (the best way to explore) but made a full day out of it regardless. We decided to hike the trail to Manarola. Boy was it a hike. We thought we might easily meander around a guarded fence, but we thought wrong. We climbed a very steep mountain instead; the trail was dirt, rocks, and manmade steps. It was a climb. The view was great though. It made seeing Manarola so much more rewarding, and it made me feel like I was back home in Vermont. It also reminded me of climbing the Great Wall in China. The hike was by far my favorite part of the day.
Louis, Amelia, and I charged ahead on the hike, so we got to Manarola first. We got fried fish (shrimp, calamari, and anchovies) and walked to the scenic lookout of Manarola where everyone takes photos. Here’s what I captured:
We took a dip in the French Rivera, and the water was so refreshing– not too cold, and you could see the bottom. Everyone who knows me knows that I rave about clear water. This water was very clear despite it being a deep turquoise. I loved it. I also jumped off of one of the small cliffs to add another rush of adrenaline. We felt very clean after our swim– physically and mentally.
We met up with the rest of the gang as they came down the mountain. We were hungry again, so we ate at a restaurant in Manarola. I had spaghetti with mussels. The mussels were some of the juiciest and tastiness I’ve had. It was so nice eating some fresh seafood!
Once we all regrouped, we took more photos at the lookout. I asked an Asian man (in Chinese) if 1. he spoke Chinese and 2. if he could take a picture of us. He said yes to both.
After playing on a playground, we decided to take the train to another town; we headed to Monterosso. There we ate gelato, listened to a musician, stared at the sea, and soaked in the beauty. I cannot express how beautiful it was being in Cinque Terre with beautiful people. VD constantly reminds me how earth is such a magical place and how some higher power brought us all here together. She’s a fun one to travel with and pulls on my heart’s strings.
It started to rain in Monterosso (we lucked out with weather), so we headed back to Riommagiore for a light dinner before our train back. On the train, we laughed, talked, and sat in first class. The ticket man didn’t kick us out. We arrived back in Firenze at 9:40 PM and barely made it home because we were so tired. But here we are!
Cinque Terre is a magical place. I will remember it forever and hope to go back in the spring. If you come to Italy, this is a must-do. You can definitely do it in a day, but I could’ve easily spent more time there. Oh the places you’ll go! xo ~e.
PS* Happy October!