Thursday, 15 May 2014

Cinque Terre

Brandon and I spent the last few days exploring, hiking, and second-honeymooning through the coast of Italy and it was truly, unexplainably, incredible!

There are hardly words to describe how amazing Cinque Terre was to us, and yet I will still try! After researching, debating, and calculating this little trip, we finally decided to book it and see what happened.

We took two days to hike through the ‘five lands’ and found ourselves met with breathtaking views, delicious food, and great people. We quickly learned how out of shape we are  I am (hello treadmill!) as we climbed up hundreds, no, thousands of uneven, rocky steps to come across rolling mountains, quaint towns, and pieces of history.

The trip started in Riomaggiore. Most of the train ride was through the mountain but as we pulled up to the station there was a collective gasp in the train car as all of the passengers caught the beautiful view for the first time.

This little village was filled with colourful buildings cascading into the water. It is home to many fishermen and the little stairways and roads give it irresistible character. We ducked down every silent alleyway we could, always to find that it lead to more stairs and other avenues to get around.

After learning that the coastal trail was closed due to mudslides (yikes!) we jumped the train to the next village called Manarola. This place was our favourite as we dived into authentic Italian pizza and sat on the edge of the sea, enjoying its unique charm.

We decided to take the mountain trail to the next village and literally found ourselves climbing a mountain! The trail was lined with vineyards and quant beauty.

We made it to Corniglia, the third of the five villages, and found our room for the night, a rustic little spot with coloured toilet paper and a beautiful view from the balony. Corniglia was by far the smallest of the towns so we decided to jump the train and head back to Manarola for dinner.

Of course for dinner we had pasta and bread. A carb-lover’s dream (aka, my dream)!

The food was amazing and the company was even better! We caught the last rays of sun as we watched it set over the water, ready for day two of our adventures!

We awoke the next morning early, heading straight for the trails. After a couple hours of hiking we landed in Vernazza, one of the larger villages. It was bustling with tourists but we had the chance to slip away and enjoy some coffee by the water.

It is hard to describe the peace and romance that all of these little villages had. It was in the way the locals hung the laundry out the windows, or how the roads ebbed and flowed through the town, or the saltiness to the dough of the fresh bread. Everything felt historic, everything felt untouched. It was a true escape.

One final hike lead us to Monterosso, the beach town out of the five. We enjoyed the afternoon by the water, walking through the old and new parts. We were greeted by a giant holding stones, had pasta by the sea, and even climbed a giant rock or two.

We took one last adventure, climbing up an endless staircase to see what the rocky ruins were on top of the town. We came across a quant little church here and slipped through the closed doors to find someone singing. We crept out, hoping not to interrupt (although when we passed by it again, the doors were closed tight!) and continued to climb. At the top was a cemetery with hundreds of coffins and graves (slightly creepy, slightly cool). After taking a few shots, and realizing the sun was gone, I insisted that we headed out! Who wants to be in a graveyard at night??

We could not go to sleep that night without indulging in gelato... a lot of gelato! It was a fantastic way to end a fantastic trip...

Oh, we did stop by the leaning tower as well! Here’s one little touristy shot... I couldn’t resist!