Cinque Terre: Where Heaven Meets the Ocean & is only Distinguishable by the Thin White Horizon
This Sunday was one of the first free weekends, meaning that a) the school didn’t have anything planned for us and b) that I could plan my own weekend trip! Now I could’ve turned this past weekend into a long weekend trip because I’ve been free since Thursday, but I didn’t even think of that until Wednesday. So my next idea was to take two day trips: one to Venice and one to Cinqueterre. I tried to enlist some of my friends, but they didn’t want to go to Venice. Cinqueterre this Sunday it was!
Cinqueterre means 5 Lands, and refers to five fishing villages on the cliffs of the Ligurian coast: Riomaggiore,Manarola, Corniglia,Vernazza and Monterosso. The five towns act as a marine park and are famous for their trails and views, the seafood and other delicious cuisine.
The trip, which cost 40 euro, was meant to be a hike across the trails that connected the five towns. (We booked it through Florence for Fun, which is one of the many student travel-friendly companies within Florence. They really have a lot to offer, and I’ll probably go back again). I was really excited to go hiking because it would be good exercise and would provide me with more photo opportunities. However, due to bad weather this past week, some of the trails were closed/blocked, and we only hiked two out of the five. Lame! But it was still fun.
The first stop was the town Riomaggiore. Here is the first and most famous path: Via dell’Amore, a.k.a Lover’s Lane. The walk connects Riomaggiore to Manarola, and provided me with some great shots of the ocean! I also took pictures of the lovers’ murals and locks that were everywhere.
After Via dell’Amore, we were at Manarola. There wasn’t much to do in this town besides take some pictures. The trail between Manarola and Corniglia was closed, so we had to take the train over. The station was packed and we all had to rush onto the train to get seats, or else we would’ve had to wait another hour and fifteen minutes before continuing. Well that wasn’t going to happen. Being from New York, I’m used to rush hour on the subway and crazy packed mobs. Pushing my way through tourists was a piece of cake; it’s all in a day’s work.
From the Corniglia train station we had to walk up 365 steps to the center of town. This was actually no big deal, considering earlier in the semester I walked all the way to the top of the Duomo! And honestly, I was happy to get some hiking action in. So 365 steps later, we were in the middle of town and it was time to eat! So my friends and I went off, found a place and sat down. I ordered a pesto and cheese panini, and my group even had a visitor!
From Corniglia we trained it to the 4th town: Vernazza. This place was my absolute favorite because it had a beach! Now obviously the beaches for rocky, hilly towns aren’t the same as, say, Jones Beach. There’s sand, there’s water, but there’s also rock croppings and such. Regardless, Vernazza was still beautiful, and perfect for photo ops! So here’s some of the beach:
And then me being me (which is obssessed with all things Little Mermaid) decided to pull off the famous pose of her singing on the rock. After she saves Prince Eric from drowning. This scene (I really hope the video works. If not, youtube it):
[Side Note: My dream man is Prince Eric--by that I mean someone with dark hair, blue eyes, a great bod, a decent amount of wealth and a personality. K thanks] So of course, me being in Italy by the water, by the rocks, knowing that scene by heart…I just had to do it. It took a few tries, but this was the best photo by far:
I mean, granted I don’t have red hair, blue eyes, an amazing voice, or the waves crashing behind me, but this is about as close to epic (and similar) this photo can get. Also, I tried to recreate this same scene later, on wetter rocks, where there actually was crashing waves, and it turned into a disaster. The photos are funny, but I slipped and scratched my body up and cut a huge chunk of skin on my left pinky. Ouch!! Needless to say, I have to find a safer way to reenact my favorite scene.
So after Vernazza, the next and last stop was Monterosso. Unfortunately, my camera died. Which is an extreme bummer because while we were waiting for our boat (a boat takes you to the final town) three extremely attractive Italian men in speedos were fishing. Right next to us. They were tan, they were fit, they were…godly. I’d show you photos, but I don’t have any. I’m waiting for my friend to upload them (yea I’m talking to you Caitlin).
After watching the gods frolick in the water, catch fish and tease us with their charmingly good looks, the boat arrived and took us to the last town. This was a waste of time, as we had fifteen minutes to do whatever and then catch a train all the way back to Florence. I did, however, buy a beautiful journal. It’s blue and printed with a pattern of dolphins. Hand-made too. So that’s one souvenir from my weekend trip!
Although I was a little disappointed that we didn’t do much hiking, and somewhat upset that I injured myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Did I mention how absolutely gorgeous Cinqueterre was? I’m sure the photos speak for themselves. I’ve only seen such a beautiful azure blue when I visited Belize for a few days. And the sky was so clear and the hills and mountains were so lush and green. It was amazing just walking through all of it. The weather was beautiful, I was able to step up my photo game and I got to gaze upon some godlike men. Sounds perfect to me; one trip down, only several more to go!