When I graduated high school I came into a bit of money where I would be able to buy a car (a very cheap one!!) or take a trip. Being 18 and wanting to leave I took the latter. I figured that I would have a car for the rest of my life but I would only be able to see Europe once…silly, silly, high school Kyle. Anyways I can’t even say that I have a first town I visited and fell in love with, because my first was five.
Cinque Terre, Italy, literally translated “Five Lands”, was my first true experience of Italy and rivals the Amalfi Coast. For tourists the easiest way to get there is by train that stops at each town! Riomaggiore is usually the first stop for many, while the other towns are Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso! I did not have a good labeling system and now that I have been here twice the pictures all kind of got jumbled together. Even though I have now been here twice there was still so much to explore!
There are beaches are harbors to swim, sail, and eat seafood!There are small hiking areas with incredible views! Make sure you were your hiking shoes!
Some of the alleyways are tight while other “roads” have many different shops!
One of the coolest parts was instead of taking the train back I opted to take on the ferry, which offered views I would not have gotten from being on land!
Now here is the ugly truth, If you look at photos of the towns the colors of the buildings will be more vibrant, fuller, and clean. Cinque Terre gets hit HARD by weather, mudslides, and serious floods. However, these fishing towns don’t quit as they continue to rebuild and still have many people interested in going!
The picture above comes with a story. One chaperone wanted to go take a hike so I offered to go along with her. Only after sitting down did she tell me it was her birthday and buy me lunch. As she paid and were about to set off the owner of the restaurant heard our American accents and came over to ask how everything was. He then told us to wait. A few moments later he brought us free fresh cut watermelon!!
Now if I liked watermelon it would have been perfect. Fresh Fruit, a nice breeze, beautiful and friendly towns? Awesome! I was still respectful as I thanked him and ate the watermelon with a smile on my face, even though I wanted nothing to do with the vile fruit.
During my first trip and even my second the towns are a lot bigger than they appear to be, and each one holds their own discoveries!
Will you be the one to find the secret cave that leads to a hidden rocky beach?
Or what about the cliff side?
It is almost as if I have added Cinque Terre to my own sense of identity (not just because of my Italian heritage!) Resilient, strong, full of discovery, how many of us can say the same about how a place can change who we are?
No matter how much Cinque Terre takes a beating from the weather it will always hold a special place in my heart, nowhere near watermelon.
Let Cinque Terre inspire you…
…Spark you imagination…
…and fill you with curiosity.
How will Cinque Terre become a part of your identity as well?
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