Early Saturday morning, Lizbie and I left to spend our three day Easter weekend in Cinque Terre! Our train went from Arezzo to Firenze, where we had a changeover. Then from Firenze we went to La Spezia and upon arriving there we took a short train ride to Riomaggiore (the first city out of the five, and also the city where our hostel was). Our hostel was great - two beds, a private bathroom, clean and only a three minute walk from the ocean; not to mention the people who owned it were really friendly. We got to Riomaggiore around lunch and after dropping off our things and grabbing a slice of pizza, we went down to the water.In Cinque Terre there are no museums, no massive cathedrals - just small cities, long hiking trails, good restaurants, and the ocean. It was definitely the most relaxing weekend I've had here - and my favorite part of Italy so far. NATURE, man. NATURE.
Lizbie and I hiked the nature trail first. If you are in Riomaggiore, it's the trail going to the left (whereas the trail to the right leads you to the next city).
Riomaggiore from above :)
One of my favorites.
She followed this cat everywhere...
Afterwards, Lizbie and I walked from Riomaggiore to the second city, Manarola. This walk is really easy because it's not a hike, it's basically a bridge along the coast. It's called "Via dell'Amore" or the lover's road. Along the way, there are locks that couples have written their names on. It was cute, but pretty depressing seeing as the walk was lined with all sorts of people holding hands and kissing. I think Cinque Terre in general must be the honeymoon capital of the world. Everywhere we went there were young girls with HUGE rocks on their fingers, and it was clear by the way they were walking with their "other" that they were "new". Very romantic. Some people took it a little too far though. I mean...sleeping bags and pillows on the rocks? Maybe I was just jealous...ha.
Lizbie and I stopped along the path, got a beer, watched the sunset, and then had dinner in Manarola (the second town), took the train back to Riomaggiore (it was way too dark to walk back) and went to bed early!
Sunday (Buona Pasqua!) We woke up and were out the door by 10:00. Our mission for the day: To hike from Riomaggiore all the way to Monterosso (the 5th city). There are a bunch of different trails to take; we decided to take the coastal path which the map told us would be a five hour hike. Well, we were champions because we hiked it in five hours but that included lunch in Corniglia (the third city), dessert in Vernazza (the fourth city) and spending time walking around each city. Go us! It was cloudy all day and apparently was supposed to rain - I almost bought a rain jacket about five different times but I'm glad I didn't because it barely sprinkled. Two hardest trails = the one from Corniglia to Vernazza and the one from Vernazza to Monterosso. Coincidently, they are also the last two trails so by the end my feet were ready to fall off. Some of the paths were super narrow - seriously, you had to watch your footing!
Manarola (City 2)
On the way to Corniglia...
Ciao Corniglia. Andiamo Vernazza!
Vernazza was my favorite city. Not sure why - maybe the layout of the city streets?
Maybe because this was one of the first things I encountered; an old Italian man helping his "mini me" down the stairs. (Complete with "cheers" by the old man each time one step was accomplished.)
Maybe the colored umbrellas?
Maybe these two boys playing on the beach? They were hysterical.
The view never got old..
Whatever it was...Vernazza was perfect. As we were leaving we bumped into the other girls from the Accademia that were in Cinque Terre for the weekend so we hiked the last trail with them.
Just to give you an idea of the narrow trails..
This one was much better (lower, and it had a rail!)
Once we got to the final city, we all stopped at a bar. The girls got drinks and I got an iced coffee. Then Lizbie and I took the train back to our hostel and we showered before dinner. All of us ate Easter dinner together. One of the girls said a prayer; although I'm not the most religious person in the world, it was really nice. I can't speak for everyone, but I know for me personally it was weird being away from family on Easter so to have some sort of "family-ish" meal was comforting. It served as a great ending to a long hiking-filled day.
So of course, after an overcast weekend, it decided this morning to be sunny and radiant outside as we were leaving. Luckily, we got to enjoy it a little bit. We found a cafe by the water with milkshakes (YES!) After splitting a sandwich and drinking our shakes, we left for the train station and the rest of the day was spent getting home.
My gorgeous red-headed amica buying some snacks for the train.
Yes yes yes to Strawberry Milkshakes. MUAHAHA I manage to find them even when outside the states! :)
Cinque Terre Champions
Four day week this week, and only three more weeks to go here in the villa.
Craziness. All of this is flying by..
Hope everyone had a "Buona Pasqua". You were missed by me. <3