Last weekend I went on a fabulous trip to Cinque Terre! We started on the via dell'amore at Riomaggiore. It is an easy but beautiful walk, paved and right on the coast. In Italy there is a tradition of writing your name and your significant other's onto a padlock and locking it onto something... you'll see them all around Italy. On lamp posts or bridges or railings... anyway they line the walk and it is fun to see them all locked to each other, like clusters of grapes. We just don't have things like that in the states. It was a very lovely walk and the ocean is just SO blue (not to mention the fact that smelling salt on the breeze was so comforting and refreshing!). So the via dell'amore takes you to Manarola (the second of the five towns). From there I took a short train ride to Corniglia (3rd town). From Corniglia I hiked to Vernazza. You can actually hike from each town to the next, but they usually close one of the paths. The hike is really lovely, at some points you are hiking through lush, almost tropical foliage, and then you curve around and the trees thin and you can see the coast, and behind you the coastal town that you just left, jutting into the water. Very pretty! Lots of steps up, and then, lots of steps down... At the end my knees were shaking. Not because I was tired, but because I had walked down so many steps!
The end of that hike has the best view ever... you have a beautiful view of Vernazza from above, with the ocean surrounding it on all sides. I think Vernazza is my favorite of the towns, it is layered along the cliffside, so as you come down from the hike you walk down narrow stairs and paths that take you to the narrow main street. If you walk down it, to the sea, you are treated to a lovely view of the bay with a place where you can swim and boats tethered to the cliffside and narrow caves. Very lovely. From Vernazza I took another train ride (you can also hike but it is the most difficult and longest of all the hikes. I've heard the view is great though!) to Monterosso. It isn't picturesque and jumbled like the other coastal towns, but wider with almost french-inspired facades like in New Orleans. The beach is nice and wide, and you can lay down and tan, or go for a swim in the beautiful turquoise water... Ahhhhh. (Having a stawberry Margarita, sitting in the shade, and watching the the waves was just the icing on the cake!)
I think the trip was just what I needed to relax and breathe and get rid of all the stresses of living in a new city and struggling with a new language (and the difficulty of trying to express/be myself in said language).
Anyway. Missing you all. I've had a craving for my californian summer this week. xx