This weekend my roommates, Julie, Jenna, Alee and I went to the beautiful Cinque Terre! It is a string of 5 towns along the coast in the Italian Riviera about 4 hours north of Rome. We had to get up extremely early to navigate our way to the train station and catch our train at 8am. Getting anything done here takes twice as long dealing with the language barrier and the public transportation's sketchy schedule. We made it on the train and were off for a beautiful weekend trip!
Once we arrived we hoped on another train that took us to the first town of the five, Riomaggiore. This was the town that we had made our hostel reservation in. We had heard that the Italians that live and work in these cities are rude and that was very very true. Everyone seemed like we were a bother to them. That started with the owner of the hostel, he seemed to want nothing to do with us. We were taken to our hostel and quickly were on our way to get some Foccacia bread and start the hike!
We first hiked on the Lovers trail, the stretch to the first town. This was a paved path with tons of tourists, we were ready to get off the beaten path. The second part of the trail was closed due to a landslide so we had to take the train to the third town, Corniglia. Once we arrived there we had to hike up about 1000 stairs straight up a cliff to actually reach the town. Once there we decided to walk down another "path" to get into the vineyards. The paths and stairs to get us there were in terrible condition and one misstep would have ended badly. We met Diego, the grape picker? He let us take some grapes to eat on our walk, they were so juicy and I could tell they were the ones used in the famous Cinque Terre white wine. Then we walked down another cliff to the water to cool off but it was so rocky we only stayed for a bit and then hiked all the way back up to the top. Was it worth it? Questionable. We then decided to stop at a little café to eat some famous bruschetta with pesto and have a bottle of wine. This was a much-needed stop, especially before our next trek of 1 hour to the next town. This path was not paved, it was made of uneven stones and dirt. I am surprised one of us didn't break an ankle. It was so worth it for the beautiful views of the coastline.
We finally arrived in the fourth town of Vernazza. It was getting late by now so we took a quick dip in the ocean and then hoped on the train to head back to our hostel. When we got back we ate at an overpriced restaurant, picked up some drinks, crepes and wifi at a bar and then headed to bed.
Sunday we woke up and checked out of our hostel before grabbing a cappuccino and then booking it out of the town that did not like us. Today we wanted to take it a little easier so we took the train to the last town, Monterossa. This town is filled with more resorts and beaches. Gorgeous! We started by wandering around trying to find the best place to get lunch and decided on a place called Eden that overlooked the water. After stuffing our bellies full of bread and pasta we headed to the beach. We went to the beach that cost 6 Euros per person for a chair and an umbrella. The water was crystal clear and felt great on our muscles after all the hiking the previous day. After a few hours of relaxing we had to book it out of town to catch the train to Pisa. There was a McDonalds at the train stations so we obviously had to get some Nuggets and McFlurrys to get us through the rest of the day. Pisa is only a 50-minute train ride from Cinque Terre. Once we arrived we had only 2 hours to get to the leaning tower and back to the train station. We had planned out the whole trip except we didn't look into how far the tower was from the station. Naturally we assumed it was right next to it? Unfortunately we had to wait around for a bus that was not named clearly to make it there. We had time to snap a few corny pictures, pay 30 cents to go to the bathroom and hop back on the bus to make it in time. We ended up making it in time with a few minutes to spare. We arrived back home late Sunday night just in time to get ready for the upcoming week. More to come! Ciao.