This day positively glowed. Overall it required seven and a half hours of train travel, but experiencing the remote coastal villages of the Cinque Terre was absolutely worth it.
The night before our trip was an absolute bust. Bill and I knew we had to wake up at four in the morning, so we dutifully went to bed early…Only to have me knock over a lamp, kick the bunk bed hanging over me in a restless attempt to stretch, sneeze so loudly Bill banished me to said bunk bed, and generally accrue a measly one hour or so of solid sleep. I wasn’t in the best of spirits in between leaving the bed and getting onto our train, but every little gremlin who threatened my emotions scurried away once we stepped foot into Riomaggiore.
We sunblocked up and got started on Via Dell’Amore, the “Love Walk” between Riomaggiore to Manarola. (Good thing we’re in love, too! Otherwise, that’d be awkward to traverse with a person with whom you haven’t had “The Talk” yet.) The blue of the water was the stuff of dreams. Absofuckinglutely gorgeous.
In Manarola we met a woman named from Christine from Nova Scotia who we saved from heat stroke. We then came across a Bernese Mountain Dog, my dream breed, so of course this day was going to end up being perfect in every way.
Getting to the town of Corniglia involves climbing what seems like a zillion steps in the fervent Italian sun, but we made it. At the top you’ll find terraced vineyards and such charming, romantic wine bars. A French lady asked if I spoke French – in French – and for some reason I answered “a little bit” – in French. If you recall my language clusterfuck previously mentioned, you can probably reason that I did not succeed in telling her how to get to the…Okay, honestly, I don’t even remember what she was asking, but we’ll just say train. I did not succeed in telling her how to get to the train.
We found many cats!
Imagine walking down these steps:
To a simple, deeelicious lunch on a private bench with your buddy.
My mom used to tell me fairies had nightly tea parties in these flowers. Lies!
One and a half hours (and one snake sighting!) later…We arrived at Vernazza. It was no small feat doing that hike mid-day. Other German tourists were looking all pro an’ shit with their walking sticks. Meanwhile, Bill and I had the bare minimums: water bottles, backpacks. Bill was regretting wearing jeans and not shorts, and I was hiding my precious Asian facial skin with my big-ass hat. I wasn’t glowing by the end of it, I was sweating, but thankfully that’s where we found Gelateria Artigianale.
The urchin this boy is carrying was a gift from this Asian tourist woman in overalls who was like a Korean Little Mermaid. She would walk two steps in the tide pool, crouch down, and *bink* straighten back up with an urchin in hand, a hermit crab, a fish. I got all excited when I found a mini-lobster and pointed it out to her, but she didn’t make it over in time to add it to her collection.
At the end of the day, with all the beautiful sights, my favorite island was Vernazza. One day I’d love to see it at night. (“One day I’d love to see it at night” – There’s gotta be a better way to phrase that.) The images are so tempting we each bought nighttime postcards. (My only Italian souvenir, come to think of it…)
Monterosso al Mare
This is where I had the best meal of our vacation. Monterosso is the most resort-y of the five lost towns, and you can see in their architecture that they’re all about being private beach status.
Bill also made a little dog friend there.
If there is one day I could relive, it is our visit to the Cinque Terre. Trust I’ll be clicking through these pics for years to come whenever I need a little mental vacation. You are welcome to do the same. Mental vacations for everyone!