Based on several of my rose-tinted blogs, you might think that my life in Europe is perfect. And 99.9% of the time, it is. Saturday was an ideal illustration of absolute perfection! I woke up early so that I could catch an 8:30 bus to Cinque Terre, which consists of 5 small towns along the Ligurian Sea that are connected by a hiking trail. A group of my friends from the Lucca program decided to take on the 5-hour hike between the cities, and it was one of the best things I've done in Italy!
The first stretch from Monterrosso to Vernazza and the second, from Vernazza to Corniglia, were by far the most difficult. The weather was gorgeous--around 85 degrees with a nice ocean breeze and every other step there was another "postcard-perfect" view . We took some downtime in Vernazza and my friend Christy and I took a dip in the ocean as a refresher for the next hike. Needless to say, it was fantastic. We were in a small, cove-like area that opens up to the city and it officially qualified as a surreal moment.
We stopped for lunch in Corniglia and I treated myself to a Caprese focaccia, a little ravioli, and OF COURSE, gelato. Excellent all the way around. I have absolutely no complaints about my eating experiences in Italy. Not that I typically have complaints against eating, but...
One of the highlights of the hike for me was our second ocean swim. Just before we reached the 4th town, Manarola, we stopped to cool off in the ocean. To get down to the rocks---no beach, just free-stylin' it like the natives---you had to climb down a long set of stairs that ended with a rope that helped you get down to the rocks. And by rocks I mean massive boulders. We spent about an hour just soaking in the sun and swimming in the Ligurian Sea. I don't often find that I'm a "carefree" individual, but that makes carefree moments all the more worthwhile. Our rock/beach stop, and actually most of our Cinque Terre experience, I had not a care in the world.
Insomma, Cinque Terre era bellissimo. Good company, great food, fantastic scenery, perfect weather, and hiking! And then add the fact that they're all in Italy. Could there be a better combination?
LINK TO CINQUE TERRE PICS:
|Cinque Terre Weekend|