Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cinque Terre

You can barely see, but there are people lying on the rocks and reading. I want to live there!

Cinque Terre was one of my few absolute must-sees while on this trip, so when I realized last weekend that it might be my last chance to make it there while the weather is still warm, I made a semi-spontaneous trip on Saturday. For the very small amount of planning that went into the day, it turned out surprisingly well: from dragging my roommate out of bed at 8 AM after 4 hours of sleep to barely making the train and not even being sure it was the right train, we managed to happen upon easy train connections that made for an overall smooth trip (minus the inexplicably pricey train ticket for a 20 minute ride that was only 2 euro on the way back).

The first of several tunnels. This one was especially cool.

Astoundingly delicious.

Te la do lo la merenda -- literally, "I'll give you a snack"

We weren't sure exactly what we wanted to do once we got there, and reading the guidebook on the train was largely abandoned in favor of sleeping, so once we arrived at Riomaggiore (the first town), we stumbled around until we found a Rick Steves-recommended pizza place and had the best. pizza. ever. Focaccia bread was apparently invented in Cinque Terre, so focaccia pizza in Cinque Terre is quite possibly the best food ever made. From there, we "hiked" (more of a light stroll) the Lover's Path to Manarola, the second town, which was absolutely stunning. In Manarola we discovered that the path to Corniglia, the third town, was closed, and neither the shuttle bus or train would be arriving for an hour. We had kind of wanted to try the ferry anyway, so we decided to buy tickets straight to Monterroso, the last town, so we could spend some time on the beach. The views from the boat were absolutely stunning, and while I'd like to hike the whole way someday, it was definitely more relaxing in the heat to see the coastline from the water.

Locks everywhere. I liked the heart shape.

Incredible view from Lover's Walk.

It doesn't even seem possible that the water is really this color. 

View from the ferry.

Arriving at Monterroso. 

Once we got to Monterroso, we explored the town for a little bit while looking for the train station to figure out when we'd need to leave, and then got some gelato to eat on the beach. Eating gelato by the Mediterranean Sea is probably one of my new favorite activities. The water wasn't as warm as I had hoped, but just having the experience of swimming in the Mediterranean and then sitting on the gorgeous beach was incredible. As Marie said, Huntington, eat your heart out!

Church in Monterroso. I love the stripes on churches throughout Italy. 

View of one of the beaches as we walked to get gelato. 

So refreshing!

We went for focaccia pizza for dinner again (couldn't resist) and even brought back a loaf of delicious focaccia bread (much of which was devoured on the train. oops.). Coming back went smoothly, and even though we should have been exhausted, we rallied and met up with some friends for our roommate DeeAnne's birthday.


Last view of the day.

Although powering through last weekend was definitely worth it, it does mean that I am STILL sick. I was hoping to be better by this weekend since I leave for Oktoberfest tonight (!!!), but at least I'm pretty sure I'm on the upswing. My voice is back after about 4 or 5 days of sounding like a dying frog, and I slept through most of last night without too many coughing fits. So, I'm hoping I can sleep through the whole overnight bus trip tonight and wake up energized and ready to explore the beer tents of Munich! Here goes the beginning of my 21st birthday weekend...

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