Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre are by far one of the highlight trips in Italy

If the picturesque views weren’t enough, the physical satisfaction of hiking between the towns is enough to make the experience a once in a life time.

Once we arrived in La Spezia, we walked a few kilometres to the closest train station where we missed the train to central station by seconds. We looked like a scene in a movie as we ran beside the train, waving our arms in the air in vain hope that it would make the train conductor stop for two scruffy backpackers. We were wrong, as we hung our heads in disappointment and stated to walk back to the main road. We found us bus that would take us closer to central station than where we were now and so we jumped on, squished between kids going to school and nonna’s going to the grocery store. Once at central station we were able to buy 2 day passes for the Cinque Terre for 12 euro each, which allowed us to catch unlimited trains and entry into the national parks for the remainder of the day

The Cinque Terre is beautiful, it is breathtaking. The contrast between the multi-coloured buildings with the blueness of the sea is outstanding. Made up of five villages; Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, each having its own signet charm and beauty, caught within the sweeping seaside streets and cliffside paths. We decided that we would not fully appreciate this experience if we caught the train between each town. However, due to there being a fatal rockslide on one of the tracks only a few months prior, we were only able to hike between two of the towns. Anyone who says this is a leisurely walk is flat out lying to you. And the fact that we were wearing skinny jeans and converse shoes, did not make this ‘walk’ any easier. The walk itself is beautiful as it twists and turns through the hills of the Italian Riviera. To your right will be farms filled with lemon trees, and to your left will be a deathly drop down to the sea, making for some beautiful photography opportunities. Some times you are able to find a local farmer, selling locally made Limoncello, which makes for an excuse to stop and practice my italian, while trying to catch our breath at the same time. As we passed herds of puffing tourists, who not unlike us, underestimated the walk between the towns, we met a couple of Americans. At this stage, it had been close to 4 weeks since we had spoke to another English speaking person. We were excited to chat with them about their travels, but we quickly pulled back as they started to speak about the America they come from, the deep south. They did not cotton to the fact that we were a couple, even after I had excitedly mentioned how wonderful it was to hear that USA had passed the marriage equality act nationally. They were not supporters of marriage equality or Obama, and were unapologetically apposed to everything Milly and I stand for. But regardless of this, they were a nice distraction from the aching muscles and sweat drenched jumpers we were ripping off our bodies. As we were stumbling along the path, we glanced up to see the view of all views that is Vernazza. All of the stumped toes, slight heat stroke and misguided conversations with strangers instantly melted away as you took this moment in.
As we hiked down to the base of the village, we sat on the edge of a street overlooking the water. To our right we heard the unmistakable twang of an aussie accent and it felt like home. These voices belonged to fellow nomads; George and Emma. It was nice to share war stories of travel, and advice on where to go and what to see, but mostly it was nice to chat to someone who reminded you of home. Their kind nature and aussie sense of humor was the grand end to our magical day hiking through the Cinque Terre.

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