5/29/15 - 5/31/15
The Cinque Terre are 5 towns along the north western coast of Italy along the Mediterranean. The towns are full of charm and character. From north to south there is Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. We made Manarola our home base which we now regard as a blessed choice as it is the smallest, friendliest, least touristy and most beautiful of them all. The room we got was apparently an apartment with a terrace - giving a breathtaking view.
The first day in the 5 Terre we explored Manarola by way of trying to find the apartment. If we haven't mentioned already, the 5 Terre has a ton of hills - again, a ton of hills, so carrying all of our stuff up and down the hills was a bit exhausting and a great taste of what the next couple days would look like. However, the walking was rewarded a thousand times over with the views. As already mentioned, the view from our place was breath-taking, and that was only the beginning. We started by relaxing on our terrace with some fruit and wine and ended the first evening with a fabulous dinner at a famous place literally less than a minute walk door to door from our place. The region of the 5 Terre invented pesto, so naturally we ate a lot of pesto. In Madi's opinion, the pesto that first night was the best of all of the four or five times we ate it.
The region also invented foccacia which is sold all over the place. We ate plain foccacia, foccacia with onions, foccacia with pesto and tomatoes, foccacia with ham and cheese baked in the middle, and foccacia with cheese baked in. Madi also got plenty of use out of her allergy card considering we were right on the Mediterranean, and consequently, there is shellfish at every restaurant, bar or cafe. (Sidenote-a bar in Italy is not what we Americans think of as a bar. It is a counter at which you order and drink coffee and eat small pastries.) The last night (Sunday night) we ate at a restaurant "al Castello" in honor of Colin's birthday. We had decided previously that considering we were so close to leaving for Europe when we celebrated Colin's birthday that we decided to have his birthday dinner at the 5 Terre. We had a gorgeous view of the harbor in Vernazza and watched the sun set.
The first whole day we hiked. Colin did about 2 times as much hiking as Madi did thanks to a well-placed shuttle and the options of taking the bus or train to the next town. Granted, it was still a significant walk. While Madi took the shuttle, Colin walked up to Volastra which lies above and between Manarola and Corniglia. They offer a shuttle because of the incredibly steep hike up there.
Colin met Madi in Volastra, and we hiked between Volastra and Corniglia on a path high above the coast winding through vineyards. It was gorgeous, but man was it a steep drop on one side.
We had lunch in Corniglia, and Colin hiked the next stretch between Corniglia and Vernazza while Madi took the train.
We spent the next hour and a half relaxing and dipping their feet in the cool Mediterranean water.
For a different experience, we took a boat to Monterosso where we walked around and had dinner.
The day was capped off with an incredible sunset which we watched from the terrace of their apartment.
The next day, Madi relaxed around Manarola while Colin hiked the first and last stretches of the 5 Terre route (between Riomaggiore and Manarola, and between Monterosso and Vernazza).
We finished the day back in Vernazza for Colin's birthday dinner. We packed up and left first thing in the morning on Monday headed to Florence. See you soon! and Remember to check the other photos in our gallery. Love to all!!