Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cinque Terre

The last two days have gone by rather quickly. I attribute this to good company and beautiful landscape. My time in Cinque Terre was simply fantastic and it is easy to see why people recommend this location with such fervor. The beauty and splendor of the Mediterranean and the cliffs of the towns put me in awe the entire time I was there. My hostel was interesting, to say the least, but the girls I shared the room with were fantastic and we all got along very well. I ended up hiking the trail from Riomaggiore to Monterosso (through all of the towns, including Manarola, Corniglia, and Vernazza) with one of the girls, Jessica. The two others had started out on the trail about an hour before us on their own.

The trail was 9km and was supposed to take about 5 hours. Jessica and I hiked it in about 6, but that included all of our stops to take pictures, explore a few of the towns, to rest, and to eat lunch. I think we made pretty good time considering all that we stopped for. Our roommates were crazy ambitions and only took about 3.5 hours to do the whole trail and then they stopped at the final town for lunch before hiking back. Jessica and I took the train back to our town instead of hiking back. The weather was hot and then that mixed with hiking we were definitely sweltering and ready to be done walking once we reached Monterosso.

I filled my memory card with pictures and video yesterday. Everything was so beautiful I had to really focus on not taking pictures of every little thing over and over again. We’d leave a town and take a picture and then climb to the next cliff and take another picture of the town. I think I have 4 pictures of the same town from almost the same angle, just different clearings along the trail. It was just so pretty! I am very glad that the weather was good yesterday and that the trail was open, as it hadn’t been open on the day I arrived to town.

While we stopped for lunch Jessica convinced me to try some focaccia bread, explaining that the Cinque Terre region is known for the fococcia as well as pesto. It truly is amazing and wonderful. I highly recommend it. I ended up buying a focaccia type pizza for lunch and then last night bought another large piece of the bread to take on the train with me this morning. I’ve only been on the train for 45 minutes and the bread is already gone. It truly is delicious. Last night the four of us roommates made dinner together. We had some special Cinque Terre pasta with fresh pesto, tomatoes, and broccoli. We also had bread with pesto and tomatoes and of course some vino. I am a fan of Italy.

My travels continue today as I am on the train on my way to Venice and will be there for three nights. I am looking forward to being in a city that I know a little bit about (from being there three years ago). The girls in my room had all just come from Venice and so they gave me a map, some tourist information, a transportation discount card, and a museum pass that they no longer needed. It was quite the hook up and I am quite thankful. I love it when things work out well like that. I am planning to spend some time in the old Jewish ghetto and go to Lido – both things my parents and I did not have time to do when we were in Venice before. I will probably also find time to visit a few museums as well.

I am hopeful that I will get some good sleep in Venice as I did not sleep well the last two nights. I also need to get some laundry washed and make some travel arrangements for the coming week. I am planning to spend tonight taking care of all that business and hitting the city first thing in the morning. It should be a wonderful three days followed by three more in Florence. Then I’m off to Greece! I will be posting pictures and videos tonight, so please enjoy them!

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