Travel days can really be the worst. They are invariably long and tiring. Though I’m usually thrilled to have arrived at my next destination, I really wish someone would jump on this whole teleportation thing. We were up so crazy early to leave Morocco and to make matters worse, I was feeling under the weather. From about the time we arrived at the airport, I spent the majority of the day wishing I could curl up and die. My stomach was a mess, twisting and gurgling . But of course, David with the stomach of a goat, was perfectly fine.
But really when you think about it, a travel day is probably one of the better times to fall ill. Sure, turbulence and food poisoning don’t really mix, but at least I didn’t have to stay in bed all day or power through an excursion. And fortunately enough, by the time we arrived to Cinque Terre, everything was better. David and I were sipping red wine and looking out at the sunset over the Italian riviera.
Having experienced it, I completely understand why millions of tourists flock to these five fishing villages each year. It’s Italy at it’s best, with the crystal clear aqua water, the brightly colored buildings nestled into the sides of lush terraced hills, gorgeous hiking trails and of course the deliciously fresh food. Cinque Terrre is a dream. A place where babies are conceived because of the wine and gorgeous views.
As I peered out of our window on our first morning in Riomaggiore (the furthest south of the five villages), all I saw in the marina were day hikers outfitted with all of their hiking gear. Hiking is definitely a must while here. It’s a great way to visit all five of the villages, get some incredible photos and to counteract all of the food you will be consuming. Lorraine, the apartment manager at Allo Scalo dei Mille, had suggested we take the ferry from our village to the farthest north village of Monterosso and hike the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza. So, we set off for the ferry. By sea, you truly get to a unique view of all five towns.
The beautiful views from the trails were endless on the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza, but it was hard work. We climbed steep step after steep step, looking back to catch a glimpse of the town that we were leaving or getting peeks at the village we were approaching. It was all so magical really. Water shouldn’t be that blue and the sun shouldn’t make it sparkle so much. And as expected, when Vernazza, the darling of Cinque Terre, came well into view, I couldn’t help but fall in love with it.
Most of these towns have the spot that everyone has a picture from. The one from Vernazza was just off the trail and everyone wanted that famous photo. But then there was Heather from Canada, a woman, who had plopped her butt right in the prime position with a bottle of champagne and had no intentions of moving. All I could do was shake my head.
Although Vernazza is the darling, and really all of the towns are adorable, my favorite of the five was Manarola. I loved how the candy colored towns were positioned in the hill and the way the marina hugs it. It just photographed so well. We hiked down from the neighboring town of Volustra (not a part of the five villages) on our second day to Manarola and spent time exploring. We had lunch perched up at Nessun Dorma, a restaurant that serves yummy bruschetta and has the best views.
And what’s a trip to Cinque Terre without heading to the beach? Monterosso is by far the biggest and has the most resort town feel. Besides the shopping and oodles of restaurants, it’s blessed to have a pebble beach that we laid out on like lizards under an orange and green stripped umbrella.
If it wasn’t for all of the annoying tourists, like myself, eagerly hiking the trails, snapping pictures, eating all of the gelato (the best place by far is Alberto’s Gelateria in Corniglia) and stealing all of the dinner reservations, I would sell all of my possessions, learn Italian and open a B&B in Manorola. Cinque Terre is a slice of heaven that everyone should have a taste of. It’s odd. Normally when it’s time for me to say goodbye to a place, there’s this sadness that comes over me that makes tearing myself away that much harder. But this experience was different, there was no sadness, no concerns of never witnessing again. I just have this feeling that I’ll be back sometime soon.