The First Timers Guide: Cinque Terre Italy
From Venice, we picked up our car, eager to hit the road and chase the Sun. That's when the rain started to pour and we realized all we had packed were summer clothes. So we made the decision to go shopping before we arrived in Cinque Terre, knowing it would be wicked cold being just off the coast. We knew future Matt and Gloria would thank us later.
For those who are unfamiliar with Cinque Terre... the region is a coastline showcasing five gorgeously-colored towns. Each town has it's own special feel and style, but most tourists go to one or two towns for the views and the delicious food. You can start at one town and hike your way over to the other four via a world-famous trail, or you can take a train. Matthew and I started in Vernazza, and worked our way over to Riomaggiore and Manarolla.
After seeing Venazza and Riomaggiore, we took an espresso break at a cafe bar in Manarolla and people watched for a little bit.
I laugh as I write this, because I'm replaying all of the walking we did between all three towns. What a workout! Just a heads up, you have to park a mile or so outside any of these towns and walk into the village. My friends that had visited Italy told me I should eat whatever I wanted because I was going to work it right off, and I 100% agree with them now.
I've always been a big java lover, but my love for the coffee bean has grown even greater because of Italy. Italians take their caffeine seriously. First off, Italians don't drink "coffee" as you and I are accustomed. I've learned that coffee in America is basically watered down espresso brewed in an abrasively large vat of water. Shocking, right!? In Italy, espresso shots are everything. It is their morning, afternoon, and nightly ritual; their lifeline. If you seek a more familiar libation, they will simply brew an espresso shot and dilute it for you, thus an Americano. Some bars will serve you a glass of sparkling water for you to cleanse your palette prior to providing your shot of espresso (be sure to add sugar to it). Other bars will serve you chocolate on the side.
Each region in Italy has their own special touch, and I loved it all.
This was my first time seeing the Mediterranean Sea, and my goodness it's beautiful. The water color is much lighter than the Pacific Ocean and its incredibly clear. I'm not one to go in, but I admired it from afar. Matthew tells me it is much warmer than most U.S. shorelines.
After a long day of sight seeing, we got ourselves back to our Airbnb, and watched the sunset with a glass of wine and some pizza. Our home looked out to the sea over Corneglia and from a distance, Manarolla.
If you're looking for a place to stay, check out Casa Fiorella on Airbnb. The host doesn't speak a lick of English, but she can understand it and will respond back in Italian. For situations like this while traveling, we have found Google Translate to be quite handy. She was incredibly kind, and provided us two great restaurant recommendations and gifted a bottle of wine.
Next up is Tuscany, and I cannot wait to share it with you! I'm editing photos now and will have a blog post ready very soon!