One of my all time favorite travel locations is in peril. Cinque Terre experienced flash floods a couple of days ago. I hope that Cinque Terre is able to recover from this disaster.
These videos are of two of the towns:
In honor of these 5 lovely towns, I am re-posting my travel journal entries from July 2004 and adding photos taken during that trip.
July 08, 2004, 09:30
We just arrived at our lodging in the Cinque Terre. Sorry I haven’t been able to update the journal in a while, we have been in the Amalfi coast where internet and modern technologies are in second place to relaxing and swimming in the ocean. I will write as much as I can for now and I will update my journal for Amalfi Coast later.
We decided to skip Florence and Tuscany for this trip due to lack of time- We did not want to rush through it in 1 1/2 days. I will have to come back and enjoy all of Tuscany on another trip.
We took an overnight train from Salerno to La Spezia. La Spezia has trains that connect you to all of the Cinque Terre villages. We have decided to stay in Riomaggoire, the first and I believe the largest village. We will be doing light walks only today. After the lack of sleep, I don’t think we will have the energy to do the heavier walks.
I must go, there is a nice gentleman waiting to use the only computer here. I promise that I will update more later.
I love Cinque Terre
July 09, 2004, 11:46
Yesterday we arrived here on the morning train. We first took the train from Salerno to La Spezia and then inadvertently got off at the wrong stop because we did not realize that we had reached our stop (We were stuck in a tunnel and could not see the signs). We got off at the next town and stopped at the hostel there and waited until 7 am when it opened. Realizing that the hostel had a lock out time of 1-5 everyday and it looked like it was to rain yesterday, we decided to check out the lodging in the original town that we were supposed to stop at.
We decided to take the path called Via dell’ Amore (path of love). The path was a 15 minute walk. Ah, they had beds for us at Mar Mar. Not only did we have beds, we got a private room! We are staying in a dorm with eight other awesome people. We have a huge functional kitchen that we later use. We soon get along famously with others in the dorm. We a meet a couple of others who are not staying at our dorm but have been hanging around. After our nap, we go to the beach in Monterossa with our new friend Marissa. We sit on the beach and relax and I go for a swim. Floating in the ocean with my eyes closed and seeing where the waves take me is so relaxing. Unfortunately, it started raining so we decide to walk back to the train.
When we get back, it is time to prepare for dinner. Since most shops close at 7 here, the entire group goes shopping to pick up what we need for the meal. One gets wine, another pesto, another pasta, etc. We pop open the wine and begin cooking what I can only describe as an awesome meal. We set up the table on our patio outside which overlooks views of the town and the ocean. Soon the rain begins again. Thinking quickly, we grab all of our towels and lay them over the clothesline above to protect the food from the rain. It made the meal much more charming. After cleaning up from dinner, we hear music in the courtyard and decide to check it out. We arrive and find a charming puppet show. An authentic Italian puppet show. We do not understand a word that the puppets are saying but the tone of voice of the characters and the crazy movements of the characters make us laugh. We then decide it is gelato time. I have not talked about gelato like Nikki has (see her journal entry) but I believe that gelato is the one of the most awesome things in the world. It has become a staple of our diet. We finish the night at a pub that plays American popular music. As the night progresses, our entire group becomes dancing fools (except poor Nikki, I had to walk her home early). Even the owner “Franka”, a woman who I believe is in her fifties, comes out to dance and boogie with us. Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end. The bar closes and we stumble down to the water. It is so refreshing to be by the water at night with the cool breeze. Some guy plays the bongos behind me as Marissa dances. I decide that I am too tired to hold a conversation anymore so I stumble back to my room.
I don’t want to leave this place.
Well it is time to go do the monster 5 hour walk.
Another late start, and back in Rome
July 10, 2004, 18:10
Yesterday, after Thursday nights events, we were on to a late start for our big hike. We decide to start at Monterossa which seems to be the popular thing to do. I think I have never walked up so many steps in my life(Not even in the Amalfi Coast). When we arrive at the top, it is totally worth it. From the top, you can see the most picturesque of villages and it continues that way throughout our walk. Along the way we also witness lemon farms, olive farms, and of course grape vineyards. All I can say is that all of the beautiful pictures that I have seen of Italy, have been proved to be true.
Most of you know that I have been preparing for this trip by walking long distances, well it wasn’t enough. I can walk far distances now but those darn steps (or what I call non-steps – random rocks thrown on the ground to resemble steps) kicked my butt. I survived though, and I am really happy that I did the walk. It was the most spectacular view that I have ever seen – well almost as good as the Amalfi coast. I guess they are about tied in my opinion.
We take only the first and second trails, Monterossa to Vernazza, and Vernazza to Corgnelia. Those two were the best, hardest, and longest trails and we didn’t have time to do the rest.
While stopping for Gelati in Vernazza (I swear they put drugs in the stuff – can’t resist) we stop to watch these insane boys jump into the water off of a ledge that is about 8 feet higher than the water only to be thrown back onto the ledge when a huge wave comes in. It was crazy. After talking to others we discover that they have been doing it since they were real young and it is a daily event for them – for hours a day. It kept us entertained for quite a while. Later on, we saw the boys by the pharmacy patching up their bleeding legs and arms. Nikki and I have pictures of this event if you want to see it.
Returning back to Riomaggoire, we meet up with our roommates/new friends for dinner. New roommates join us later for wine on the terrace. Good conversation. We again return to our bar for a drink. Franka greets us with hugs and kisses. I am tired after one beer and have to leave on early train next morning, I go to bed. While getting ready for bed, hear group of drunken Americans/English speaking nationals singing loudly by the water. I get to sleep despite this.
Today, I am back in Rome after a four hour train ride this morning. I visited the Colosseum and wandered around town before I happened upon this internet cafe. I have already had gelati twice today. I am going to need gelati detox when I get home. I might try to get an authentic Italian meal once more and visit the pub around the corner from my hotel. Maybe I can meet some new people before I leave. Anyway, don’t want to waste any more time indoors, must get ready to see Rome at night.
Be home soon!
Note: Some of the entries were edited for grammar and readability.