Cinque Terre has been on my mind for a while. Cinque Terre consists of five distinct villages connected by a mythical hiking trail. Hugging the coastline of the Ligurian sea along a rocky cliffside studded with vineyards, there is not an ugly sight to see. The entire trail when opened fully (on my trip we could hike 2 of the 4 sections) takes about a day to hike. This includes leisurely stops in each of the villages for focaccia, gelato, pesto, limoncello. Besides hiking there is also a train that takes about two minutes to get to each village.
But the reason I went was for the hiking.
Each town has it’s own charm but I personally liked the town we stayed in- Manarola. The old buildings are lovely shades of (fittingly) Easter egg colors. Since the villages are car-free, the streets were lined instead with the boats that were pulled from the water for the winter.
Our AirBNB hostess was a hoot. It seemed the only English she could really say was “No problem” and “okay” and immediately christened Carson “Constantino” which I shall call him henceforth. We had to laugh at the traditional snack she left for us- they looked like giant tortilla chips but in a saran-wrapped stack and she called it a “sandwich”. And the homemade wine she offered was….interesting. And neither red nor white.
I made dinner reservations one night the next town over and we didn’t realize it was a 20 minute walk from the train station so we had to run in the rain pretty much straight up a mountain to make it, laughing a lot.
Cinque Terre used to be a quiet fishing village but it has had a tourism explosion. On Easter Sunday it was just insanity. Straight up cray-cray in the CT. I would never suggest going to Cinque Terre in the high tourist season. All the travel sites warned me but I didn’t think could be that bad, could it? It could. Don’t do it. Go for sure. But not on holidays. I didn’t even realize Carson hadn’t been able to elbow his way onto the train until it was pulling away and I saw him standing on the platform shrugging.
It was my first time in Italy and I want to get back as soon as possible! The bus from Italy back to France went all the way through Switzerland. It was a gorgeous drive even with the traffic (Easter plus French train strike plus construction work equaled a looong trip).