Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Travel Page: Cinque Terre

More from my European vacation! I know, I know—I'm really spacing this out. ;) A quick recap in case you missed it: I've already covered our time in Stockholm, Paris (Part 1 and 2), Aix-en-Provence, and Antibes. Now, Cinque Terre, Italy! After a bit of a delay due to a one-day train strike in Italy, we finally made our way to the colorful coastal town of Riomaggiore, the first stop in Cinque Terre. Even though the forecast predicted all grey and rainy days during our two-day stay, the weather completely cooperated, gifting us with loads of sun...
After exploring the other towns in Cinque Terre, I think that Riomaggiore was my favorite stop. It's where we stayed, so I'm biased, but I loved the privacy of the marina there—other than a few restaurants, the waterfront really quiets down at night, so we could sit down by the rocks listening to the lapping waves with a bottle of wine. The place we stayed was tucked right into the cliff next to the red house in the top photo. It was unreal to open our windows and look straight down into the sea. On our first night, we climbed down to the rocky shore to talk and watch the sun set.
The next morning was a bit rainy and chilly so we decided it was a good time to check out the other towns. Matt had been here before so he suggested we go to the furthest point out (Monterosso) and hike to the next town over (Vernazza). He promised, it'll take us 20 minutes, tops. Don't get me wrong: I love hiking, but we weren't really dressed for it. I was wearing a flannel shirt, jeans, and a trench coat. Like I said, it was chilly that morning. Well, 20 minutes in, we realize that it's not that quick of a hike. We could tell simply by looking ahead at the steep climb and the fact that we couldn't see Vernazza around the bend. So, with one bottle of water between us and the temps climbing up into the 80s, we peeled off layer after layer as we continued on what turned out to be a two hour hike. Ha! Honestly, it was breathtaking and we never would have seen views like that if we skipped the climb. But we sure were glad when we looked down and saw Vernazza—and scored a seat at an adorable waterfront pizza and pasta spot that served plenty of wine!
It's funny: My favorite part about Cinque Terre was how low key it can feel. On our last night, we stumbled upon this adorable bar called A Pié de Mà. We noticed it when we first arrived (it's right near the train station), but we had written it off given the impressive views. We thought, for sure, there's no chance of just walking in without a reservation (I mean, just look at those views!). But as it turned out, they only serve wine and light bites—no dinner—so we showed up and scored a seat on the deck right away. We were stunned! We ordered wine and cheese and dessert, and just as we began to eat, it started to pour. But the sun was still out. It was basically raining over the deck. We moved under the straw-covered roof to another table (which offered the same great views), but it was so cozy and fun. We stayed there for hours before leaving to get take-out pasta for dinner to eat at the window-side table in our place. Such a wonderful way to spend our last night.

Coming up in a few weeks, the final stops: Padua and Venice!

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