Sorry its taken so long to get on and blog. Its been a crazy week preparing for midterms and working on projects. But we figured we'd blog about last weekend, right before we leave for another Italian adventure.
Last Friday, March 6th, we left Florence via Train at 830ish head for Cinque Terre. What is Cinque Terre you ask?? Well, its 5 Villages on the located on the west coast. When visiting, travelers can take paths from one village to the next, all the way from one end to the next. But when we were there, they had recently had a couple landslides thus forcing them to close off all the trails except for one. The towns are: Riomaggiore, Manrola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterossa. (in that order) Plus, La Spezia, which is an actual town, that has things in it besides buildings. (its not included in the 5, but its a sweet place)
Anywho, we arrived in Riomaggiore at about 1030 and headed for our hostel, but we got side tracked getting off the train by the lovely view of the ocean. Eventually we made our way into "town" to find our hostel. The hostel was closed, but a nice man told us we could reach our hostel manager via telefono and he would be more than willing to come set us up. In the mean time we met Cinque and Zimmer (the local stray cats). Zimmer sat on Kates lap literally for 5 min and Emily fed Cinque CHEESE!!!!! They were great Friends!!!!! When our hostel manager arrived, we followed him to our hostle "building." It was a two story narrow yellow building that had "personality." He gave us the whole top two floors between 8 of us, it slept 9, had a kitchen, and had two bathrooms. It sounds luxorious but both the curtins and comforters were made from the same materials...Literally!!! One room had pink curtincomforters with random flowers hanging from the ceiling while the other had forest green curtincomforters with a baby rocky photo. SICK!!!! The kitchen consisted of a small sink and two burners with a small fridge. It sure was pretty (no towels, and we might have contracted some dieases)!!!!!
After unpacking, we headed out to the see the sights. First on the list, was to hit up the trails, or so we thought. We didn't know all the trails were going to A) cost money and B) be closed. We ended up taking a train to the opposite end of the 5 villages, Monterosso. It was like a 5 min train ride through the hillsides. Upon arriving, we headed straight for the beach... Or more like the a stone/rock beach. It was really beautiful. We came across a large rocky "mountain" just a few yards into the water. Emily thought it would be a good idea to "climb it." NOT! Emily and I got undress, aka took of our shoes and socks, and headed up for a "great" adventure. Lets just say, the rock was too friendly; its was little pointy, and had some rough edges. However, we all ended up climbing and managed to reach the peak for a some prime photos. We walked along the beach a little longer and headed into town to see what it had to offer. Pretty much, just like Riomaggiore and all the other villages, its had a church a lot of cramped pink and yellow buildings, and some boats, oh and a boat dock... They were all very simple and plain, but they had a lot of class, and AMAZING ocean views.
After spending a whole half hour walking around town, we decided to try and find the path that we were supposed to take to the next down. Ran into a couple fellow trail blazers who showed us the way. What we thought was going to be an easy and short hike turned into a 2 hour, uphill fight. We saw a lot of the countryside, and again unbelieveable views of the ocean/coastline. Eventually, we managed to come upon the next village, Vernazza.
By the time we arrived in Vernazza we were exhaused!!!! The town lacked a decent ocean view, and had less to offer then the previous town needless to say we lasted about 20 min thier and took the train back to our hostel. When we got to the hostel we attempted to clean up a bit and head for the rocks that are located in the mitst of the ocean to watch the sun set while splitting a bottle of wine between the 8 of us. The night was a bit overcast, the view was priceless but had no comparrison to Saturdays sunset. After the sun went down we headed to La Spezia the town right outside cinque Terre for dinner. We came across a great Pizza place that was very resonable priced and great service. After dinner we headed back to the villa for a nights rest.
We slept in until about 9ish and headed to a local breakfast cafe that had AMERICAN COFFEE FOR ONLY 1EURO!!!!!! They also some amazing chocolate filled crossaints. We had stopped and picked up some fruit at a local grocery store, so we managed a well-rounded breakfast. We didn't have any plans until noon, so we decided to go sit by the ocean side and just relax. Emily and Jen sat on some rocks and read/journaled while Brad, Joe, and I did some exploring. After a while, we decided it was a good idea to climb up a rocky hillside to a path. It was one of the paths that was closed because of the landslides, but we continued to walk it anyways.
At noon, we all got together and decided to take the "Path of Love" to Manarola which is the town right next to Rimaggiore. The path was completely paved and well taken care, unlike the other path. It was really nice, just more view of the ocean side; but the weather was a lot warmer which made it ten times better! When we got to Manarola, there wasn't much to see, except the the boating dock had a really nice area to sit down and relax. We spent about an hour and a half just sitting around talking and hanging out which was really nice to do and not have to worry about a thing!
We had one town left to see, and we had to take the train because of the closed trails. The last town was, Cornglia. This town had the least to offer; we got off the train, hiked up the road into "town" where there was pretty much nothing. You couldn't even get close to the ocean, nor was there a very good view. We probably spent the most time actually in the town than in any of the otheres, about a whole 10 min. We were tired, and had already agreed to cook dinner that night so we had to head back to get groceries.
That night we drank wine by the sunset after getting groceries, then headed back to our sweet hostel to make dinner. We cooked pasta with red sauce that had peppers in it, and then we toasted bread over the burner and attempted to melt cheese on it. After we finished dinner, we decided to head back to La Spezia once again for a quick desert. Normally, we would get gelato, however we ended running across a yogurt stand. It turned out to be quite delicious, you had a choice of dark choc/white choc/or nutella, then yougurt and 2 toppings ranging from fruits to candies. After that we headed back to the hostel, where we discovered Brad had befriend our building mates who turned out to be Australian world travelers. Some of us chit-chatted for a while, and eventually headed to bed.
We got up and left the hostel at about 8 and headed toward the GREAT Cafe AGAIN!!!!!! We enjoyed the exact same breakfast total of 3 coffees, crossaints, and fruit!!!!! We went down to the marina again and sat on our favorite rock beach to watch the waves roll in. After about 3 hrs of sunbathing and relaxiation time we headed off to mass at a local church. It was all in Italian...Go figure but still had a lot of meaning. Our train was originally supposed to leave at 6pm, we decided we had enough of Cinque Terre and took a train home around noon. But had to stop of in La Spezia, where we discovered Alla Kabobs (Lamb Sandwiches). The Greatest Thing EVER!!!!!! We rushed back to the train station to catch our train home. We ended our trip back at the Villa around 4ish.
We had a GREAT WEEKEND and took lots of photos. The rest of the night we spent far away from each other trying to regain sanity. Hence, the reason the blog is just now coming together.
This weekend we are off to Sicily for a couple days, hopefully the weather will cooperate and we'll be able to possibly get in some ocean activities/get a tan.
We'll attempt to get back a little sooner this next week, but we are going on a class trip to Assisi/Perugia Monday until Thursday.
Hope all is well back in Stati Uniti, and Happy St. Patty's Day!!