Published on September 23rd, 2013 | by Rachel Budke2
Cinque Terre, Italy
“Cinque Terre” is Italian for “The Five Lands” and is made up of five towns: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare. My day trip to Cinque Terre turned out very different than I anticipated. It ended up raining the whole time, which made the hike from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare very difficult. This was the biggest day trip that my sister Allison and I planned together, and we had high expectations for it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from studying abroad so far, it’s not to have overly high expectations. The best experiences I’ve had so far are the ones where I’m not sure what to expect at all.
We arrived to Cinque Terre after about a 2 hour bus ride, and then took a short train ride into Manarola. We couldn’t go to the first town, Riomaggiore, because it was closed due to landslides. It started raining as soon as we got there, so after we looked around Manarola, we bought umbrellas. Best 8 euros I will ever spend! Then we took a train to Corniglia, where we ate lunch. Cinque Terre is where pesto was invented, so we were very excited to eat some. I was honestly a little disappointed in the food, but maybe that was because we had great food at our wine tasting the day before. It just needed some salt, so I probably should have asked for some.
After lunch we took a train to Vernazza. This was probably my favorite of the five (or, I guess 4 since we couldn’t go to Riomaggiore) towns. From there, we started our hike to Monterosso al Mare. Immediately after we started, I ended up in the very back of the group, which usually happens to me during activities like this. Luckily, my roommate Victoria stayed behind with me so I wouldn’t be alone.
Hiking was very difficult, especially in the rain. It took us about 2 and a half hours to finish because the weather slowed us down. There are lots of areas where you are climbing over rocks and there is a steep drop off with no railing to keep you from falling. There was also one rocky area that turned into a pretty big stream from all the rain. At one point during the hike there was a waterspout, which is a tornado on water, right in front of us. It was scary because we weren’t sure if it was dangerous or not.
Before the end of the hike, Allison waited and found Victoria and I. We all finished the hike together, and at that point, it was just hilarious how the day turned out. Certainly not a day on the beach like we had anticipated! I guess we have some good stories to tell about it, now. Regardless of the crazy weather, Cinque Terre was beautiful and I’m glad that Allison and I got to see it together.
Ciao, thanks for reading!