The day after our adventure to Tivoli, Jenny and I joined some more friends from UMD to hike through the towns of Cinque Terre. The towns that make up Cinque Terre are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Unfortunately Vernazza was closed due to flooding so we visited the other four.
After an early morning and a train ride we arrived in La Spezia and took another short train into Riomaggiore, the first town we would hike. As we started to hike we realized that the easy trail along the coastline, Via dell’amore, was closed so we were forced to take the more grueling path with hundreds of steps. The hike was intense and at some points very difficult due to the terrain, but the views were amazing and were definitely worth taking the more strenuous trail. We took many breaks to catch our breath and rehydrate but we finally made it to the top. We sat for a little to recover and take in the beauty that was around us.
We arrived in the second town, Manarola, which was small and very quaint. We walked through the rows of houses where the residents were chatting, cleaning and cooking. It gave us a very inside view into the lives of the people that inhabit the small town that so many people come to see. After taking in the views for a little we continued to hike and make our way to the third town, Corniglia. This hike started off with climbing over a fence that was locked and blocking our path. We didn’t let that stop us though because after we climbed over it we continued on our way.
This hike wasn’t as intense as the first in regards to the incline or number of steps we had to climb, but it was still strenuous. We found out that there was a landslide in the previous months and it wiped away much of the path so we were forced to climb over hills of rocks instead of carved away paths.
After our treacherous journey we came to several bridges suspended over rocks and water. I have a very intense fear of bridges and immediately started freaking out. Everyone went ahead of me and I made sure the bridge stopped swinging before I closed my eyes and ran over the it to get off as quickly as possible. After more rocks and more scary bridges, we finally arrived at a more level path along the coast. We walked for a little until we came to more steps. My legs felt like jello but I persevered and climbed them to make it to the town where pizza and gelato waited for us.
After a quick break and some snacks we hopped on a train to the last town because we couldn’t hike through the fourth. The train ride was very welcomed and it gave our bodies a much needed rest. We arrived in the town of Monterosso al Mare, which has beautiful beaches and took this opportunity to sit back and relax in the sand. Our efforts of climbing over rocks, bridges, up steps and through shrubbery paid off as we laid on the beach and watched the waves come in and out. We climbed a large rock and sat on it as we stared into the crystal clear blue water below. Jenny and I indulged in some margaritas and then we feasted on the freshest seafood around.
Needless to say that we all fell right to sleep on the way home and were feeling the aftermath of our demanding day long after we went to bed that night.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”- Eleanor Roosevelt