Cinque Terre

Trip Start Jan 03, 2009
Trip End Jun 18, 2009

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Flag of Italy  , Italian Riviera,
Tuesday, May 5, 2009

SO, I haven't written a blog in a few weeks because I haven't had a ton to talk about. I'll fill you in. The weekend after Corsica I went to Aix-en-Provence as a day trip with my study abroad group. We had a guided tour in the morning, had lunch and then walked around the town. After, we went to the artist, Cezanne's house. Right after we got back on the bus, dark clouds rolled in and a huge thunder storm started. That week I had half of my finals, which went well. The weekend after that Ross went on a trip with his study abroad group to Provence. I planned to study and lay on the beach all weekend but it rained. That week I finished my finals and had my first day of summer, right before heading off to Italy.

Ross and I went to the Italian Riviera this weekend and more specifically, the Cinque Terre. We spent a while traveling by train to get there and back, but it was a nice weekend with good weather and great food.

The Cinque Terre is a group of five tiny towns on the Italian Riviera that have become really popular with tourists because they are beautiful and you can hike between the towns, take the train or a boat. We stayed in a small town outside of the Cinque Terre called Sestri Levante because we went on a holiday weekend, there were NO rooms available in any of the five towns. This turned out to be good because we got to spend time in a beautiful town that wasn't crowded with tourists.

We got to Sestri Levante by train around 3 in the afternoon. We had to walk about 2 miles to our hotel, a walk that we would do several more times over the next two days. I actually liked the long walk because we got to work off all the pasta and gelato. Our hotel was nice, although way out of town. It was the first time Ross and I decided to get a room based on money instead of good reviews and it showed. It was comfortable enough but now I have four bug bites on my face and more on my feet.

In Sestri Levante we explored the small town and found a blues and jazz festival. There were also a million people on the beach until at least 7 at night. We also watched old men play lawn bowling for a while. We found dinner by walking through the small streets and a man telling us they had a menu dinner for only 15 euros that includes beer or wine. It turns out there were several courses with this yeast-less bread in oil, red sauce, pesto, with ham, with cheese, with prosciutto and finally nutella. It was a very carby dinner and a little ridiculous with all the different courses.

The next day we were going to take a boat to the Cinque Terre but we decided we would stay in Sestri Levante for the day and go to the beach. We didn't bring our towels and didn't want to walk the 2 miles back to our hotel so we rented beach chairs. This turned out well because the beach was very rocky. We tried going in the water but it is still very cold all along the riviera. We also had a picnic lunch on the beach that we picked up at the market.

That night we decided to take the train to the first town in the Cinque Terre, Monterosso, for dinner. It was a cute, small town where we had great seafood pasta and white wine. We left the restaurant after sunset and got some really nice pictures.

The next day we packed up our stuff to go to the Cinque Terre where we had booked a hotel room for one night in the town of Riomaggiore. Before checking into the hotel we climbed on the breakwater and found a nice spot to take pictures and get some sun. After dropping off our bags at our very comfortable hotel with its own bathroom, balcony, and mini-fridge!

To see the other three Cinque Terre towns, we hiked in between them. It wasn't too challenging but I'm glad we waited until after noon when the sun wasn't so hot. We got to see each town and great views in between. For dinner that night we had seafood pasta again with an ocean view. It wasn't as good as the night before so we decided you should choose either good food or ocean view.

The next day we woke up early, had breakfast and left to go back to France on a long train ride.
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