Cinque Terre

Trip Start Aug 28, 2005
Trip End May 25, 2006

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Saturday, October 1, 2005

Well, another weekend has come and gone. This past weekend a group of 11 of us made our way to Cinque Terre (literal translation: 5 towns) along the Northern coast of Italy. It was absolutely gorgeous! You'll be able to look at the pictures, but I can assure you that they will not do the place justice. What Cinque Terre is, is 5 towns that are connected by train, road, and the most popular mode of transportation: hiking. We were excited to sight-see and exercise in what I've heard people call the most beautiful spot in Italy. We caught an early train on Sat. morning, and got to the last town (which we stayed in) - Riomaggiore. Once we checked into our apartment (which we thought was going to be a hostel...good surprise there) and we got ready to hike. It was gorgeous weather, so it was perfect to do what we later discovered was a 7.8 mile hike. We took a train to the first town of Monterosso, and started the trek. At first, we were a little slow, distracted by the views of these amazing little sea-side fishing villages, but it was still an amazing time! We started out around 2pm, made it to the 2nd town of Vernazza, and rewarded ourselves with gelato. The first two stretches were supposed to be the worst of the 5. And they were. It was up and down on cliffs, rocks, and through vineyards, but the views were totally worth it. While in the second town, after having finished our celebratory gelato, I heard my name while wandering around. It was totally random, but I ran into 4 friends from GU (3 studying in Florence, 1 in Spain) who were also in Cinque Terre for the weekend. It was awesome to get to talk to them, making me realize how small this world/country truly is. After a fun catch up session, we got back to the hiking from the 2nd-3rd towns. It was the worst section of the whole journey, but the views again were totally worth it! We continued hiking until it got dark and arrived back home exhausted, 6 hours after we began. That's right - we hike 8 miles in about 6 hours. And it was AWESOME!! After hiking back up to our apartment (it was at the top of the hill in the town...our hike was not quite over) we went out for dinner, and were in bed early from exhaustion.

We woke up the next day, planning on sunbathing on the beach and swimming in the ocean...but when I woke up to the sound of rain and thunder, I knew that wouldn't happen. We decided just to explore more of the towns in the rain, and it was a good day. We went back to the 1st town, which was the biggest of the 5, and had hot chocolate (probably the best hot chocolate I've ever had in my life) read, and relaxed while looking at the beautiful ocean. We got the train back to La Spezia, ended up missing our connecting train to Rome, and got home later than expected. But, it was quite the adventure! We were exhausted again after traveling all day Sunday, but the weekend was amazing. I was starting to feel the sore-ness in my legs on Monday, but it hasn't been too bad. Like I was saying...the view and company were worth it!

This week is just school, until a group of 7 of us head to Barcelona on Thursday evening. I'm actually excited to get out of Italy (my first time in a month to leave the country!) and am also excited to be in a city where my 5 years of Spanish will hopefully help me, as opposed to confuse me like here in Italy. It should be quite the weekend! Besides trying to survive the rain, life in Rome is going as usual. Except for bomb threat practices that they've been doing. Apparently, (I didn't know about them until afterwards, because I don't have any connection with the outside world) the Italian police (Carabinieri) are practicing what they would do in case of a bomb threat on public transportation. All the buses were re-routed, etc. Luckily I wasn't caught in the madness, but knew some people who were. The good thing is that I would have had no idea what was going on...ignorance is bliss!

I hope all is well wherever this find you...I think of you all often and will talk to you soon!

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