Ciao from Italy!!
Bryant and I have been spending our first week on our Europe trip here in beautiful Cinque Terre, Italy. If you've been following along on Instagram then you already know this place is a magical land of crystal clear sea, painted buildings delicately strung across the lush cliffs, and delicious gelato. Sooooo much gelato... yum :)
Cinque Terre is a national park made up of 5 little seaside villages in the mountains. It seriously feels like a fairy tale! We have been staying in La Spezia (the nearby city) in an Airbnb and then taking the train every morning to a new village.
On our first day we woke up with the sun and took the train to Monterosso which has been our favorite spot so far! We are definitely beach people. The town itself is pretty small but the there are three big beaches and a beautiful rock you can jump off of. The beach is pebbly, the water is a bit icy to the touch (it's a little more inviting in the heat of the afternoon!), and we had it to ourselves pretty much until after lunch time.
We swam around looking at all the little fish (we brought some snorkel masks!) and jumping off the rock. Then we grabbed some lunch on the other side of the town (I'm obsessed with cheese boards so you know that's what I got) and of course gelato! I love chocolate the most.
Afterwards we hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza (doing this right after lunch was a mistake because I felt like a bowling ball hahah) but the hike was gorgeous!! We passed terraces covered in flowers and grape vines and lots of farmers doing their work in the sun. There were even a couple of guys playing music up there for all the tourists hiking through - it made me smile!
We finally made it to Vernazza (the hike was about 2 hours because we stopped a lot) and it was just as gorgeous as Monterosso. We hopped in the blue water to rinse off the sweat and explored the town a bit until we found ourselves at the top of a castle with the most amazing views! It started raining and so we had it all to ourselves for a while.
The next day we spent the afternoon in Manarola! This is definitely the most famous place and because of that it was way more packed than the other towns we visited. The crowds were a little much for us and so we wandered to the edge of the village and found a cute little swimming spot. Of course we are ocean people so we spent most of our time snorkeling, swimming, and jumping in! It was definitely refreshing but the temperature wasn't so bad once we were diving around.
Pretty soon some jelly fish appeared and more people came so we ditched that spot and decided to explore the town some more. The crowds had thinned out and we were able to get some great views of the painted buildings and walk through the cute little streets covered in flowers. We even went to one of the churches and watched the locals sing for a bit.
The real magic was during sunset when the sky tinted pink and yellow and the lights came on! It seriously took my breath away.
We rode home on the train cold and wet but bellies full of pasta and still feeling high on life from the beautiful ocean and sparkling lights.
I didn't take too many photos after the first few days because I wanted to soak it up in the present a little more. We did visit the rest of the villages, but we found ourselves returning back to Monterosso + Manarola because they had the best swim spots!
We definitely ate way too much gelato, got a shade darker, and walked more than I have in months.
Italy, you're something else.