After Venice, Adam and I were worried nothing would amaze us as much as a city on water. We were so wrong. The train took us through cities and farmland and into long, dark tunnels. As we were nearing our destination, the tunnel we had been in for what seemed like forever ended for a brief second and we gasped at what was before us. The ocean! It was blue and beautiful with the most perfect clouds floating above. Adam gave me the most excited look and squeezed my hand in anticipation.
Our train pulled into a little station, where we grabbed our bags and headed into a tiny little town, Vernazza. The streets were made of stone and there were clusters of elderly locals with their heads together gossiping. Only a few restaurants were open, and tiny streets all leading upward were dimly lit. We found the little apartment we would stay for the next few days and settled in. The owner had left ingredients for breakfast and a little note thanking us for coming. Adam and I unloaded our things and walked to a little restaurant whose entryway was filled to the brim with locals laughing and chatting.
This region is known for their pesto, so I ordered a dish covered in homemade pesto. We ate and talked and relaxed at the tiny restaurant for hours, enjoying the company and atmosphere of excited Italians.
The next morning, it was drizzly, so we took it easy and ate breakfast inside, hiked around town a bit, and then lounged around in our second story apartment enjoying the view. After going and going the few days before, it was nice to have an excuse to rest for a day. When the rain stopped for a bit, we escaped to a nearby town, where we explored and hiked for a bit but soon had to find shelter from the dumping rain. We sat for a long time, watching people scamper through the downpours and gather in a nearby shop where we could hear old men excitedly telling stories. When the rains subsided, we walked back to the train station and rode to Vernazza. We stopped at the local grocery stores and bought homemade bread, fresh tomatoes, cheese and eggs. We then planned our next day as we went to another tiny restaurant filled with friends of the owner. After, we stopped by a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop and had some homemade cake and cappuccinos. We walked back in the cool evening with the sound of crashing waves following us home.
There are trails between the tiny cities in the Cinque Terre region. On our last day in Vernazza, we woke up early and hiked part of the trail near our town. The view was breathtaking, and we were surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, as well as the ocean crashing against the rocks and hills. The colors were bright and lush–green plants growing around the path, pastel buildings in Vernazza and the deep blues of the ocean and sky.
We took the train to the other cities, walked around a bit, and had an amazing seafood dinner right next to the ocean. The Cinque Terre stole our hearts.
(I didn’t take the time to edit these–and some are iphone…so excuse the imperfections!)