After a full couple days in Nice it was time to head to Italy…first stop Cinque Terre! The road from Nice to Cinque Terre was very windy but had beautiful views of the green mountains. We were dropped off near Cinque Terre and had to take a short train ride the rest of the way to the first village, Monterosso. Cinque Terre means five lands in Italian and is a cluster of five villages along the rugged, mountainous coastline of Italy. The area is pretty remote and is still not easily accessible by car. They are also well known for their beautiful colorful buildings – when I was at the town the houses and stores didn’t seem as brightly colored as I was expecting but when I saw them from a boat it was more obvious.
Upon arriving in Monterosso, we were given about 5 hours of free time to explore the village. Neli, Marine, and I spent the time walking through the village and eating our first, authentic Italian pasta. Monterosso was beautiful! It had a beautiful pebble beach that was packed when we were there – it was actually quite hot the day we were there. Of my whole trip I think the day in Monterosso was the hottest – unfortunately I hadn’t packed my swimsuit for the day and none of the stores or restaurants seemed to have air conditioning so there was really no relief from the heat. Despite the heat we still had a good day exploring the village. We walked through several of the small roadways just admiring the houses. There were so many beautiful, old houses throughout the town.
After doing some exploring we went to a cute restaurant for lunch that our tour manager had recommended (he told us this place had the best pesto pasta ever). Due to the recommendation of our tour manager we ordered two orders of the pesto pasta and an order of ravioli to share between the three of us. The pesto pasta really was amazing. The pasta was cooked to the perfect al dente and the sauce was so delicious. It was a great first Italian meal! After lunch we explored some of the small shops. During our shopping we bought matching blue, braided leather bracelets.
We then had to meet up with our group to take a boat to Portovenere, another town further south from Cinque Terre. We met up with the group and walked over to the boat dock, we were told it was going to be a few minutes longer before we could board and since we were standing directly in the sun a group of five of us went to stand in the shade to wait for the boat. The only shade was against a cliff that jutted out a little so we couldn’t see the group but we could could see the boats and planned on walking over once the group boarded. We waited about 20 minutes and then the five of us started wondering what was taking the boat so long. Turns out there was another boat dock on the other side of the jetty which we couldn’t see from where we were waiting so we missed the boat! Luckily none of us panicked instead we immediately starting thinking of solutions (the biggest concern was catching up with the group before they left Portovenere). We thought the best alternative was to try to take a train to meet the group. After about 15 minutes we were finally able to reach our tour manger who told us to take the 5 o’clock boat and meet up with the group (luckily there was some scheduled free time in the next city so we had time to catch up with the group). We were all so relieved when we heard the news. The boat ride was also really beautiful so I’m glad we didn’t miss out on that! The boat ride took us past the other four villages; we had such a beautiful view of the houses tucked into the mountainside. The boat ride was about an hour long. Once we arrive in Portovenere we met up with the group and left for Pisa where we would be spending the night. I was so relieved that the group had waited for us that I didn’t even really care about missing out on exploring the other town.
My time spent in Cinque Terre was quite the adventure. If I ever go back I would definitely make sure to pack a swimsuit and I would want to hike along the trail between the villages. I’ve heard it’s an amazing hike so I would definitely want to make time for it next time.