February 5, 2012

2 Friends + 5 Italian Towns

The next stop on our crazy 'best friends in Europe' agenda was Cinque Terre, Italy, without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I've EVER been (so much so that this was my third visit), so I knew Smitty had to see it. The first time I came with Christian and his friends for a day trip from Tuscany and the second time (and the same summer as my first visit!) was when me and one of my best friends Courtney (we basically became friends then planned a trip the next week, more on that later!) spent 2 sun-filled days lounging in the Italian sun and eating gelato for breakfast. En route from Paris, Smit and I flew in to Pisa, grabbed a bottle of wine from the station and hopped on a 45 minute train headed north to La Spezia then on to the first village--Riomaggiore. Cinque Terre means '5 villages' in Italian and is made up of 5 beautiful seaside towns each connected with a hiking path through rocks, hills, vineyards and olive trees. Just before you reach each town, the trail descends just in time for any onlooker to feast their eyes on one of the cute towns ahead. 

The 5 towns--Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Verzazza and Montesorro al Mare--sit right on the Mediterranean in the Liguria region of Italy, which is also the home to pesto (is your mouth salivating yet?).  When Smitty and I arrived we immediately grabbed (another) bottle of wine, stuffed veggies and a freshly baked focaccia from a tiny Italian deli and headed straight towards the rocks to watch the sunset from Riomaggiore. At this point, we figured we should probably eat dinner (as opposed to our not-eating-dinner-escapades in Paris 2 nights earlier!) so we escaped into a cozy little place ordering--what else--fresh pasta with pesto...well...and another bottle of wine :). We must have been eating dinner for hours, because by the end we were the last ones in the restaurant and our humble waiter (we named him Petrie) started bringing us limoncello shots....champagne came later. Can you say hospitality? We never finish our evenings without a nightcap so we hopped in the Med for a quick night-time swim! Yet another bottle of wine may have been involved...

The rest of our time in Cinque Terre was spent wandering from village-to-village indulging in endless gelatos, swimming in natural pools in the sea and soaking up the sun. There's a reason why I've been here 3 times, the entire region is absolutely beautiful---delicious food, warm blue water and down-to-earth friendly people who are so proud to be not from Italy but from Liguria. A fourth visit is on the horizon too! I can't wait to show my parents this place in May :).
 


4 comments:

marissa at the boot said...

i lol'd at the freschello! nice! :) so glad you and your friend had a good time!

melanie said...

sooo your life is awesome and i am insanely jealous.

Rachael said...

Marissa I love Italy! It's always a great time. Ya know that quote "Paris is always a good idea"...I say ITALY is always a good idea!! Even every news stand sells chilled bottles of wine and has an opener AND plastic cups! That would never fly in America! That's reason #345 why I love Italy :)

Karm said...

Wow those photos are amazing. I love the food... and the warm sun... awe. It's not winter there ): haha Thanks for sharing!!