Day #7: July 5, 2009
“So Worth It”
We get up and gladly check out of our “PlUS Camping Roma.” We head to Florence, meet up with Amy’s parents (they were on a week Italian trip themselves), and all head to Cinque Terre, Italy. [Pronounced Chink-WA Ter-ray]. Getting there was another adventure in itself. After a train delay, we were on a train for 3 hours with no AC and no flowing air from the windows. Pure misery. We finally arrived in Cinque Terre at 6:00pm. We go to our room, get settled a bit, and explore the town.
All of the traveling from the day before and day of was worth it for the hidden treasure of Italy! What Santorini is to Greece…Cinque Terre is to Italy! The colorful Cliffside villages overlooking the ocean was absolutely breathtaking.
We sauntered around the quaint town and found a restaurant in an ancient castle overlooking the town and sea. It was incredible. I ordered spaghetti with meat sauce and tried everyone else’s meal. INCREDIBLE! Who needs Olive Garden when you have the real thing?!
Day #8: July 6, 2009
After having the chance to sleep in (10am!), we headed to a little café by the harbor to eat brunch. I ordered a ham/mozzarella/tomato/basil Panini and breathed in the scene. We all went back to the room to prepare for our 1.5 hour hike to the next town. Cinque Terre is made up of 5 towns, we stayed in the 4th called “Vernazza.” The rigorous hike wasn’t too bad, but we were literally climbing up and along the Cliffside to the next town. I’ve hiked different trails, both in the states and in other countries, but nothing compares to this hike. I saw fresh fruits growing on plants such as lemons, grapes, & tomatoes, the crashing waves on the rocks, hidden doors leading to gardens, and trinkeling waterfalls. I didn’t think I’d enjoy the hike as much as I did, but oh I loved it! Yes, there were some scary moments so close to the edge, but the risk was worth the journey. Helen Keller once said, “Security is mostly a superstition, it does not exist in nature…Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
Once we finished our hike, we explored “Monterosso,” the 5th town of Cinque Terre. For dinner, we decided to picnic by the sea. We bought salad leaves, tomatoes, cheese, grapes, and what we thought would be bread, was really fries! We also had a red pesto and green. I smothered the red on my salad and the green on my fries. To give you an idea how good this pesto is…well let’s just say pesto originates from Cinque Terre, Italy! (True fact!) From now on, instead of ketchup packets, I may be asking for “pesto packets!”
After a long days escapade, we took the train at 9:30pm back to our town to get crawl into bed. We get to our room and Amy’s dad goes to unlock the door. Here is where the next adventure occurs…! He accidently dropped the key, the key slid under the door and down the step. Yep.
Now we are locked out of our room and have to borrow a cell phone to call the landlord. We call, he doesn’t answer. We start going all over the town to ask local business owners if they knew him and being that it was such a small town, many did. One lady who knew him called him, his parents, and other people to see if they could contact him…he was unreachable! Now it is like 10:30pm and are basically homeless! The lady who called everyone who knew the landlord (even his own parents!!!), also owned a few rooms for rent. Well, she only had one open and gave that to Amy’s parents for free. So where did Amy and I sleep? Ahhh, the story continues…
While the lady was trying to find accommodations, she goes to these two single women (in their late 20’s/early 30’s) from Wisconsin and asks if they wouldn’t mind if we bunked with them! (I’m not joking!) They had an apartment for a night and had two rooms. One room with bunk beds and another with a queen! They were very sympathetic of our circumstance and eagerly welcomed us with open arms! They gave Amy and I the room with the queen bed and they took the bunks. They offered us all of their toiletries and put face wash/toothpaste/shampoo/etc. on the table for us to use. They even gave us each a set of clean pajamas to wear! We didn’t really talk long- they were on their way out for the night. Though they invited us to join their outing, we readily washed up (can I recollect that rigorous 1.5 hour hike now!? One word: sweaty), and headed to bed!