Wow. Time has flown by. It seems impossible that four months ago I was hugging my parents goodbye in the Minneapolis airport and now I am on my final trip of my experience abroad. Enjoy every second of it because time really does fly by. Our final trip began the same way our first trip did, which included a few minor bumps along the way.
Lauren, Paige, Renee, and I decided to travel north to Cinque Terre and spend a night in one of the small villages. Lauren and I took an early train because we were done with class early and Paige and Renee would just meet us at the hostel. We got on our train towards Pisa to catch our connecting train and were having a grand old time. We successfully found our connecting train and sat down when Lauren suddenly shot out of her seat and screamed, “Oh my god, Anna! I forgot my purse on the other train!!!” If you remember, Lauren is also my friend who was pickpocketed in the first month we were in Italy. We quick grab our belongings and sprinted off the train to find our previous one. I was laughing so hard at Lauren’s horrible luck and couldn’t keep up. I decided to wait to at one of the main areas of the train station for her to come back. Ten minutes goes by. Twenty minutes goes by. Thirty minutes go by and I become slightly worried and more impatient. I went into a McDonalds to get Wi-Fi but none of my messages were sending to Lauren because she didn’t have service. I quickly messaged Renee about what happened, that I was lost, and to send me her train information so I could meet her at the station. Lauren had all the information about where our hostel was so I was literally helpless. I didn’t even know what city we were staying in. Note to self: make sure you know all your travel information and don’t depend on just one person to have it all figured out. I patiently waited about two hours for Renee and Paige to get to the train station and thankfully found them. Renee was able to use her phone to call Lauren to make sure she was ok. She was able to find her purse and catch the next train towards Cinque Terre so some how, we missed each other wandering around the station.
We arrived in Riomaggiore and randomly ran into Lauren wandering the streets. It’s a very small village but we didn’t expect to find her right away. She led us to where we needed to go to check into our hostel then took us to our room to drop our bags off. The hostel manager accidentally grabbed the wrong keys when he originally led Lauren to our room and didn’t want to turn around for the correct keys so we got upgraded to their most expensive room because it overlooked the water and infamous view of the city. By no means was the hostel super glamorous on the inside, but it was very cool to look out the window and see a view that normally is only seen on a postcard. You can easily do Cinque Terre in one day and I would recommend doing it in one day to save the money. It will be a busy day of catching trains and walking, but there isn’t much to do if you do stay the night. We walked around the city and sat on a big rock to look at the view for a long time. We didn’t get to the city until 4:00 pm so by the time we wandered around it was already 8:00 pm. We had some dinner and gelato then made our way back to the hostel. We went to sleep early so we could get an early start on our day to make it back to Florence at a reasonable time.
We began our trek through Cinque Terre in Monterosso. We quickly learned that the trains were never on time and usually over 10 minutes late. When we finally caught the train and got to Monterosso, we weren’t exactly sure what to do other than walk along the beach and it was only 8 am. We found a little breakfast shop and got some pastries and a coffee. I’m not exactly sure what the name of the place was called or what I had, but it was hands down some of the best breakfast food I had. It was almost like a little mini apple pie and so good that I decided to have two. We walked along the water some more and watched the waves for a bit. These waves were absolutely massive! I wish I had an accurate way to describe them but I have never seen waves so big crash into a shoreline before.
Our next stop was Vernazza! We walked around the town and poked into little shops before heading up to the highest point of the city. We did have to pay a euro to get to the top but it was worth it! At the top, we met a couple from Seattle who talked our ear off over an hour.
Corngila was next. Be prepared to sweat while walking up at least 100 steps to get to the main part of the city. We roamed the city for a bit to try and find the famous view of the city but really struggled. Instead, we took pictures of what we thought was the view and called it good then found some lunch. I had some of the best bruschetta and cheap wine. I could have poste up all day there but unfortunately the group wouldn’t let me. *cue dramatic eye roll *. We trekked down the never-ending stairs to catch the train that was over 30 minutes late 🙂
Our final stop through Cinque Terre was at Manarola, which ended up being my favorite city. I could have easily spent an entire afternoon staring at the view and watching the waves crash into the rocks below. Other than walking around and just taking in the scenery, there isn’t much to do in these cities. Cinque Terre can easily be done in one day. As you can tell, all we did was eat and stare at the scenery before chasing the train to the next city. My poor photography skills did a horrible job of showing how beautiful these villages were so please do not let it deter you from visiting them!