The next stop was La Spezia, my camp for Cinque Terre visit in next three days. A bit about Cinque Terre and why i decided to do a bit detour to the left side of the map from Bologna.
Cinque Terre is literally translated as Five Lands. Its five villages on the coast of Italian Riviera: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. All of this area is part of the Cinque Terre National Park and also a UNESCO Heritage Site.
This stop was originally not in my list; i even didn’t know its exist before. This place was a referral from a great friend of mine with this comment, “How come you don’t know about Cinque Terre?” Come on, I know things, but not everything.
Two things convinced me to visit these amazing villages. First, people usually ask this question, “Which one do you prefer, beach or mountain?” – as if you only can like one of them. I like both. And, in Cinque Terre, both of them co-exist, side by side. I didn’t need to choose one of them. Second, i love their pastel colours! Very much!
Visiting Cinque Terre could be done in various ways, like hopping on and hopping off train from La Spezia to all the five villages or hiking through its walking trail. There were unlimited day passes for tourist or simple one-trip train tickets. The trip from one village to another village was very quick, 6-minutes or less.
There were some walking trails that connected one village to another village, like Monterosso-Vernazza, Vernazza-Corniglia, Corniglia-Manarola, Manarola-Riomaggiore, Riomaggiore-Portovenere, and Levanto-Monterosso. More information can be found here. One thing though, always check whether the trail is opened or closed due to weather conditions. There were also bus running between the villages, but better check the local website for the price and schedule here.
My favourite villages amongst the five was Monterosso and Manarola. In Manarola, there was this track (part of walking trail) uphill where i could see Corniglia from a far. I also could feel the breeze of the wind and enjoyed a wide open sea scenery without anything blocking my sight. In Monterosso, even though its Autumn with drizzling rain, i loved to sit near the beach, watching the waves, clouds, and sunset. It was mesmerising and calming.
However, my best moments was meeting my friend, Sarah. I mentioned her once before, in my post in Milan. It turned out that we crossed our path again in La Spezia. We had a great dinner with great stories.
I adore her. If people called me brave, i think she is one level above me. In such a young age, she travels alone. Most of the time, she has no fixed plan, just following her intuition to visit one place to another. To pay for her travel, she often works in the hostel she stayed. She loves hiking – Cinque Terre is so for her. She is allergic to wheat, but she loves Italy so much. She even learns Italian during her travel. As i write this months later, i still giggling when i remembered the stories we shared, the young girl at the back seat of her car. I never had a reason to come to US before, but now, why not?