Life Doesn't Get Much Better Than This
Cinque Terre Travel Blog› entry 21 of 98 › view all entries
'Did today really happen? Did I seriously go swimming in the Mediteranian?' I ask myself as I sit down to write this. I've got 405 pictures downloading to my computer right now, so it must have. Yes, all of them were taken today, in case you were wondering. A dreary rainy day was the forecast, but I was ready to set out to discover the Cinque Terra nonetheless. Then I woke up and a true miracle happened; there was not a single cloud in the sky. Ever since I saw pictures of this national park in Italy several years ago, it was decided that I had to go, and I was determined to get postcard-perfect photos of all five cities, less easily done in the rain.
Once in Manarola I started snapping photos everywhere, and soon ran into three guys taking in the view. They didn't look entirely European, giving me the hope that I could actually talk to someone for a few minutes, which would be refreshing after yesterday's almost forced 'me day,' where I stayed mostly in my own head as I found no one speaking English in La Spezia.
The first leg of our journey was pretty steep up the mountain and I found myself out of breath. Promising myself I'd be in the best shape ever by my return to the States, I kept on without asking to stop til they did. It made me feel better though that one of the Sam's was behind me and panting like a dog. I may have been short of breath, but a tiny bit proud I could keep it a secret. We stopped every so often to take photos, passing locals carrying loads of firewood on their heads like they have probably been doing for generations. Being away from the whole tourist crowd and just out in nature was truely a treat and very refreshing.
A short break brought us to the shade of an olive orchard, where we wandered off the path a bit and found a magnificent view of Manarola, the second city. Time after time we kept finding great places to take pictures, even one of Steve slipping halfway down a hill (cutting himself several places) just to scramble halfway up a tree so we could take a photo of him in the air and the magnificent landscape behine me. After about two hours of hiking along the ridge of the mountains we found ourselves descending steeply into the next city where we grabbed a much needed beer and piece of pizza at a Focacaria, where we met two other Canadians. After swapping stories and resting we were on our way and on the hunt for a beach.
A foreboding fence and gate with a big sign warning us not to enter was given about 2 seconds of thought before Steve (of course Steve) scaled it and was on the other side. 'Dangerous Descent,' a sign further warned us once we were all in. Eh, it didn't look so bad to us so soon we were scrambling over the rocky beach to take in the views from a rock imposing a pretty mighty presence along the shore.
More hills and cute seaside towns later and it was time for a swim. We all stripped down to our suits and went for a quick dip, me taking more convincing than them as it was absolutely freezing, but I couldn't miss a chance to swim in the Mediteranian. The water surprisingly had a bit of rubbish floating in it, so I didn't go all the way under, but drying off an tanning on a rock in the sun was the best feeling ever.
Soon we were again craving more food, wine, and beer. Since I had to make my way back to La Spezia, I just had a few sips of wine with my second meal of pizza for the day. We settled down by the shore and rocking boats while we ate our small feast and enjoyed the sunset and got to know each other a little better, laughing with little Sam (the younger one) as he attempted to open a bottle of beer on a rock with little luck, and swapping photography tips and information to keep in touch.
Another successful day in my adventures and I couldn't be a happier girl if I tried!