I went on my first weekend adventure to Cinque Terre with a large group of friends. We ended up splitting into two smaller groups, but I had one of the most incredible experiences on this adventure. I spent my time climbing through the mountains with Allie and Megan, finding our way between the cities.
The five cities known as Cinque Terre are located along the coast in Liguria, a region in north-west Italy. We started our day in Monterosso, the northernmost city, and worked our way down through Vernazza, Corniglia, and Manarola, to get to Riomaggiore. While the cities had some similar characteristics, they were all beautiful in their own ways.
During this exciting first day trip away from Bologna, I learned learned a lot about staying positive and making the most of every situation. There were some moments of spontaneity as well, which made for an interesting day! Although we started off with a specific plan for our day, things got a little complicated, which is when we just decided to enjoy our time and go with the flow.
We started in Monterosso, where we the larger portion of an hour exploring the streets and some of the little city shops. Looking ahead, we had mapped out a route to hike along from city to city. But about after about ten minutes along the path we realized we need to pay €7.50 to continue the rest of the way. No way were we going to spare that precious money saved for our pesto dinner!
So, we decided to take the “red” route which we were told was free. What we didn’t learn until about an hour up the main road, was that the red trail would take us three hours up to the top of a mountain and down the other side into the next city. However, the hike turned out to be an incredible adventure! The views we had looking back at Monterosso, and forward at Vernazza, were breathtaking.
What we didn’t spend on taking the shortcut hike was a great time talking and joking about our big adventure through the mountains. Allie, Megan, and I laughed about our desperation to avoid paying leading us to this big, wild trek. We all managed to have a great time, and rather than being upset about the three hour difficult excursion, we stayed positive and gladly enjoyed each other’s company and the beautiful views we were lucky enough to witness.
Since we managed to escape the cost of the original trail, but spent a good portion of our day in the mountains, we ended up taking the train to the other three cities. Ironic, right? We didn’t want to pay €7.50 for a hike, but decided we would spend a total of €5.40 to avoid trekking another three or more hours between each of the next cities.
Corniglia was our next stop after Vernazza, but we didn’t find the city too interesting. From stepping off the train, we spent a total of about 15 minutes in the city. Then we were off to Manarola where we enjoyed a delicious gnocchi di pesto dinner with a bottle of wine between us three. Manarola and Vernazza were my favorite cities, hands down. Lastly, we met up with the rest of our friends in Riomaggiore where we did a little wandering, shopping, and eating gelato.
Although things didn’t go according to plan, I had one of the best days since arriving in Italy at the beginning of September. By deciding to remain positive even through our long haul between the first two cities, I found the experience much more exhilarating. We figured that complaining wasn’t worth it at that point, we just had to go with the flow of our choices and make the most of our situation. Plus, we got in a GREAT workout during our escapade!
I’ll always remember to keep a positive attitude in difficult situations, especially after some of the crazy adventures I’ve found myself on so far. Sometimes it might be worth the €7.50 to get a little extra time in each city. But for the three of us, spending priceless time finding our own way across Cinque Terre was much more memorable. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing about that unexpected day and the path we chose to take!