Cinque Terre has always been on my bucket list of places to visit during my stay in Italy. I was thrilled to learn that my program offers a weekend trip to the beautiful riviera coastline. The other students and I took a quick two-hour bus trip to the hill town of Levanto, where we stayed in the lovely family-run Hotel Dora. Our first activity involved taking a train to visit three of the five villages. We stopped at Manarola, Vernazza, and Monterosso. In Manarola, we hiked up a short hill to a lookout point where we could see the colorful buildings along the coast.
A must-try is the fried seafood, which is sold in all of the towns at small shops along the street. You can choose from fried clams, squid, baby octopus, anchovies, vegetables, and more. They serve it to you in a paper cone with lemon wedges on sticks.
Our last stop for the day was Monterosso, where we had some free time to spend exploring. My friends and I put on our bathing suits and ventured to the beach. However, rain drizzled on us soon after; we found shelter underneath a nearby restaurant’s patio umbrellas. The next day, it was once again cloudy, but we took a train to Riomaggiore.
My friends and I found a restaurant for lunch that looked out over the ocean. We were able to watch the ominous clouds roll in, as thunder got louder and lightning struck in the distance. Thank goodness the outdoor patio had a cover because the rain poured hard. We tried to but decided it would be best to go back home. None of us had umbrellas, so we ran through the empty streets of Riomaggiore, trying not to slip! We laughed at how ridiculous we probably looked; everyone else was watching us from their shelter. I think of the situation as a bonding experience with my friends, rather than let the rain ruin the weekend. The rainy weather could never dull the lively and charming Cinque Terre.
The world awaits…discover it.