Kummer is a twenty-something Journeywoman and staffing coordinator
living in Santa Cruz, California. Last year she travelled with four
friends to Cinque Terre and offers this mini report on one of her
favorite places in Italy. Christy writes...
I spent a
few weeks traveling through Italy almost one year ago and I am still
dreaming about it. It's magnificent! I highly recommend the area
called Cinque Terra (Five Lands). These are five tiny seafront villages
that are on the west coast of Italy, not easily accessible by car
but very easy to get to by train. The train stops at all five villages
so you can get off as you choose or take the amazing hike from the
first to the last village. My suggestion is not to do the full hike
in one day. If you do, be prepared to take the train back to whereever
you started from because your legs will be jello by the time you
finish. Whether hiking or sightseeing through a train window you
will enjoy scenery unlike any other you have ever seen before. I
stayed in Riomaggiore...
We decided to stay in
the village called Riomaggiorre. This is the fifth and last
village in the chain. There is a small rental office right
in the village that can rent rooms in homes (these are not
hotel rooms by any stretch of the imagination). There are
no hotels in Riomaggiore but we did manage to get a room with
a kitchen and three sets of bunk beds. My suggestion regarding
accommodation is to try to arrive in town as early in the
day as possible. This way you'll have a better chance of securing
a room before the other tourists start arriving.
and a cute gelato guy...
we settled in, we each ordered and finished a wonderfully
big, whole pizza (that's the only way they serve pizza here)
and topped that off with the best gelato I have ever tasted.
Not to mention, the most beautiful man I have ever seen serving
gelato. I felt like I was 12 again hanging outside the ice
cream shop to get a look at the cute boy. We ate an awful
lot of gelato while we were there. The cute boy even started
giving us 2 for 1.
a treat to be there...
found that the best thing to do in Riomaggiore was to shop
for produce from the local markets (there are two in the village
we stayed in) and then prepare our own Italian specialities.
A stop at the town's wine shop helped to keep us within our
daily travel budget.
Reminder: The shops and
businesses here are only open from 10:00 am - 2:00pm and 3:00pm
- 5:00pm. Two to three o'clock is siesta time in Cinque Terre.
There is a beach in Riomaggiorre
-- perfect for catching some rays (if you get lucky, that
is). It rained when we were there but it was so warm we stayed
in our bikinis. There are some tourists in this area but not
the number that we were expecting. In fact, most tourists
come in on tour buses for an hour's stop and then they leave.
Cinque Terre still very much belongs to its residents and
they want to keep it that way.
last bit of advice...
spent three wonderful days in Riomaggiorre. It was one of
the most magical experiences of my travelling life.
One last bit of advice
to other Journeywomen visiting this area. Have some hot chocolate
while you are in this part of Italy. By comparison we, North
Americans, have no idea how to make this drink. This was the
richest, creamiest, most chocolatey hot chocolate ever to
pass my lips. It actually was more like 'drinkable pudding.'
Oh, how I want to go back
to Cinque Terre!