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Alone With Michelangelo


She Loves Cinque Terre in Italy


Christy 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 promise!

We 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.

Pizza and a cute gelato guy...

After 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.

It was a treat to be there...

We 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.

One last bit of advice...

We 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!







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