My family arrived in Italy on August 9th to take an amazing whirlwind trip around the boot-shaped country in just two weeks. By August 14th, we had arrived in the Liguria region of the Italian Riviera on the Mediterranean. The following is an account of the days we spent in the quaint and beautiful region known as Cinque Terre.
2:30 pm: My mother, father, brother, and I arrive in Levanto, the doorway city to Cinque Terre, after a lengthy TrenItaila train ride from Venice. When we exit the station, we find ourselves in one hundred and one degree humid heat. We called our hotel, l’Abetai, and they sent their shuttle down to pick us up.
2:45 pm: When the shuttle van arrives at the station to pick us up, we load our luggage in the back and climb in. The twisty road lined with pine trees up to our hotel that was nestled in the mountains reminds me of my home in Eastern Washington. Later I discovered that Abetai actually means pine tree in Italian.
3:00 pm. We get to the hotel, and marvel at the beauty of the new buildings, and their rose gardens. We walk into the lobby and breakfast hub of the hotel, and the owner signed us in. She was incredibly hospitable. My brother and I were hungry, so she made my brother and I each a panino with ham and cheese and a bowl of fresh fruit. She was one of the nicest people we met on our entire vacation.
7:00 pm: After relaxing in our comfy air conditioned rooms, we proceed to the restaurant, also owned by the hotel. Among traditional Italian dishes on the menu were some exotic, local, fish. Deciding to be daring, we order the fish. When the fish is served, we are taken aback with sight of the whole body of the fish, head included, on the platter. Despite the presentation, the meal was outstanding.
8:00 am: We wake up in the morning, and on the recommendation of the owners of the hotel, decided to embark on a hike from the last city of the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore, to the first city, Monterosso al Mare, with stops in between at the three remaining cities, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Manarola.
9:00 am: We board the short train from Levanto to Riomaggiore in order to hike to Monterosso al Mare. We allot a few morning hours to take our hike, and plan to follow it with a trip to the beach.
9:35 am. Amidst our hike, we discover the actual length of the journey. We had thought it was about 5 kilometers, an accomplishable length before the heat of the day. We were sorely mistaken. 13 kilometers, 11 of which were unpaved mountain goat trails, between the fifth and first city were an especially daunting task for our family. Despite this discovery, we continued on our quest for exercise and beauty.
12:30 pm: We’re four hours in, and two remain. The temperatures are scorching. My energy is failing, but the beauty of the landscape and coast line is too magnificent for words.
1:30 pm: We reach Verazza low on stamina, but with full camera memory cards. A rousing speech from my father about “finishing what you start” inspired us to finish the hike.
2:15 pm: We conclude our hike finally, the gorgeous views of the cities, wowing us right until the finish. We stop at the first beverage and gelato shop we could find, buy ourselves some chilled treats, and enjoy the stunningly picturesque Liberian Sea.
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