Monday, August 6, 2012

Cinque Terre: 30x30 Outift 13A

Swimsuit, Cover-Up: J Crew final sale ($9.99 and $14 steals!) / Top: Consigned CK / Belt: Ruche / Shoes: Privo

Today we're backtracking to finish the posts on our European trip and my Europe 30x30 from last summer. So let's pretend it's July 2011, and get this show on the road, shall we?


I switched my Outfit 13 dress for a swimsuit cover-up and threw my Keens, a towel, and sunscreen in my backpack for our trek through Cinque Terre, five old Italian villages set on cliffs along the Mediterranean shore, just north of Tuscany.  You can hike a rugged trail along the coast between them, but there's also a train that goes through the mountains just inland.  We headed first to Levanto where we took the train to Riomaggiore, the southernmost village, so we could hike our way back up north through the five villages.

Riomaggiore sprawls through a ravine along the coast, with colorfully classic Italian houses tumbling up the cliffs on either side. If we go again, we'd hike up the hill to get a view of the village from above. This is what it looks like, but the station left us just north of it (left in the linked photo) on the other side of the hill, with the village out of view.  We saw these terraced vineyards, which are plentiful in this region, and didn't realize how pretty the city on the other side was.

Check out that sparkling clear-blue H20. Sheer perfection.
From Riomaggiore, we took the Via dell'Amore trail for a 20 minute hike to Manarola, the next town north. The Via dell'Amore, or Walkway of Love, was the first path to connect any of these 5 villages, built in 1920. Lovers from the two towns met here, carved their names on the rocks and cacti along the route, and began the tradition of locking a padlock around a rail to signify their love. Very charming, indeed:

After a look about the town, we detoured to a rocky area north of Manarola, where you get spectacular views of the classic, colorful city against the cliffs for which Cinque Terre is so popular.

This area also features the best swimming, and of course that is what most excited the Husband. Deep swimming holes beneath breathtaking yet manageable cliffs, and he's higher than a kite on adrenaline and excitement.

I might've been a bit scared at first. But people above were watching.
This one was small enough that I could dive. From here, we have no photos because we had to leave the camera on the rocks to swim to the better cliffs. We swam around some rocky points till we found an ideal cliff, about 40 something feet, with easy climbing access. We each went twice, and people on the trail above cheered and clapped for us, which helped me not chicken out. And also kinda feel like a rock-star. I'm pretty sure that's my highest jump yet.

The water was perfection. Amazing temperature and clear as the sky, though it was saltier than the Pacific or Atlantic. We took goggles to look at the schools of fish, urchins, and anemones. 

Views of Manarola. Photo on the right is taken from Corniglia.
The trail to Corniglia, the next town, was blocked due to landslides, so we went back to Manarola and hopped the train, which dropped us off at the bottom of the the Lardarina-- 382 brick steps up the cliff leading to Corniglia. And I'm not at all ashamed to say that I did it in my swimsuit. It was hot.

Corniglia is the best town for getting away from all the tourists, probably because of all those stairs. Also, it's the only one of the villages that sits atop a large really high cliff and doesn't have direct sea access.  There were lots of pretty vineyards and flowers, though.

Next, we took the 90-minute trail to Vernazza, which offered spectacular views of both Corniglia and Manarola in the distance. 

Vernazza is the most exciting of the villages thanks to it's natural harbor, shops, pedestrian-only streets, and castle ruins. It juts out on a tiny peninsula with vineyards along the hillside above.

Here we grabbed some of the region's famous foccaccia sandwiches {foccaccia originiated here, and pesto also originated in this region}, a spinach torte, and of course, some fresh gelato. This time I got peach along with my usual chocolate and strawberry. 

This shop's resident cat kept a close eye on us. You never know when a human is about to swipe a scarf. Or drop some food.
The last hike, to Monterosso, is supposed to be the longest and most difficult, but also feature the best views. But it was getting late after exploring Vernazzo, so we hopped the train again instead. 

In Monterosso, the Husband swam again while I waded in the clearest water in the world.

 Then we enjoyed the sunset light from the pebbly beach.

That's Vernazza all lit up by the sunset in the valley to the right.
For dinner, we had to try the sardines, for which this place is renowned, but they were pretty dang salty. We also ordered my favorite apricot juice, another foccaccia sandwich, and the best bruschetta in the world. Best ever, I tell you. Five perfectly toasted pieces of a grainy bread, brushed with the perfect blend of fresh olive oil and garlic, and each piece topped with something different: homemade pesto, tomatoes with amazing seasonings, tomatoes and pesto together, garlic, and sardines. I was sure I'd gone straight to heaven.

Apricot juice doesn't last long around me. Why oh why can't this become a staple in the States?!
It was the perfect end to a perfect day. At the end, we caught the train back to Levanto and made our way back to our cozy room at the Cuccaro Club for the night. 


Gracey at Fashion for Giants said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos. Thank you for sharing!

Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

Isn't' Cinque Terra the most amazing place ever?! My favorite place I have ever been!

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