Throwback Thursday Travel #6: Cinque Terre, Italy

confused dasher, cinque terre italyIf you have never been to Cinque Terre, I hope you will get to visit in 2015. It is gloriously beautiful!

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Cinque Terre: I found true paradise (Part Two)

Don’t miss PART ONE of the paradise 🙂

When I said Vernazza was the most physically demanding part of the tour, I really meant it. After Vernazza, everything was a breeze.

The next village was Monterosso, just 5 minutes away by train. The town was heavily damaged by the flood in 2011, but it seems to have restored to normal. We were allocated about an hour here, so we mainly strolled along the beach, savored gelato and popped in some gift shops on the main street. Beware though because most are tourist traps.

Monterosso, Cinque Terre Trek. A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera! Walkabout FlorenceMonterosso, Cinque Terre Trek. A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera! Walkabout FlorenceMonterosso, Cinque Terre Trek. A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera! Walkabout Florence [Read more…]

Cinque Terre: I found true paradise (Part One)

Cinque Terre Trek, A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera, Walkabout florence tour, vernazzaI’m falling severely behind on the posts about my recent trip to Italy and France, so I’d better move fast before memories get all blurry.

I have two rules when it comes to traveling. The first mentioned in my previous posts is rain and museums/churches go hand in hand. It simply means when it rains, I will hide in the churches or museums. Pretty self-explanatory, huh? Trust me, if you stay in a city for more than 3 days, at least one of them will act out.

The second is if I can’t pronounce the name of the place I’m heading to properly, I will join a tour group because I always have this nagging inkling that something crazy would happen. For instance, I practiced saying Cinque Terre until my tongue got twisted to no avail. What came out of my mouth was a messy mix of Italian, English, Vietnamese and maybe Spanish (?) that I didn’t even understand what I had just said. It was extremely absurd, so as rules have it, I booked a tour.

HAHAHA, I got you!

No 24 years old and 16 years old who have the guts to travel almost half way around the world on their own for a few weeks much to their parents’ dismay will make up an excuse that silly to join a tour group. The truth is Cinque Terre or the Mediterranean sea for that matter has always been on my bucket list.

Before I embarked on the trip, I googled until my eyes bled about how to best explore Cinque Terre. As with anything and everything online, the opinions go both ways. Some say “on your own, without a doubt” while others suggest the tour they participated in.

Being a young semi-adventurous 20-something, I have never been a huge fan of guided tours. I used to think that they are boring, cookies-cutter and strictly catered to either the elderly or lazy tourists. For the purpose of full disclosure, I still think that way on rainy days. LOL.

However, my experience with tours usually has proved otherwise. Last summer, I went to Cambodia on a tour and had some of the most interesting encounters ever. I still touch base with some of them occasionally, which is pretty uncharacteristic of me given the short span of the friendships. I thought to myself: “why not this time? We will have been in Italy on our own for almost a week by then. Let’s do something different.” One tour that consistently came up during my due diligence stage was Cinque Terre Trek by Walkabout Florence company. (Note: I have absolutely no tie with the company whatsoever. This is not a PR post, sponsored content and what have you. I’m simply recounting my experience as a traveler who was on the tour. So…don’t worry :))

In my opinion, there are a handful of places on planet Earth where words become redundant and pictures don’t do their beauty justice. Cinque Terre is unquestionably one of those. For that reason, I’ll keep this post short and sweet and let the photos do most of the talking. I’m sure y’all like it better that way too.

Still, if you’re not exactly familiar with what all the fuss about Cinque Terre is, please let it briefly introduce itself HERE. Then if you want to know what the Cinque Terre Trek tour covers, THIS is your friend.

We were able to bank on our youth and paid discounted prices for the tour. That is you aren’t considered adult unless you’re over 27. Two things about the tour that I was very fond of are punctuality and professionalism. Our guides were Julian and his younger brother Alex. They are American Italian, have been living in Florence for a number of years thus quite enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the area. The itinerary gave ample time to explore and get a good feel of each of the five towns.

Manarola was the first stop and gave us a glimpse into what would be expected the rest of the day: stunning ocean views, colorful nooks and crannies and an array of quaint shops and boutiques.

manarola, Cinque Terre Trek, A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera, Walkabout florence tour, manarola, Cinque Terre Trek, A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera, Walkabout florence tour, It was a short train ride from Manarola to Corniglia. I myself don’t like trains a lot, but seriously with window views like this, I think I can train my life away. Cinque Terre Trek, A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera, Walkabout florence tour [Read more…]