Friday, June 25, 2010

La Bella Italia + Cinque Terre

Welcome again to my new readers! What a great thing it is to be able to say that! Yay! Thank you! All is well here. The doggies & I are back to our normal routines, & I've been able to talk to Don on a regular basis! Even Skype video chats! Hooray!!

Italy, beautiful Italy! What a fabulous place! It was so nice to get away for a while, to remember that there is more to life than the military, deployments, & waiting for the time to pass until my husband comes home to me!  I had such a wonderful time on this trip.  It was through a group on Post, so everything was planned for me!  All I had to do was get on a bus & enjoy myself for a few days!  So...where do I start?! I've decided to write separate posts about this trip since I visited more than one city.  I'll go in order, so to start will be the five beautiful towns of Cinque Terre!

The town of Vernazza
I got on the bus on Post to join my tour group, & I could tell right away that my friend Hayley & I were going to have a fun time. What a group we had, such a mix of people. Our drive to Cinque Terre was a grueling 12 hours overnight, so we were pretty tired when we arrived the next day as the rain fell from the sky. We checked into our hotel & went out to explore the stormy towns of Cinque Terre. What a bummer the rain was! We were a bit disappointed, but that wasn't the case the next day when the sun was shining bright! What a beautiful place!

Hayley & I split from the group the next day {during our "free time"} & took the train {the only real way to reach the towns} from one end of Cinque Terre to the other. We had so much fun exploring the towns & all of their little shops. There was a lot of hand painted pottery & ceramics for sale along with a ton of beautiful {& fairly inexpensive!} jewelry. I did more shopping on this trip than ever before. We decided that there must be something about Italy that makes you want to shop!

Bougainvillea &Hydrangeas
Beautiful bougainvillea & huge multicolored hydrangeas could be found everywhere you looked, which made me very happy!  The Mediterranean Sea couldn't have been more blue, & the old slightly unkempt buildings made for a very charming feel!

Hayley & I both bought ceramic jars with a pour spout for storing olive oil, I bought two cute little handmade paper notebooks, & of course we bought postcards & gelato too!  The last night we spent in Cinque Terre, we met as a group for some wine at a little bar & then dinner at a restaurant shown in the first photo, underneath all of the orange umbrellas.  We had stuffed mussels, pasta with basil pesto {which originated in Cinque Terre!}, & delicious local wine!

One of my favorite things that we did was to walk along the Via Dell'Amore {The Walk of Love}.  This trail connects the town of Riomaggiore & Manarola & it is lined with notes left by couples to commemorate their love.  It's so cute!  There are thousands, & now, I'm proud to say, Don's name is next to mine right there along the Mediterranean!  {I posted a photo at the end of this post!}  Hayley & I had to do that :)  Another tradition along the Vie Dell' Amore is to put a lock on the gates or fences along the trail.  There were thousands of these also!  It was so romantic.  I would love to walk this trail again one day, with my sweetie's hand in mine! 

The symbol of the Via Dell' Amore.  See the hundreds of locks placed on the fence behind the statue?!  ♥
Cinque Terre was a place unlike any I've seen before.  The towns of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are built right into the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, making for incredible views from each one!  There are no fancy hotels, no expensive cars, no modern buildings, just peace & charm amongst the old multicolored buildings.  What a wonderful place!  If I had to pick my favorite of the towns, I wouldn't be able to!  They all have their own personality!  I'd love to go back again one day when all of the hiking trails are open so that I can see more of the beautiful landscape!

A view from Corniglia.
There we are!  I love you, sweetheart!  Always!!!
post signature