While I am absolutely head over heels for mountains, I am equally in love with the sea. It’s surreal the bold colors of not only the water, but everything – from the houses to the greenery and even the food.
Italy was my parents and I’s second country visited after Switzerland. From Montreux, we hopped a train into the glorious Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is like hidden treasure with its five small villages, each with its own identity and culture on Italy’s west coast. As we slowly discovered four of the five villages during our two days, we took time to relax and enjoy the newness.
Since I already had a firm addiction of pesto on my pasta, that was first on my to-do list with the sauce originating in this northern Italy area. We searched out a precious little restaurant for the tasting of true Italian homemade pesto. It was divine. For our other meals we tended to stick towards our favorites with some Italian flare – my dad loves his meat, so he usually went for the meaty or fishy dishes; my mom and I enjoy our pasta, so we tried different variations of raviolis and noodle dishes. Of course gelato and fresh pastries were a must – we certainly indulged ourselves.
Besides eating too many calories, I would consider traveling itself to be a workout. Maybe it’s not easy to see in the pictures, but there are plenty of mysterious hills just waiting to be discovered by fit travelers. For the most part, we tried to follow our lovely guided books by Rick Steves, but one specific trail seemed to be off the grid. We searched for his incredibly detailed trail and instead landed in what seemed like hours of uphill climb. Hundreds after hundreds of stairs later, we discovered a beautiful (accidental) lookout over the Ligurian Sea – completely worth the sweat and adventure.
Italy may be one of my favorite traveled countries even though we didn’t actually see any of the usual-touristed places. There’s something intriguing about their life – so laid back, so at peace. It’s on my list of future travels, for sure.
Also, shout out to my co-travelers: My parents! They not only flew all the way to England to visit me, but let me drag them around Europe, onto trains, into unknown places. What great sports!
Until next time,