Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's the Climb

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” 

-- John Muir


Counted among the most beautiful regions of the globe, Cinque Terre was the destination for our group's most recent weekend trip. Twenty-four students embarked on the five-hour journey north of Florence to the western coast of Italy.

After settling into the incredible accommodations in Levanto, one of the small towns near Cinque Terre, the group hit the beach and the town to explore.

Thousands of people flood to Cinque Terre each year to hit the trails that run from one town to the next along the spectacular  landscape. The next morning, that is just what we did. Beginning in Corniglia, which we reached by train, the group hiked an hour and a half to Vernazza and then two more hours to Monterosso for an afternoon at the beach followed by fresh seafood for dinner.

Miley was right, its about the climb, not the destination. Each town was interesting and uniquely beautiful, however, the trails took my breath away (no pun intended!). Along the gorgeous hike, each view topped the last. During the hike I was able to truly appreciate the impact that horticulture had on my experience. Trees, vines, bushes, and periodic small farms composed the gorgeous landscape. 

The first town we saw, Corniglia, was actually my favorite. It was the smallest that we passed through, made up of small vineyards lining the steep hills and crumbling buildings clumped together in a disorganized fashion. I liked the smallness of Corniglia. The town was more authentic and less touristy. It felt almost accessible, as though I could have put an offer on one of the rundown farmhouses and lived out the rest of my days tending to my own small vineyard at the edge of a cliff.

Boaters enjoyed the beautiful waters
Cherry tree in Levanto

Peaches along the trail in Corniglia

View from Corniglia

Flowers of all colors lined the gorgeous trails



Hiking buddies for the day! 

Locks of love along the trail left by backpackers from around the globe.

The beach in Monterosso was just what we needed to cool off after hiking!

The trails, the towns, the nature, and the beaches were a recipe for the perfect weekend in paradise. If you are planning a trip to Europe, definitely put Cinque Terre on your short list.

Ciao from Italia!


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