Wednesday, July 1, 2015

One final post: Beautiful Cinque Terre

Well, It's a bittersweet moment, my last blog post of the trip. Its been an incredible ride and I've seen so many interesting sites, while having an awesome time in the process. Hopefully in the future I will get to come back and enjoy all the wonderful things that Italy has to offer all over again.

This past weekend, most of the group traveled to Levanto, where we got to spend 3 days in beautiful Cinque Terre. One of the days, 4 of us from the group decided to hike the entire trail of Cinque Terre. In Italian, Cinque Terre means "5 lands" and it literally is 5 towns or "lands" on the coast that we hiked: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. We actually hiked more than just the 5 cities because we started from Levanto, which is a 5 mile hike north of Monterosso. The entire hike was absolutely gorgeous.
My favorite part of the hike was in between Corniglia and Manarola. Even though getting to the beautiful area meant exhausting yourself on a near-endless staircase up an actual mountain, it was totally worth it in the end as I got to see incredible terraced vineyards, stretching along the entire side of the mountain, green and luscious. It is hard to put into words just because you're in a place where you're surrounded by beauty at every angle. All the grapes grown along the mountainside are all white and include the varieties of Bosco, Albarola, and Vermintino grapes. As a result, the only local wine is white, which makes sense because most of the cuisine is seafood, which is best paired with white wine. I can only imagine having to harvest these grapes, having to trek up and down the trail carrying multiple pounds of grapes as you do. It was tough hiking carrying only a backpack! Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to try any of the wine but I'm sure that it is probably delicious. In addition to making white wine for meals, Cinque Terre wineries are known for making a special dessert wine "Sciacchetrà". The name comes from the root word "sciacàa" meaning to crush in Italian and describes the process of the wine and all wine for that matter.

Our hike was incredible but also pretty exhausting. It was calculated that we hiked over 19.5 miles, took over 36,000 steps and climbed a hellish amount of stairs. But we finished the entire trail and it was absolutely worth it in the end. I will definitely remember all the terraced vineyards and the gorgeous scene they set agaist the colorful Cinque Terre villages and the vast expanse of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its a place I will never forget.


Cinque Terre: Terraced vineyards

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