Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Cinque Terre or Bust!
When I came to Italy, I kept hearing about this place called the Cinque Terre. I was told it was beautiful and so amazing and a "must see" for Italy. It was really the only place I actually made a point to see.
It was about a two hour drive from Silvia's parents place when we drove over the the Southern Alps and I caught my first glimpse of the Mediterranean. I just about freaked out. It was the last of the major oceans in the world I have yet to see. As we pulled in the little town where we were to park our car and start the tour of the Cinque Terre, I literally almost had a panic attack as I ripped my clothes off and made a mad sprint to the sea. The crystal-clear turquoise waters were so enticing, I really couldn't wait any longer. I ran over the pebbly beach and dove head first into the water. As soon as the warm salty water hit my lips I knew I was in the Med. I'd made it. My second reaction was a bit startling too as I realized that the Med was actually warmer water than Indonesia. I floated for an hour.
For those that have never heard of the Cinque Terre, its a series of 5 little, colorful towns built into the cliffs of Northwest Italy. Relatively unknown to the world until backpackers discovered it in the 1970's. The only way of getting from town to town was by boat or walking. They have since built a road and train network to transport tourists and residents between towns.
Before Italy I have literally met 7 Americans in the previous 7 months of Traveling. I'm not joking. But here in Italy, especially in the Cinque Terre, it's all Americans. Everywhere you go, there are Americans. It's a bit overwhelming. After not seeing people from my country for so long, I am now able to spot them from a mile away. The accents, the clothes, the way they walk, it all has a uniquely, and familiar American signature. I think its awesome.
Despite the overwhelming number of tourists here, there is still an incredible charm to the place. A uniquely Italian village...or 5 of them for that matter, set among one of the most beautiful of landscapes in the world. The food is still uniquely Italy. Apparently in this region of Italy they are known for their Panini. Every town has its own flavour of culture and food. People are friendly, the food is delicious, the colors are brilliant, the streets filled with energy and the water is turquoise and warm. A place definitely worth spending a few days. And I was fortunate enough to do just that. Enjoy the picts.