Nicole O'Neil Photography
Okay, so I slept 9.5 hours and still woke up feeling like I had slept 3. I hoped my body would just adjust fast, but am realistic that won't happen. haha. However, I couldn't let that stop me from getting up right then and tackling all that I wanted to see! I got ready and went to the local bar (coffee shop) for cappuccino. I also got a chocolate croissant. It was not the best breakfast and very different from my breakfasts at home (oatmeal and spinach/banana smoothies), but hey, i'm in ITALY! And, I think it was canceled out by the yogurt I had before leaving the room (right? No? Oh well!). It was delicious and so worth it. I mean, this is why I eat healthy and go to the gym, right?
I planned on taking it easy and ease into all of the hiking and steep hills I would be climbing this week. So, I wore a dress and sandals. I figured, "Hey, i'll just walk the flat trail that leads to the next village, walk around a bit near the harbors of both villages, hit the beach, and take it easy." Uh, no. I walked up the street of Riomaggiore (where i'm staying) and found a hiking path I had no idea existed. I decided to check it out (yes, stupidly in sandals). Luckily, it didn't both me at all. It was quite a hike though. The thing about the trails (and villages in general) is that they are filled with stairs, rocky pathways, and more stairs. It wasn't bad. I guess the 6-8 hours I put in at the gym every week help! I made my way up passing through many gardens and small vineyards. They grow EVERYTHING here. The gardens are all up in the mountains and older woman and men go up and work in them. As I walked, I mostly heard rushing water and birds. There is running water through and under every village. You can hear and see it through grates in the streets and in small waterfalls and streams. Occasionally, I would hear people or cars once I was near a road. I was pretty far up and came across a bunch of little baby animals (NO idea what they were) blocking the road. Then, their mother came and started making some weird noises in my direction. I decided to turn around since I was alone and hadn't even seen another person for about 20 minutes. So, I don't know what's at the top, but I hope to get back there and at least the view and scenery on the way up were fabulous!
Flowers just grown out of every wall, nook, and pathway.
The next picture is in Riomaggiore. It is
Those who followed my trip last year may remember "Lover's Lane" which connects Riomaggiore to the next village, Manarola. It goes all along the coast. You look down and just see rocks and then the crashing waves. There is a great history of Via dell'Amore here: The Love Story behind Via dell'Amore. The first picture is the view of Riomaggiore from a pathway up above the church. And the following are the iron hearts linked together over the entrance gate.
The View of Manarola from the trail.
And, here we are in Manarola! The bright sunlight is KILLING me during the day taking pics. Oh well, This place is beautiful no matter what. ;)
And because I know some of you are all about the food (You know who you are. haha), here is what I had for lunch. A caprese on fresh focaccia. Seriously with the food though. Everything is so fresh and good. The tomatoes are literally the sweetest and best i've ever had and I say that every time I come. And of course, the cheese and bread are amazing.
The boat ramp.
View to the next village, Corniglia.
When my sister and I were here last year, we had walked through Manarola. I discovered a new path this year though and it was amazing. It was a path up along one side of the village that was straight through the middle of gardens and small vineyards and the view was AMAZING of Manarola! Here are some shots from my walk.
After that fabulous scenic walk, I took the train to the 5th village, Monterosso al Mare. I decided to have some gelato to cool down after a lot of hiking and walking. Stracciatella and Nutella...yum. Don't fool yourself with gelato back home. It is nothing compared to gelato in Italy. I went recently to the N End with my friend and we got some. I mean, it was good. But not great. Here, you could easily get addicted to it as well as Nutella. They literally put Nutella in everything...gelato, crepes, croissants. They love it!
And then, I went and took a break on the beach for 1.5 hours with my book and ipod. HEAVEN.
A look back at the other villages.
And a look back to the beach.
The other beach in front of the main village.
The village and mountains above.
After exploring and stopping in a photographer's gallery that I went to last year (and talking shop and making plans to go out and take pics together), I went back to Riomaggiore.
Okay, so for the foodies, I went to dinner down on the harbor and sat outside. I brought my sister's nook so I could read since I was by myself. It's SO nice to read. It's been forever. I finished "Heaven is for Real" between when I got here and the end of dinner. :)
So, I started with a delicious white wine that was made right here in Cinque Terre.
I then had a mixed salad that was the best salad I have ever had (and huge!). Everything here is extremely FRESH which I think I said before. I ate about half of it so I could keep room for dinner and desert.
My main dish was Tuna (UNBELIEVABLE) and Mediterranean style vegetables. All of it was amazing! Don't worry people. I'll eat pasta the other two nights I do sit down dinners. I know that's what most of you are really waiting for. ;)
I finished it off with some Tiramisu. Of course, the best tiramisu ever and I couldn't finish all of it. Also, some Grappa, which there isn't a pic of. But it was good. :)
To end my night, I sat on the rocks out on the harbor and took it all in. I listened to the waves crash and just enjoyed. Hope you enjoyed Day 1! I'm off to finish my Day 2 and take some sunset and night pics in another village!