Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

A human who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Is this real life?

Manarola, Cinque Terre - Italy
Traveling abroad for the first time can be difficult based solely on the fact that you are time warping across the country. After flying for 16 hours and finally arriving in Nice, France I still had a good 6 hours on trains to get to where I needed to be in Italy. I was thrilled for my first train experience. I knew exactly what to do and where to be and when to be there and BAM! Train station closed due to maintenance: Challenge Accepted. I found my way to a bus and a lovely English couple who led me in the direction of another train station. I then utilized the help of a study abroad student walking to the station, who actually bought my ticket for me and set me off on the right train. After a few sketchy connections, thinking the train was going backwards, and 6 more hours of traveling I finally arrived in Cornigila (the village with the highest altitude)   and had to walk up THESE...

Corniglia, Cinque Terre - Italy

Luckily, my new friend Mike who I was meeting up with had a bottle of wine and sandwich waiting for me off of the train. We hiked our way up these steps, cracked open the bottle of wine and ascended even higher to the roof of our lovely room rented off of Airbnb. By this time it was nearly midnight and after 24+ hours of traveling and a half bottle of vino, I was spent. 

I couldn't have picked a better place to start off my journey! I am sure most of you have seen the images of these colorful and vibrant Italian coastal villages, and probably had similar daydreams to me. Let me tell you, waking up that morning felt like magic. I woke up exhilarated, stepped out on the balcony and breathed in the fresh Italian air. A little old woman peaked her head out of her vibrant yellow shutters and I smiled while taking the chance to practice my Italian by muttering a quick, "Buon Giorno". I didn't want to seem like I was trying TOO hard.   

Cinque Terre translates to Five Lands. All of these quaint little villages are nestled together along the west coast of Italy separated by amazing hiking trails, gardens, and incredible views. Each has something a little bit different to offer so if you go, make sure you explore all of them. There were tons of places to take a nice, cool dip along the coast. We settled for a rocky area with a cave off to the left that we explored. The hiking is really what sold me on this place. I can't even begin to explain it, it's unreal. 

We hiked and ate as much as we could, wandering throughout the villages in-between. We were booth supposed to leave on a Monday, but one of the trains was delayed so we would both miss our connecting trains. Instead we settled down at the closest bar to the train station and started drinking, naturally. That night ended in me losing my phone and a whole compression pack of clothes, and a pair of boots (which I didn't even realize until I found them). Yes, after searching the next morning for a few hours - trying to retrace our steps - we found my boots underneath a table outside a bar with my phone tucked neatly into them. The bar had my sack of clothes. Lucky is an understatement. 

You can not go without eating melon and prosciutto - it is the perfect combination for those of you start drooling at the though of anything sweet and salty. I used to hate tomatoes, literally hate. But since I knew I was coming to Italy I trained these taste buds of mine to sack up. I stopped asking to have them taken out of things and gradually worked my way up to ordering plates of them while traveling.   

I bought chickpea flat-bread from a little side shop in one of the villages. Apparently it is a local specialty. It was delicious! If you find it, give it a try :)

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