heaven on earth // Cinque Terre

1:46:00 AM

Five girls and a priest hike through five towns in Italy...

Recently, I traveled to the mediterranean coast of Italy to hike Cinque Terre with four other girls and a priest from Africa. It was a last-minute, spur-of-the-moment decision to make the trek south but I had a feeling that Cinque Terre was a place I should not and could not miss. I was right. 

Every since travelling to Florence my first weekend, I have fallen in love with Italy. The food, the people, the wine, and the feeling that floats through the air stole my breath and won my heart. 

There is something so intimate about Italy that it is so comfortable. Since that first weekend in Florence, I have returned to Italy to visit Cervinia, Venice, Milan, and Rome, but Cinque Terre is undoubtedly my favorite spot in this country. 

The hike through the five towns begins in Monterosso, where my oddly-mixed group sat down for a quick cup of espresso and a fresh croissant. The morning was simply perfect with a warm sun over the bright blue rolling waves and we sat, contentedly, as Monterosso began to wake up.

Eager to hit the trail, we began our trek along the coastline only to be diverted to the mountain trail due to flooding and construction. I truly think this was a blessing, however, as we were then able to hike through the lemon trees and look down onto the rocky coastline. 

The trail was covered in delicate yellow flowers as butterflies filled the air and lizards scurried across the path every five feet. 

The greatest parts of hiking Cinque Terre were the moments when you would round a corner and catch sight of the next town with its colorful buildings squeezed together on the coastline and you would think "That's where I'm headed," and you would get yourself there happily. 

Town #2 - Vernazza - is the most authentic and darling Italian town I have ever seen. Every shutter was open, little boats filled the cove, and small children ran through the alleys and past old men enjoying their morning espresso. 

At one point on my hike, between towns 3 and 4, I physically could not hold myself back from smiling. I was in complete bliss. With Foster the People blasting from my headphones, the Mediterranean sun beating down, and a trail through someone's backyard of vineyards, I was close to skipping in happiness. 

After visiting so many large and crowded European cities, I was so exhausted and was craving the outdoors and an opportunity to just get lost. Cinque Terre was everything I needed for a fresh mind.

It's hard to describe happiness in its entirety other than saying that is overwhelming, but in the best way. To say you are completely content with a moment and yourself is a true blessing and something that should never be taken for granted. 

After all my travels and after all the places in this world I have visited, Cinque Terre is the one place that I will undoubtedly return to because I would and will give anything to experience that feeling again.


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