[twenty-cinque-birth-terres]

It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday and I’m twenty five years old!  I’m a quarter century old. It’s my birthday and I can use the word century to describe my age…

Oh god.

Just kidding. I’m not worried…

…because I still get carded. And sometimes old men in Boulder don’t think I’m old enough to vote [that’s another story]. And sometimes people still think I’m in university. And a lot of times I don’t feel 25 anyway.

But it’s my birthday! And I want to hike!

And hike we did. The most beautiful hike of my life through Cinque Terre. So, without further ado, here’s a picture blog of our day, my birthday. I’ll walk you through it. Hold my hand. I SAID HOLD MY HAND!

Okay! Ready?!

Oh. Wait. Disclaimer. Sometimes you might see some recycled pictures because Matt helped me frame some of the pictures and we just had different favorites.

Okay. READY!

We woke up a bit late so I convinced Matt to drive from Casa Borsi to Riomaggiore. We only turned around one time! Once we started to see signs for Cinque Terre, we knew we were golden. The view was incredible. And it would only get better.

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Once we got to Riomaggiore, we walked through town to take the train up to Monterosso. The view from the train station was terrible. What a crummy place to wait for a train. Honestly, Riomaggiore. Get a view.

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If you don’t know Matt, he loves the ocean. And so began our day of beach-hopping. I’d put it right up at the top of my list of new favorite things to do. It’s up there with restaurant-hopping, Disney-movie marathons, and weeding. Stop judging me.

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After a bit of ocean-side lounging, we grabbed some lunch in town. Monterosso was pretty neat. Definitely lots of places to eat…but it also felt very touristy and busy. We walked around town in search of some postcards but the prices just weren’t right. We didn’t explore every nook and cranny, though, because we were on a more important mission. We were hungry hungry hippos.  And, once our bellies were full, we set off in the direction of Vernazza.

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The hike from Monterosso to Vernazza was wicked hard. [I threw in the wicked for you East-Coasters.] Seriously. The trails were narrow and steep. It was like being on a StairMaster for 90 minutes. My body just wasn’t ready for it. But, one glance to your right and you knew all the sweat was worth it.

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Vernazza was a colorful, fun, fishing town. At least I think it was a fishing town. Could have fooled me with all their cute boats and bright café umbrellas. We took another dip along the port. The beach here was rockier [aka literally no sand] so it was a bit uncomfortable laying out on a rocky rock…first world problems, amiright? We spent a couple hours in Vernazza and then made our way to the next path. Just as we were climbing up, you guessed it, more stairs, we overlooked a beautiful sandy beach hidden behind the other side of the port. Bummer. So, learn from our lesson. Go to the sandy beach closer to Corniglia!

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Next stop: Corniglia! This hike was also tough! The sun was beating down on us while we trekked through another 4km or so of lush green mountain trails. Another 90 minutes of uphills and downhills and one-person trails…all made easier when you could look out towards the sea.

Corniglia was great . The atmosphere and environment was different from the other two; it just felt more cozy and quiet. I really liked it.  We treated ourselves to some amazing gelato that Rick [Steves] just so happened to recommend as well. It was the best post-hike snack you could ask for. Rick knows his gelato! I wish we could have gone for seconds! [We thought about it.]  Since the other Cinque Terre trails were closed [boo!] we took the train to the fourth terre.

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Manarola. Woww. We got into Manarola around 5pm or so and spent the longest time here. Matt took a final swim in the sea while I sat on the dock. We sat and watched the sun set below the horizon. It was beautiful. Just absolutely breathtaking! I’m a sucker for oceans. And clouds. And sunsets. And Cinque Terres.

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But our day wasn’t over yet! We headed back to Riomaggiore and make our way to Porto Venere for my birthday dinner. So, we said our Ciao’s to Cinque Terre.

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I don’t think we got lost on our way to Porto Venere at all! Which was a big success! Nothing’s allowed to go wrong on your birthday, anyway. Without showering, we did what all classy people do; we changed in the car and slapped on some perfume and deodorant to cover up any funky smells. [Don’t judge.]

Taking another chance on our host foodies, we had them make us a reservation at this sweet restaurant. They might not know left from right in English but they knew good food.

We started out with an appetizer with some sort of fish and bread. It was really good! I just wish I could remember which fish it was… For my main course, I had a yummy spaghetti with mussels and Matt had some sort of penne pasta with red sauce. We also made sure to have a bottle of house white wine for good measure. We were pretty lucky to have two great meals two nights in a row…and thanks to our hosts, no less.

While waiting for our check, I decided to peel some paint off the building. I like peeling things. I don’t know why. It’s my favorite part about sunburns. But I never get them. [I’m not Irish, I guess.]

At the end of the meal, while Matt went in to pay…he sneakily requested a birthday dessert. And so. I blew out my candle and made a wish.  But I didn’t need it; everything I had ever wanted was sitting right across from me.

…but then again, I’m not gonna turn down a free wish. I mean, come on..who’s gonna pass up a free wish?!

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After dinner we headed back to the car. Ready to navigate our way back to our temporary home. Except I was the navigator. And I was sleepy. Turning 25 is tough.

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2 responses to “[twenty-cinque-birth-terres]

  1. Is it normal for people to walk Cinque Terre in one day? I want to do it as well, but maybe in two or even three. Your photos are excellent–and I can really empathize with the mountain climbing, since that’s all I’ve been doing on the Camino de Santiago the past few days.

    • Yes! I think so! It’s taken us anywhere between 60-90 minutes to hike between each city. Then, depending on what you’d like to see in each village, you can estimate how long it will take you to see the region.

      After your trip, you’ll be in prime condition for hiking Cinque Terre. I, on the other hand, was sweating up a storm and out of breath to boot!

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