Cinque Terre, Italy

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This was one of the highlights for me. Cinque Terre means Five Lands and it’s a series of five towns along the Ligurian coast in northern Italy. It’s about half an hour from Milan. We stayed in Vernazza, one of the towns in the middle. There are hiking trails that connect the towns and we hiked to Corniglia and to Monterosso; the rest of the coastal trails were closed for repair. There was a major flood that hit Cinque Terre in 2011 and they’re still rebuilding. The guest house we stayed at is still being rebuilt.

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We’re staying at a guest house tucked up into the hillside run by a fellow called Guiliano. He’s a character. He met us at the train station, shook our hands heartily, grabbed my (large and by now bulging) suitcase, and took off with us in tow, up the hillside, my massive suitcase slung over his shoulder, about 150 (very steep) steps. He was turning around and pointing things out to us and talking to other people along the way, as I huffed and puffed behind him, struggling to keep up as he navigated the steep and sketchy stair made out of rock as we made our way up to the guest house.
He’s in the process of rebuilding after the flood, and has finished all but one of the guest rooms. He works on the property and the room for most of the morning, takes a break in the afternoon and then works at a restaurant in the square most evenings. He complains about everything and has many opinions about everything, which he likes to share loudly and often. But he’s got a good heart and his musings mostly come across as more hilarious or funny than offensive. And he likes us, so I guess as long as we’re not the source of his disdain, we’re doing alright.

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Our days have a nice rhythm here. We eat breakfast and check the internet at a place that has good pastries and decent coffee. We go for a hike for a few hours or make our way to the next town and have some beach time. We come back and have a bit of a lazy late afternoon. We walk around some more, go for dinner, go to bed and get up and do it all over again the next day.

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Hikes to Monterosso and Corniglia.

We met a really lovely couple who were staying in the little hut next to us. They’re an American / Australian couple, and she’s also pregnant and there are echoes of our lives that seem to parallel in a really special way. We had dinner with them and generally spend hours and hours late into the evening talking with them. It’s nice, at this point, when we’re missing friends and family to feel connected.

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Not much else to say. We had a great week. The landscape is so incredibly beautiful, it’s just been so lovely to soak in the days slowly and happily.

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