Today, we are happy to welcome Taylor Meade from Tracing the World to Those Who Wander with a guest post about her recent trip to Cinque Terre!
By Taylor Meade
Waking up at 5 a.m. was not the easiest thing to do, but traveling to Cinque Terre is a memory I will never forget. As many of you may know, there are a few cities that have a hold on my heart, three of these cities being Kent, Chicago, and of course Dayton. Yesterday my roommates and I traveled to Manarola, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare, three of five smaller towns within Cinque Terre around two hours outside of Florence, Italy. After an amazing day of sun, I cannot help but add Manarola, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare to the cities my heart holds onto.
We first stopped in Manarola (pictured above), a tiny town with colorful houses, amazing cliffs, and slippery rocks perfect for pictures. It was by far one of the cutest towns I have ever been in. One hour in this town was not enough time and I cannot help but to want to travel back just to explore more. Filing on the train to head over to the next town, Vernazza, was something I will never forget. It was so cramped and I could not help but think about whether someone was trying to pick pocket me. Once in Vernazza, my roommates and I stopped for seafood at this little shop. We kept hearing that we had to eat the “seafood cones.” I had mine filled with shrimp and fries and then my roommates and I headed up into the mountains for a hike. According to the locals, the hike is anywhere from three to seven miles and it was by far the most exhausting and challenging thing I have ever done. After years of sports and staying active, I completely underestimated this hike. Words cannot describe how beautiful the view was the whole way. I feel so proud to be able to say I accomplished the hike. (Special thanks to my awesome roommates for the encouragement along the way.)
After an hour and 45 minutes of hiking, my roommates and I made our way to Monterosso al Mare, another small town of Cinque Terre, which consisted of mostly beaches. Seeing the view of the beach from the hike only encouraged us more to keep moving forward. There was absolutely no hesitation after that long hike to jump into the ocean immediately. We completely forgot to wear sunscreen (regretting it now, loving it later), so we look like lobsters today. I could not imagine a better way to reward myself after the hike than floating in the ocean enjoying a frozen margarita and buying an adorable tapestry for Kate and I’s apartment when back in Kent. While out in the ocean I could not help but think about how thankful I am for not only this travel opportunity but to be able to travel all around Europe.
As mentioned above, my roommates and I planned this trip through Bus2alps. To be honest, at first I was a little skeptical of this traveling service after I was approached by their recruiters outside our school building. The more and more my roommates and I looked into the trip, the more I realized how many great opportunities this program offers for reasonable pricing. I am in a loss of words to how wonderful both of our leaders were. When paying for a service like this, I am sure most people just expect to be led to their destinations safely. Our group leaders, Adam and Giovanna, exceeded my expectations greatly. Not only did I feel safe and welcomed (even in a group of 52 students), they individually reached out and gave great advice on exploring Europe altogether. I now know that they will be a valuable resource in the future.
I ended the day with complete exhaustion, an excessive amount of bug bites, and ridiculous sunburn, but I could not be happier. Next girls trip, Prague.
This blog originally appeared on Tracing the World.