September 24th and Octobrer 1st
We could say that we traveled to Cinque Terre and spent the time getting to intimately know all of the unique towns. We could also say that we hiked the strenuous but beautifully scenic hikes. I think that most people would have those activities to check off their lists after visiting Cinque Terre, at least after the second time. Not us though. The water was too blue, too refreshing, and we could not possibly ignore the public beach of Monterosso that beckoned us like an old childhood friend.
My roommates and I had ambitious plans when deciding we would take the roughly 3-hour trip to the Cinque Terre. “We’ll do the hikes! Start at one town and head to the last!” rejoiced my excited comrades. We wanted to make this particular excursion when the weather was permitting, as the sun was fortunately on full blast through to the end of September.
Upon pulling up to the train station in Monterosso, all five pairs of eyes jumped awake as we could begin to spot glimpses of a vast blue that left us speechless even through the dirty windowpane. We couldn’t get off fast enough, as the tightly compacted mass of people poured out of the open doors.
We didn’t have any solid plans or the least idea of where to begin these recommended hikes. All deciding that we would ditch our previous and weak itinerary, the beach was enthusiastically agreed upon. We were picking up speed and basically running through the narrow streets trying to find the most direct path to the water. Once we discovered it, we rushed into the water, holding up our valuables as to keep them from also enjoying the salty Ligurian Sea.
The day was filled with laughter and sunscreen, as we contentedly welcomed the comfortable banter of many different conversations occurring around our designated plot on the pebble-strewn beach. The water was as clear as glass, and we took advantage of the one pair of goggles that were thoughtfully brought along. With them, or for the adventurous; the unprotected open eye method, allowed us to enjoy everything that existed under the waterline.
There were many open-air eateries along the coastal line, as to provide customers with a meal with a spectacular view, which we decided made the price for a light pasta lunch that much more justifiable. The Australian couple sitting next to us kindly recommended the anchovy platter, but none of us were brave enough. They also warned us against attempting to hike backwards from Monterosso, as they experienced the hard way that the labor intensive route should be left solely to the advanced hikers.
After hours in the water, we hopped on the bus back to the first town, Riamaggiore. This town, although on the same coast, was very different in appearance. It was more compact and the houses and buildings stood cramped on the hill, where as Monterosso’s structures were more laterally and sporadically placed.
That next week, we decided last minute on Friday night to return to
Monterosso the next morning. This time around, we decided right from the start that the beach would be there waiting for us and we fully intended to enjoy it. Although we bummed more like locals than tourists seeing the appropriate sights, there was something so magical about quietly exploring the streets, savoring the views, and soaking up the salty atmosphere.
Lisa is a junior at Nazareth College. She is a Communications and Rhetoric major with a focus in Photography and Marketing. She loves the art of capturing the moments of life.