Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mediterranean Moments- The Cinque Terre

My final travel diary from my Italian getaway- The Cinque Terre. Five beach front cities, along the cliffs on the Mediterranean. It is no exaggeration to say, this place was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to (and I try to avoid hyperbole). Sparkling turquoise waters, white pebbly beaches, purple blooming bougainvillea- The pinnacle of idyllic escapism. We drove the coast line mountains, on tiny winding roads to reach Monterosso al Mare. This city is the most similar to a beach side resort out of the five. We stayed in a  family owned hotel that greeted us with white wine made in the region. Monterosso's shore is lined with colorful umbrellas, and a long cobble road that leads to the old town. Everyday, we rented an bright orange umbrella for sunbathing and swimming. If you know me, this is my heaven. What makes the Mediterranean unique is its warm temperatures and lack of waves. A much different view than my California sandy beaches. I truly have a love affair with this region (You'll notice it in my traveling patterns, where I have already been to Nice, France, the Amalfi Coast, and Sicily. Hopefully next up is Greece!)
-Make sure to hike to the tops of each of the different cities. The best view is the bird's eye view. Take in the pastel colored buildings, veins of vineyards, and stone supported structures. When in Vernazza climb to Castello Doria (Yes it is a castle). 
-Be prepared to walk and hike. There are steep hills in all of these towns. I wore my comfortable sneakers or simple sandals. 
-Once again, get up early. Beat the crowds in the ports, the trails and the beaches. One morning we woke up at 6am and went for a swim at the beach outside of our hotel. The middle of the day, the beach is filled to the brim with tourist. 
- My one souvenir I purchased for myself hand painted ceramics. I love the lemon patterns, even if its a little cheesy. We found a little shop with a local artist painting in store.
-We booked our dinners late so we didn't miss the sunset every night. The sunsets are like water colors here. Don't forget to get outside and walk the city (as late as 845pm). 
If you haven't noticed yet, I love going off the trail. One visit to Vernazza, Sam and I crouched through a cavern, to discovered a more secluded rocky beach. The cliffs were covered in cacti plants. The waters were much calmer than the busy beaches and the bustling harbor. I would swim out far into the sea, and float on my back looking up to the clearest blue skies. I feel like Italy is a place that connects me to my confidence. Italian women have an inert ability to exclude geniune confidence. No matter what age, they feel sexy in their own skin and absolutely speak their mind. While soaking in the Mediterranean sun, I reflected how this would be my take away from the this trip. Whether swimming in the Italian Rivera or hustling around Los Angeles- I can own my power just like the women of my heritage. 
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The ideal way to visit the other towns is by boat. Grab a ticket, and cruise port to port in a local tourist boat. It is worth it for the views, verse strictly taking the subway trains. The boat takes you to Vernazza, Corniglia which rests on top of a hill side and requires a 382 step hike to the city center) Manarola, and Riomaggio. We mixed it up, first day taking the boat route, second day taking the train to Corniglia then hiking the picturesque trails to Vernazza. 
Don't miss out on seafood during a visit. The mussels + calamari + lobster are unbeatable. Below are three restaurants we all enjoyed. All in Monterosso because after 7pm the trains end (and you don't want to get stuck in a city because transportation is nearly impossible.) Also we ate dinner around 830-9pm during our stay. 
Ristorante Miky- Upscale but worth the splurge. If you're like my mom who loves Rick Steves (just google him if you have no idea what I am talking about), he has a whole episode eating at this spot. Family run, exceptional presentation. It was right next to our hotel which made the walk quite easy. 
Ristorante Ciak- This restaurant is located in the old town. Ok, but if you're very hungry go here. The portions are insanely huge, but not in a touristy trap way. They cook all the pastas in these giant pots that they serve you from. This restaurant is also family owned, and believes in maintaining cooking + farming traditions of the local area. 
Ristorante Da Scienza- Another local spot, and it was our last meal in Monterosso. The service here is fantastic- we befriended our server 'Daniel' (he was proud of his American sounding name). Just add it to your list, the seafood risotto and pesto is a must. 
Thank you for following along on my travel diary. If you have any questions- please do not hesitate to reach out. I am hoping to continue to bring more destinations to East West Edge. 2017 has slated Napa, New Orleans, New York City so far! Seeing the world is so important, and will continue to make it one my highest priorities in life. Where are you traveling to the rest of 2017?


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