The Cinque Terre

We spent two days (that flew by!) enjoying Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is five brightly colored cities nestled on the mountainside on the coast of Italy. The cities are connected by hiking trails (over the mountains) or train (through the mountains). There are very few usable roads that link these cities with the rest of the world. While the best views are seen while hiking from city to city, the hikes were too long, steep, and dangerous to take the kids on it. We took the train from city to city, but hiked up into the cities to find the best views from there. The first city we explored was Riomaggiore.

We negotiate with Charlotte, if she smiles pretty for a picture then we will take a silly face picture of her (and then we have to show her the picture). She’s a pro at her silly face.

We stopped in a little cafe for breakfast and ordered a meal that came with orange juice. We were not expecting red orange juice! Perhaps it was blood orange juice? Different, but really tasty.

We started hiking up through the city to get a good view. We found the perfect spot for everyone. A park with a spectacular view!

These photos really exemplify our entire European Adventure: Incredible vistas, and perfect parks. We’ve seen a ton of spectacular sights on our trip, and we’ve also visited a lot of parks. This one brought together the best of both worlds and kept both us and the girls happy.

Next we went and spent our afternoon in Vernazza.

We followed this paved trail up and up and up, and we didn’t know exactly where it was taking us. We were hoping for a view of the city. We were just about to give up (Chris was pushing the stroller with Charlotte in it, and I was carrying a sleeping Lucy, so it was hard work going uphill) but I said we should go just a little bit farther. That little bit farther was totally worth it, we found a great spot with beautiful views of the city.

In 2011, Vernazza was hit hard by a flood. There was a lot of major damage to most of the city and the first floors of nearly every building were destroyed. That is a lot of damage for such a small town to recover from.

The flooding did also affect other Cinque Terre cities, but none as much as Vernazza. If you want to see some pictures of the buildings after the flood and then after restoration you can look at them here.

I stopped in this little sandwich shop to grab some lunch and wow it was really, really good. I wish I had gone back for another piece. It was an open faced sandwich with mozzarella and tomato. For many years I never really liked tomatoes, that is until I realized that I was just eating terrible tomatoes. Garden fresh tomatoes are way better than off-season store bought tomatoes. And I don’t know if they were, but these tomatoes tasted like they were picked that morning. Yum!

While waiting for her pizza, Lucy walked up and down and up and down these stairs. Passerbys were super nervous watching her go up and down the stairs because they were a little taller than normal stairs, but I knew she could handle it. She’s a stair master!

On day two, the forecast called for rain most of the day. It was our last day in Cinque Terre, so we decided to gear up and head out anyways. When we hopped off the train in Monterosso, it wasn’t raining yet, and we were really hopeful that it might not rain at all. Then about 12 minutes later while we were deliberating our food options (because Chris is always hungry) it started to rain pretty hard. We ducked into a shop for a few minutes while we figured out our game plan. The rain was off and on all day, so we did our sight-seeing in the small windows of nice weather.

Monterosso was the city hit second hardest by the flood in 2011. This wall has the high-water marks. The lower one is from 1966 and the highest one is from the 2011 flood.

This strange little building down on the rocks is a bunker from WWII.

If you look really closely, you can see three other Cinque Terre cities in the distance. You should be able to see all four of the other cities, but it was a little foggy so it was difficult to see the fourth one.

From here we headed off to catch our train to Rome! Our train was leaving in the afternoon and with so much rain we initially thought we were going to be sitting at the train station for hours waiting for the train. But it cleared up enough that we did a lot of sight-seeing and then made it to the train station with only 9 minutes to spare! We didn’t think we were cutting it that close, and I’m so glad we made it.

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