Apr 29th, 2019, 09:44 PM

Cinque Terre: A Breathtaking Experience

By Cinthya Franco
Vernazza. Image Credit: Cinthya Franco
Cinque Terre is considered one the most beautiful places in the world.

I have always felt connected to the sea. A cliché phrase perhaps, but very true for me. The grandiosity of the ocean has never ceased to surprise and amaze me. Both wild and calm, the ocean evokes different feelings in each one of us. Interestingly, all of us perceive it in a different way and apply it in a different context. However, it is undeniable that its mysterious history, as infinity as its own, makes it perfect for admiration.

Vernazza, one of the most picturesque villages in Cinque Terre. Image Credits: Cinthya Franco

Born and raised in Ecuador, I am still very connected to my roots. I left half of my heart there when I left almost two years ago, and with that, my family, friends, and everything that once was my entire world. After almost two years of not seeing each other, my cousin, whom I am very close to, decided to visit me in Paris. For the two weeks that she was here, we explored (and got lost) in the most remote corners of Paris. After doing all the touristy activities, and after many glasses of wine and croissants later, we decided that we wanted to take a trip outside The Ville Lumière. Planning has never been my thing. I am very accustomed to my other siblings taking care of trip itineraries and all that entails, but here I have had to do all that myself, and I must admit I’m not too good at it but I still love it. I enjoy being the captain of my own boat, of my own times and schedules. After going through an extensive and somewhat unrealistic list of places we could go, we decided that Italy was the winner.

View from the beach at Vernazza. Image Credits: Cinthya Franco

All of the bookings happened on a Sunday night, in just 45 minutes. Without thinking it through, we only knew we wanted to be close to the ocean and so we google-ed (like most millennials) “the most beautiful Italian villages by the ocean.” The first thing that showed up was Vernazza, one out of the five villages located in Cinque Terre, a coastal area located near La Spezia, Liguria, in northwestern Italy. This district encompasses five stunning towns that fascinates tourist with its natural beauty. The five villages are called: Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Wednesday night, we were rushing to Porte Maillot, as our dreaded 12-hour overnight bus was leaving at nine pm. Half-laughing and half-crying at the fact that we were going to be sitting in non-reclining seats for 12 hours was killing us on the inside, but this didn’t bring our excitement down. We had a full itinerary of the things we wanted to see and eat. When we arrived to Vernazza we both gazed in awe. It’s picturesque views are something that will be forever engraved on my memory. The weather was perfect. Not too hot but also not too cold. We started walking around Vernazza and decided it was time for lunch. After several entrees and main dishes later, it was time for dessert. A gelato is always a good idea, especially when in Italy. I was indecisive as to what flavor to pick, while my cousin knew exactly what she wanted. I asked the lady at the gelateria which flavor was the most popular, she pointed to the cinnamon one. After we got our gelatos, we were ready to enjoy the view. We sat right by one of the oldest church of Cinque Terre, and enjoyed the view and the sweet, smooth textured silky gelato.

Gelateria. Image Credits: Cinthya Franco

It was still early evening when we decided to walk towards our next village, Monterosso. In approximately two hours, we were in another completely different environment. A less vibrant but still captivating and breathtaking view of the ocean. With a more spacious beach, we decided to take a walk barefoot in the almost white gritty sand. We imagined the water was going to be cool enough for us not to even try to get in, but we decided to touch it with our feet. After realizing that was a bad idea (we didn’t have any towels) we buried our feet on the now golden sand to warm our feet. As we kept walking, the only thing ahead of us were two giant rocks. The familiarity struck me, as I felt that I had seen this exact moment before, perhaps in pictures or in a movie. We saw some people climbing it, and we decided to do so too. It was an odyssey climbing the rock, but worth every scream of fear and drop of sweat.

Monterosso al Mare. Image Credits: Cinthya Franco

From the top, the infinity blue sky was decorated with big fluffy clouds. It was hard to distinguish the ocean from the sky. It seemed almost like there was no separation in between. We stayed there for over an hour, listening to some instrumental music and sitting on the rocks, admiring the immensity of the ocean. The humid sea air, the promising sunset, the waves hitting the shore, all of this reminded us how important is to appreciate these moments in life, the moments that can only be replicated in our memory afterwards.

View from the top of the rocks. Image Credits: Cinthya Franco