A couple of weeks ago, we were so lucky to visit the Cinque Terre.
Five gorgeous villages clinging to the side of the mountains,
overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
The Cinque Terre means 'the five lands' and part of the Italian Riviera and now a national park.
We got dropped off at the second village called Manarola and after a leisurely walk through the town and watching the locals sun themselves on the rocks by the secluded cove, we caught the train to Corniglia, the third village.
We were greeted with the 382 zig zagging steps that would lead us up to the small village.
But it also lead us to the quaint restaurant overlooking the sea and a beautiful lunch.
A plate of the finest just caught seafood and a bowl of homemade pasta.
Simple yet divine.
A meal that would provide us with enough energy to hike the 4kms to Vernazza, the forth village along the clifftops.
It was hard.
The heat was probably the killer.
But to stop,
catch our breath,
and look back of where we had ventured from,
was quite rewarding.
Despite the heat!
And smile with pride of a hard walk to the pretty village that you stumble upon.
And reward yourself with a chocolate gelato....
And explore a busy little beach,
surrounded by history and beauty
and cool our feet in the calm waters of the sea.
We later caught the train to the last village, Monterosso, a larger town with the only sandy beach of the five villages.
A busier village, by far!
And yet, another chocolate gelato!
After being dumbfounded with the same colored umbrellas all in a row,
we caught a boat ride,
past all the villages,
right back to Riomaggiore,
the first village.
To sit back,
and look in awe
of the stunning coastline
and the destruction of the landslides from the floods a couple of years ago.
And to arrive at the start of the Cinque Terre but also at the end of our journey
and marvel at what we had just experienced....
Just truly stunning.