Destruction in Cinque Terre

Today I read some very sad news. The villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre were hit by a horrible rain storm that caused flash floods. So far I have read that six people died. Restaurants, shops and homes have been flooded and destroyed. People have been evacuated by sea and many people will be homeless.

This photo was taken from The Globe and Mail.

Natural disasters happen all the time and each time  my heart goes out to the people who have to live through them. This is the first time a natural disaster has happened in a place I have visited and truly love. I blogged about Cinque Terre a few months in my excitement to go back and visit soon.  I visited Cinque Terre when I was studying abroad in college and instantly fell in love with the area and decided it was one of my favorite places in the world. I was in the middle of planning a trip back there with my husband in May of 2012 when I stumbled upon the sad news.

Photo from the National Post

Cinque Terre consists of 5 little towns, or villages– Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. When I visited in 2007, I hiked through the towns with a backpack on my back and my camera in hand. I was amazed by these little towns. They had so much charm and character and such beautiful, beautiful views of the Mediterranean. Italian music played as we walked through the towns and enjoyed the scenery. I felt like I was in a scene from a romantic Italian movie.

These photos were all taken on my 2007 trip in Italy.

As an out-of-shape college student walking through these towns I remember wanting to give up and hop on the train to the last town, essentially skipping the three towns in the middle. It was hot, I was tired, and I was carrying a huge bag on my shoulders. The sun was beating so strongly on us and of course we were not dressed appropriately for the trip. I was wearing heavy long jeans and an uncomfortable tank top and sweating like crazy. But my roommate at the time and I decided to deal with the heat and heavy bags because we wanted to be able to say “I hiked through ALL of Cinque Terre” and that is exactly what we did. We didn’t want to miss any part of these towns and now, more than ever, I am glad we didn’t quit.

We kept going until we reached the very end of the last town, Monterosso, and we could see the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. We hadn’t brought our swimsuits but the water looked amazing. We stopped at the first little street vendor we could find and bought over-sized t-shirts and towels. We changed and ran into the water. It was the best feeling to know we kept going until the end and were able to enjoy a little relaxation before hopping on a train back to Torino where we lived.

In the latest article I read, the Mayor of the small town said “Monterosso no longer exists.” I can’t imagine what it must look like now. It’s hard to picture the beautiful place I visited being destroyed by flooding.

My thoughts go out to the people of these little towns and all the other areas in Italy who have been affected by this natural disaster. You had a beautiful place to call home and I hope you can rebuild your lives shortly.

Have you been to Cinque Terre? What was your experience like?

You can read more about this on CNN.

I Heart Travel, Part VIII – England

Not much to say about my short trip to London. I loved London, but I usually love most European cities I visit. We stayed in a cute little bed and breakfast, did a lot of sight-seeing around the city, went up in the London Eye, ate fish and chips and English breakfasts, went to a few art museums, and saw an amazing performance of Wicked. I just wish I had my new camera back then so I could have really captured the city! Next time I guess.

I Heart Travel, Part VII – Spain

Barcelona was such a fun city to visit. The architecture was so unique and intricate that I could stare at buildings all day. We spent the days walking around the city and even took a bus tour to see all the sites, and then spent the nights dancing our hearts out. This is truly a city that doesn’t sleep. There is something to do all hours of the day and night and I would love to go back someday.

I Heart Travel, Part VI – Oktoberfest in Germany

I have only been to Germany once (if you don’t include the airport layovers) and I was pretty consumed with Oktoberfest so  I didn’t see much else when I was there. I’m not complaining because it was one of the most entertaining/fun times of my life. We woke up early, went straight to the beer tents, ordered giant beers, and sat at huge picnic tables all day. We met people from all over the world who were there for the same reason we were…to drink beer and have a good time. I have no idea how I was able to finish more than one of those beers back then, because I’m pretty sure I’d be asleep in 10 minutes if I drank two of those now!

Actually, that is kind of a lie. I actually DID fall asleep pretty quickly after having a few of these giant beers. Here’s what happened – we sat down with some tough looking Italian guys and all ordered our drinks. When I was over half way finished with my beer, I looked around and noticed I could almost finish mine before everyone at my table. So, I made that my mission. I finished my beer, slammed it down on the table and said- “Ha! Finito!” I was so proud. Until one of my American friends said “Prima Finito, Prima Dormito,” which in rough translation means, “first to finish, first to sleep.” Everyone laughed (at my expense) and then shortly after I went back to the hotel for a nap. Moral of that story? Don’t try to act tough when deep down you know you’re not.

Here are some photos of the little I saw of Germany.

I Heart Travel, Part IV – Nice & Paris, France

Nice was one of the cutest little towns I visited in Europe. The people were friendly, the food was delicious, and the beaches were beautiful and relaxing.

Paris was a very different kind of trip. My husband (boyfriend at the time) got food poisoning and we ended up spending the first day and a half in the hotel room. After that he sucked it up and we climbed the stairs to the top of the Eiffel Tower, went to the Louvre, saw Notre Dame, and walked around the city (we walked everywhere because there was a transportation strike going on). Despite all of that, it actually turned out to be a great trip once the first two days were over!

I Heart Travel, Part III – Cinque Terre and All Things Italian

 

If you know me, you know I love Italy and all things Italian. I love the big cities, the country side, the language, their demeanor, their busy coffee shops and their AMAZING cappuccinos. Oh and of course, the wine. Oh, the wine…

Growing up I always wanted to go to Italy, so when I had the chance to study abroad in college, Italy was my first choice. I lived in Northern Italy, in a town called Torino and studied there for a semester. Very few people in my town spoke English so I tried to pick up the language as best I could. While living there, I travelled all over Italy and Europe. In Italy, I travelled from Torino, to Venice, Florence, Rome, Pisa, Milan, Santa Margherita Ligure , Portofino,  Asti, Genova, and Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre was one of my absolute favorite places in Italy. My roommate and I hiked through all of the five towns and at the end, rewarded ourselves by jumping in the Mediterranean. I LOVE these little towns. They are so Italian and rustic and beautiful. The views change throughout the towns and each one is more beautiful than the next.

These are some of my favorite photos of our trip. I cannot wait to go back with my husband (we might add this stop to our May Europe trip) so we can sip cappuccinos near the water. yum.

Here are a few more photos from my travels through Italy: