Even though I have only lived in one city in my 19 years (2 if you count my TCU home), I’ve somehow found a way to contract an intense case of what I call the “travel bug”. In grade school, when we memorized the fifty states (and capitals too, of course), I quickly made it a goal to explore each and every one of them. As I got older, I comprised a more extensive bucket list including countries and cities I hoped to one day visit. Cinque Terre is one of them. I first came across this picturesque city on Pinterest under the title “Top 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit.” Though in my opinion, “beautiful” is the understatement of the century. The city built on cliffs with colorful homes and beaches was quickly added to my bucket list. While CR and all of its adventures are crossing off several entries to my bucket list, Cinque Terre is an especially exciting one for me, even though I am certain I am butchering its pronunciation.
- I am torn between; CHEENK-way TEAR-ay or CHEEN-kway TEAR-ah
Meaning the Five Lands, Cinque Terre is comprised of five small villages; Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Monterosso is known for its strips of beach and because of this, it is also known for having the most resorts out of all of the villages. Vernazza is the harbor city of Cinque Terre and is still looked at to be a traditional fishing town. Corniglia is located high up on a hilltop making it the only village not located on the water. Manarola contains more grapevines than any other village. Riomaggiore is the unofficial “capital” of Cinque Terre, being the largest. All of these villages contain historic, colorful buildings that are built into cliffs, creating an unusual and aesthetically pleasing landscape.
These villages each possess a unique vibe and language dialect, however they share one key thing; an element of seclusion. There are not many roads within Cinque Terre, making it unlike most typical tourist destinations that are stuffed to the brim with cars and massive groups of travelers. No one seems to be bustling from point A to point B, instead they seem to just enjoy the journey in this simple Italian city. While it is not as isolated as it once was, there is still an authentic feeling to the way of life here. Adding to this element of isolation is the fact that Cinque Terre is not easily accessible by car. Many travel blogs suggest leaving your car in La Spezia and walking or taking the train to travel between villages. When talking to CR alum Claire Carter, she told me this was her favorite stop on her CR journey. She told me how the element of seclusion emphasized the beauty of the city and detailed how they traveled by train. Claire also mentioned CR 8’s experience with the train strikes in Cinque Terre and members almost missing the only train to leave that day (again emphasizing the very real scenario of missing the train).
I am completely intrigued by this idea of spending time in stunning seclusion while unplugging from the hustle and bustle of our insanely busy daily lives. There seems to be a sense of tranquility in Cinque Terre that is not often seen today. I do wonder how they have be able to maintain this sort of serenity? While I understand it is not in complete privacy, there are vast differences between it and Rome, for example, or other more frequently visited tourist destinations.
Our visit to Cinque Terre occurs during the final third of Cultural Routes. While I’m wondering now what lies ahead for the CR10 Familia, I expect by the time we visit Cinque Terre we will all have grown in our own ways; together and individually. I am so looking forward to exploring the stunning city of Cinque Terre with some of the most amazing individuals I have ever met. So what I look forward to most about Cinque Terre and CR as a whole, is continuing to foster growth while crossing once-in-a-lifetime experiences off of my bucket list.
PS. Only 47 days!!