September 24, 2012

Confessions of the Euro-fluenced: Days 80-82

Heck, yes. Absolutely. Thats affirmative. Positively. No doubt.
What's that you say? You didn't say anything?
Oh, I thought you asked me if I loved everything about Italy.

Dear readers, if you must choose only one country of which to give of your precious time, energy, and money, let it be Italy. I am well aware that I am not the first to make this claim. Judging by the floods of other American tourists present, I  know I won't be the last. Italy has gobs of history, scrumptious food, beauty in both city and country, friendly smiles, and enough diversity to keep anyone entertained.

The great news is that Andrew and I aren't finished with pasta just yet. We've spent one week exploring Riomaggiore, Florence, Sienna, and Montepulciano. We still have Rome, Como, and Venice to go. Characteristic to any avid writer, I have accomplished the feat of NOT meeting my own publishing deadlines... So even though we are currently halfway through our Italy travels, let us backtrack so I can explain how I fell in love with this country.  

Our first stop? Riomaggiore.

Riomaggiore, along with four other teensy towns built to seem as if they are tumbling into the Mediterranean Sea, makes up a region of western Italy called Cinque Terre. The region was widely  introduced to American tourists in the 1980s by Rick Steves, founder of the travel guide mecca. Since then, the locals of Cinque Terre have switched vocations from wine making to hosting tourists. Still, Cinque Terre is special and well worth the effort.

Since these tiny towns have no room for hotels, we were able to rent an entire one bedroom apartment to ourselves. This helped to make our time special. I had a full-sized kitchen, full-sized bathroom, a sitting room, and a very large porch (where we spent most of our time). Instead of eating out so much, we decided to buy fresh pasta each night from a small joint called Primo Piatta. This was the greatest decision. It's obvious in the photos how much we enjoyed the pasta... And the noodles' fun length!

Each morning, afternoon, and evening we would drink our espressos on the porch, watching the hustle and bustle of Riomaggiore's single main street below. We would spend the first part of our days walking, hiking, or riding the train to the other four towns. One day we spent on the beach in the biggest town... Though I think I spent more time floating way out in the clear blue water than on the beach. While there, we got to meet Molly the lifeguard dog, who loves to go paddle boarding and apparently has a large Twitter  following. Each evening we would pick a new spot along the rocky coast or on the mountain top to watch the sun set.

[One reason why I loved Cinque Terre so much is because the terrain reminded me of my time on the coast in Oregon... mountains falling into the sea, great sunsets, etc.]

Since it is nestled in the valley (and up the mountains on either side of the valley), Riomaggiore has very few roads and instead, has alleys filled with stairs. I think we had to climb 55 stairs to get to our apartment, and that was after walking UP the hill... And we were at the base of the mountain. I can't imagine how many stairs we would have to climb to get to the houses on the actual mountain side. Actually, yes I can, because many times there was nowhere to explore but up. So I did have my fill of stairs. It was totally okay with me, though, because I needed to burn off all the pasta I was busy stuffing myself with.

This really was the perfect way to start off Italy. 

I can honestly say that I would go back to Cinque Terre.

Please enjoy the pictures.

>Food 1
>Location 1
>Activities 1
>Comfort 1
>Hotel 1

The Turner FLACH Rating? A beautiful 5 stars.


  1. You guys rock! Cinque Terre is my favorite too! Especially Vernazza and Riomaggiore. Has Andrew begun preaching?

    1. Thanks JT! We heard great things about all the towns, randomly picked Riomaggiore, and fell in love! We are so glad we did! Hope things are well with you and Kim.