Cinque Terre - Manarola

You can blame Rick Steve’s for the influx of tourism at the once sleepy towns of Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast of Italy. Some people say it is now overcrowded, but I am not one of them. There is a kind of quaint quiet joy that envelopes this place that take one away from the hustle and bustle of the American way of life. People are here for a reason, for history, and for culture. Going to Cinque Terre was definitely the highlight of our trip to Europe. Just 1 hour away from Pisa, our train ride was exhilarating. After switching trains in La Spezia, we started going north up the coast until we hit a long tunnel, a very long tunnel, the kind where you have enough time for your eyes to adjust to the black. And just when you think that you have been in there long enough, a very brief tease of the beautiful coast hit you like the waves breaking below.

We ended up staying in Manarola, which ended being our favorite of the 5 towns. Sure Monterosso Al Mare has the beaches, Vernazza has it’s natural beauty, Riomaggiore has it’s lover’s walk, and Corniglia has it’s rocky view, but Manarola has it’s sleepy circular center where the children play, the Church up the hill where the old people just sit around and talk, and the beautiful wine walk trail where you can walk amongst the vines and just be glad that you are lucky enough to see such beauty.