It was a seemingly endless journey, over 6 hours flight from Dubai to Italy, then 4 hours by train to reach our final destination, Cinque Terre. But it was totally worth it! We found ourselves smitten by the rustic seaside villages along the Italian Riviera.
Monterosso al Mare
The only time I ever have breakfast is when I’m on holiday. On this trip to Italy we stayed at a cute little apartment in La Spezia, and on our mornings we were up bright and early to savor chocolate and custard filled croissants, focaccia and a cappuccino or macchiato latte, before we set forth to see the sights!
And just like that I had a Little Mermaid moment perched upon a rugged bed of rocks, blissfully content to be “part of your world”…that’s you, Monterosso al Mare.
The countryside holds such an allure that begets sentiments of home, though my home is a concrete jungle, there’s something about rustic locales that make you feel truly welcome. I think it’s partly because small towns bear such humility and people are far more gregarious, compared to city giants that are often latched on to extravagance.
When in Cinque Terre, the home of the ‘Five Lands’ comprising of a string of fishing harbors, one must only indulge in the freshest seafood dishes the enchanting towns have to offer. This seafood spaghetti rich in sweet and tangy tomato sauce, with mussels, prawns, lobster and clams was no exception.
When it comes to Italian cuisine, there’s much ado about pizza and pasta in the world, but once you step foot onto the land of pesto, gelato, cannoli, focaccia, tiramisu and apparently parmesan cheese too (yum!), you’re in for packing on a few pounds by the end of your holiday. It is said that the first recorded cookbook was a collection of Roman cookery recipes originally titled De Re Coquinaria that dates back to the 4th Century AD, which is probably why some may claim that Italians taught the rest of Europe how to cook. I cannot verify the facts, so don’t hold me to it, I’m just a girl who loves pasta and gelato!
Vernazza is one of five picturesque towns in Cinque Terre that boasts of a bonafide marina lined with colorful fishing boats. It can only be accessed by train as there is no car traffic within the village, and the primary means of exploring is by the pitter patter of your feet on the stone pavements.
May the seas part that I may walk the sandy path and not have to spend a dime on a ticket. ✈️ Though needless to say, I may spend my lifetime walking back home, so scratch that! 🤣 Instead, I extend my arms for dramatic effect just immersing myself in the scenic view of the Vernazza coastline.
In peaceful repose after a hard day’s work. 😅 On our train ride to Vernazza, we met two tourists from the US, and it’s funny how they labeled visiting Cinque Terre as a ‘working holiday’ because technically sightseeing involved a lot of uphill and downhill climbs. But one could then retire by the tranquil waterfront, and that made all the difference!
Dancing over pebbled beaches, letting my hair down. Singing into the wind, when there’s nobody around. While in Vernazza we stumbled upon a cave that led to a secret beach, but clearly it wasn’t much of secret since we found our way out there!
I’m at the edge of falling… in love with the drama of Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre, a pastel paradiso that rises above sea level upon mountain terraces bearing much history and igniting such wonder. Though seeded with tourists from miles away, we happened to chance a few minutes to ourselves to be rapt in this view!
And there I lay at the edge of a jagged cliff, and all I could hear was the sound of waves pummeling against the rocks and my heart pounding against my chest. I do not fear heights, I’m only afraid of falling into oblivion…
Sunsets lure us to the sea, and bewitches us for a moment like a captivating silent movie. And no sunset ever paints the same picture, no sea ever reflects the same colors. This is why wherever you may go, no matter how many you’ve seen, you’ll never tire to sit there and watch, like it’s no place you’ve ever been.
And there we were, serenaded by the music of rushing waves, caressed by the embers of sunset. I fell for you once, many years ago. And I’ll keep falling now and forevermore.
She looks at you with eyes in search of affirmation. Her gaze searing into your soul. She wears her heart upon her naked shoulders. Her love, a story waiting to unfold.
La Spezia is a port town in Northern Italy and the capital city of the province by the same name, though is often overlooked and merely considered as a gateway to Cinque Terre. But there is much to appreciate as you walk through the streets to find a wide selection of restaurants serving a few international cuisines as well as high street retail stores, and if you wander all the way to the coast you will marvel at the massive harbor that is also home to the largest and historically relevant Italian Naval base.
It’s cape season in La Spezia, and for an idyllic four days I wasn’t missing the 35 degree weather with 85% humidity back home, while I had the pleasure of 14 degrees gallivanting around beloved Italy. 🇮🇹 Now seriously musing over when Dubai is going to cool down enough so I can pat the dust off my winter coats…
A cup of coffee a day, keeps the cobwebs away. And a warm ray of sunshine, makes my morning so sublime. Buongiorno, La Spezia! ☀️ Even though it was tempting to stay indoors and rest 🤧 in our cozy apartment, it was nowhere near as seductive as exploring the Italian coast.
There’s nothing like sitting by the window watching the buzz of a new city as people go about the daily motions, through the eyes of a traveler. One feels the desire to observe and become privy to the experiences within the local scene. And if there’s one county I would willingly adopt for its culture and beauty, it would be Italy.