Europe, Gratitude, Travel

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude

May 2, 2014

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

Cinque Terre, Italy was another stop on my 2005 Europe tour, right after Vienna and before heading into Switzerland. It was a near perfect three days: I didn’t have any grand plans for my time there other than hiking, eating my favorite kind of food, and enjoying the gorgeous scenery.

I accomplished those goals, no problem.

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

Pesto and fresh mozzarella toasts. I was in food heaven.

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

That’s a pedestrian tunnel/walkway looking out over the sea, called The Tunnel of Love.

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

The inside of the tunnel! Loved it.

Cinque Terre is the name of a group of five villages on the northwest coast of Italy: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso, all perched above the Ligurian Sea.  My hostel, in the central town of Manarola, was wonderful: I made friends with my roommates for the three nights I was there, enjoyed dinner in the attached restaurant, and the views could not be beat.

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

I hiked between the five villages each day, feeling so lucky to be in this corner of the world. (A railroad line runs along the coast via tunnels between each village; this is the recommended mode of transportation over driving)

Cinque Terre Italy, Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

View from one of the hiking trails. So gratifying: now that the next village was in sight, I knew my hike was almost over. Wine and a baguette awaited me!

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

The beautiful mountainside rising above the five villages is used to cultivate olives and grapes.

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

The sunsets weren’t bad either:

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

I made friends with other travelers while I hiked (though again, no other single females), and a middle-aged couple from New Jersey even treated me to wine and a snack once we arrived in Vernazza (ver-NOT-zuh) one day when they said my adventurous spirit reminded me of their son. The wonderful thing about the Cinque Terre was how much of a local feel it had: virtually no commercialization, certainly no chain fast food restaurants, and high-end, big hotels could only be found in the northernmost village of Monterosso.

Everyone visited the Cinque Terre for the same reason: to enjoy the landscape and charm of the seaside villages and eat good food. I’d highly recommend a visit there if you’re planning any Italian travels, and September was the perfect time: not too many tourists like in the heights of summer, and wonderfully mild, sunny weather.


Thoughts on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Have I mentioned how glad I am that the A to Z Challenge is over? Oh man. I’m glad I did it, don’t get me wrong, but whoa, what a lot of work it was! Six posts a week was a lot; three or four posts a week is just fine with me.

Somehow, I felt like it limited my blogging. I felt pigeon-holed, even though the only specification for each day was a certain letter! I felt pressured to go and comment on a lot of other people’s blogs, as well as all my usual blogs that I follow. I’ve put off a bunch of topics I wanted to write about because they didn’t fit a certain letter.

I realize there are so many things I want to talk about: more mental health topics, like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults (because doesn’t it seem like all the focus is on kids with ADHD?), vegetarian breakfasts and lunches (I’m all about the sandwiches), free things to do around the Hudson Valley/Catskills in the spring and summer, plus more new destinations in the Great 2014 Northeast Tour.

But I did it! I published 26 posts last month, one for each letter of the alphabet. My views increased (yay!), I’m following some new blogs, and I added a lot of good content to Sweet and Savoring, which probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t done the challenge. Thanks again to Kate of Another Clean Slate for motivating me to join!

Cinque Terre, Italy Retrospective + Gratitude - Sweet and Savoring

An early evening seagull portrait on Long Island from this weekend, because aren’t they cute?

Gratitude for the Week

I must be crazy for squeezing so much into one post! But I haven’t done a Friday Gratitude post in awhile, and aren’t you guys wondering what’s good lately in the Life of Christy?

  1. Spring, of course! I’m happy! I’m active and loving the green leaves popping out everywhere, loving the magnolias and daffodils and tulips in bloom and increased daylight hours.
  2. State parks. With spring comes the desire to spend oodles of time outdoors. Andy and I have started a morning jogging routine again, but we’ve also been visiting a lot of parks and hiking trails recently. I’m so happy we invested in the Empire Passport, which grants access to all of New York’s state parks and pays for itself with only eight visits. Recently, I’ve been to the Rosendale Trestle & Wallkill Rail Trail, Bear Mountain State Park, John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary, and Caumsett State Historic Park.
  3. Two words: plans and possibility.
  4. My close family members are all healthy. Pretty sure I take this one for granted most of the time.
  5. The ability to express myself in writing. I’ve started carrying around a small notebook with me, and the other day in the car, I got a good bit of writing done for a future post while Andy drove. In my closet, I have a box of all my old journals, going back to when I was sixteen. Sweet and Savoring is going strong after twenty-one months and I’m so happy that I’ve kept it going. Where would I be without the ability to express my thoughts in this way?


What are you grateful for this week? Have you ever been to Cinque Terre? What excites you about spring?

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  • Tamara May 4, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I’ve never been there, but what a dream! And the Pesto and fresh mozzarella toasts is probably my idea of a perfect lunch. Although it would make me sleepy – but then I’d just lay down and enjoy the views.
    I can’t believe the challenge is over! You did wonderfully but I can see that it would be challenging. I struggle with doing anything against my normal rhythm although I will do reviews/guests for the right fit.
    I’m always thankful that my family is healthy. Always.

    • Christy May 5, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Yes, pesto and fresh mozz are one of my favorite food combos.
      And oh my…the challenge is called a challenge for a reason 😉

  • Jeanne Melanson May 4, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I’ve never been to Cinque Terre, but I have been to Europe on several occasions. I went once for 2 straight months, backpacking with my best friend. All in all, I’ve been to England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Germany. I’ve been to some of those numerous times. It really felt like an honor to be there. I appreciate your post and thank you for sharing.
    Jeanne Melanson recently posted…Peter the Elephant Plays Piano, 12 Bar Blues Music Duet in ThailandMy Profile

    • Christy May 5, 2014 at 10:12 am

      How wonderful! Yes, this particular trip was two months long as well. Last time I was in Italy, it was for a month and it was so nice to spend a long period of time in one country.
      Thank you for stopping by Jeanne!

  • Alana May 4, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I’ve never been to Italy but my mother in law (of Italian heritage) has been there twice, and one of my husband’s cousins has been there too many times to count. I would like to go one day. In the meantime, I’m enjoying an upstate New York spring and am enjoying 1) NO MORE SNOW and 2) flowers outside once again!
    Alana recently posted…Civil War Sunday – The Wild Battlefield of FireMy Profile

    • Christy May 5, 2014 at 10:14 am

      I’m loving this NY spring as well! That amount of snow and ice we had was some kind of ridiculous.

  • Sophie Bowns May 5, 2014 at 6:24 am

    I’d love to go to that part of Italy. We visited Lake Garda last year and we had such a fantastic time!

    • Christy May 6, 2014 at 8:51 am

      I feel like the cities can be loud, overcrowded, sometimes hit or miss. But it’s tough not to have a fantastic time in the Italian villages & countryside!

  • Cecilia May 5, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I am grateful for having the chance to visit so many wonderful blogs and seeing the world through other people’s experiences. Thank you so much.

    congratulations on making it through the challenge.

    • Christy May 8, 2014 at 9:13 am

      You’re welcome, Cecilia, and thank you for visiting! 🙂

  • Megan May 10, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Wow! I’ve been trying to convince my boyfriend to move to Europe. I’ve even considered trying to get a job with my current company in France. I would love to be able to visit places like Cinque Terre. Your pictures are gorgeous and they made me feel like I was there with you. I can’t wait to read more.

    • Christy May 11, 2014 at 7:43 am

      Aw, I love comments like this. Thanks, Megan! If living in Europe is what you really want to do, don’t stop trying to find a way! If your company doesn’t have anything, maybe there’s something similar with a different one. Or au pair work, or teaching English…there are lots of possibilities!

  • Welcome to the Mutual Appreciation Society - Sweet and SavoringSweet and Savoring January 22, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    […] want to take them to the UK to meet the other half of their family. I’d want to take them to Italy: I hope any offspring of mine loves hiking and good food as much as I […]

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