My husband and I recently travelled to Italy for a little “spring break” get-away. When you think of Italy, you probably think of delicious cuisine, wine, museums, and cathedrals rather than outdoors adventures. Well, we were lucky enough to find all of the above! We visited Cinque Terre, a coastal region comprised of five (cinque = five in Italian) small villages situated on cliffs overlooking the ocean. The villages are connected by centuries old hiking trails that worm their way through the mountains, offering some of the most spectacular views. People from all over Europe (and the world), flock here just to hike the trails to the towns. And based on the cool outdoor gear and hiking sticks people were sporting (not us, we aren’t that cool), we knew we had come to the right place for some adventure!
The first day we arrived, we dropped our bags off at our bed and breakfast and immediately set out for a hike. We had a small map, but it proved to be meaningless so we just sort of wandered up a little trail hoping to reach our final destination. We came to a sign that had one arrow pointing to “Il Medio” and one pointing to “Il Sirioso” (or something like that), which of course we interpreted as “medium” or “severe” trail. We chose the medium one since it was first day and we didn’t want to kill ourselves. Eventually we came to a locked gate with an “Il Medio” sign on it. Crap! So a woman comes up behind us and just walks through an open spot in the fence. We call after her and ask if this is the trail into town. It turns out she is German and hardly speaks any English or Italian, but luckily Eric took German in highschool and we are able to piece together that she is the owner of “Il Medio”, which is a farm, not a medium difficulty trail! Rather than making us turn around and go all the way back, she tells us we can cross her property, ford a stream, and then follow the river back into town. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, she realized we would more than likely get lost, so she had her 6-year old son (who definitely doesn’t speak any English) lead us across the “stream”. And it’s a good thing we had a little helper, because the stream was a waterfall and we had to criss-cross rocks and planks! It was awesome! How cool would it be to grow up there as a kid?!
We hiked about 10 miles each day we were there, making it to each of the five towns. Some of the hikes were quite challenging, both physically and mentally. One particular trail (Trail 7) was nearly vertical. We thought having some wine before we headed up the trail might help build up our courage and help us lose our fear of heights, but it only ended up making us more nervous, and there were moments we thought we might fall right off the edge of the cliff! But it was all worth it when we reached the top, and we were so proud of ourselves. So, naturally, we finished our bottle of wine to celebrate It was an amazing adventure, and I feel so lucky to have been able to make it out there (and to have survived the crazy trails)!