Cinque Terre and the search for new adjectives

Truth – The sheer amount of breathtaking beauty that I’ve seen throughout the world is almost overwhelming at times. I have moments where I compare the scenery of the cinque terre with that of the Lost Coast of California or with the Kapalii Coast of Hawaii, and I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to have seen such a myraid of remarkable places in my lifetime. My great grandmother and namesake never traveled more than 10 miles from where she was born in her entire life. She never even saw Quebec City, less than 40 miles away. Yet ever since I was a kid my parents would take me hiking in the mountains of Maine or hop on a boat to see the rugged coastlines, and in my own life I made it a priority to travel to and experience natural beauty both close to home and far away. As a result I’ve seen islands, volcanoes, rainforests, mountains, waterfalls, geysers, glaciers, buttes, canyons and a million other landcapes drawn from a pen gone wild. Somehow each scene, regardless of similarities to others I’ve witnessed, exude their own unique personality, which is what I was experiencing overlooking the cliffside pastel communities spanning the Cinque Terre. From the moment the ferry rounded the corner to catch our first glimpse of Porto Venere I knew I was in someplace special. I spent a few hours exploring the picture-perfect town and overlooking castle before ascending up to the pension where I’d be spending the night, and had the panoramic view from the porch picnic table to myself both for an afternoon of writing and then for a 4-course homemade meal made just steps away. There was only three of us staying at the pension that night, two of whom arrived much later and were in an adjacent room, so I had a restful sleep with a window open to the Mediterranean in preparation for two big days of hiking ahead.
And big days of hiking they were! Although quite a few people hike between the 5 towns that are the namesake of the “cinque-terre”, not many people hike beyond them like I did so I had the entire section of mountains and hillside villages for the first 8 miles and the last 5 miles of my ~23 mile trek practically to myself. The 5 towns of the Cinque Terre were fairly populated with tourists, but Corniglia, the town I spent my second night in, is perched up above water and therefore is inaccessible by ferry, making it much quieter in general and definitely in the evenings. From there I hiked through the park to Levanto, a more substantial town and vacation destination for local Italians, which was a nice change from the tourist ridden (albeit beautiful) towns of the Cinque Terre. The next day I saw the landscape from the vantage point of a ferry back to Porto Venere, said my goodbyes to the coast and headed inland to Pisa!

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