Our plan was to sleep in and lazily make our way to the beach later that morning, but our windows were open so we woke up early to the sound of seagulls and the smell of sea salt air. Sunlight was pouring into our room and it was perfect. 🙂 We decided to go ahead and head toward the beach and hopped on the very first train heading there that morning. I wish I could describe just how packed it was. It reminded me of when we would ride public transportation in China (except that it wasn’t as stinky and there was air conditioning, haha). We were literally completely pressed up against total strangers. Like every bit of my body was pressed up against someone else on every side. It was only a ten minute ride so it was no biggie. We laughed when we saw a smear on the window where someone had been completely pressed all the way up against it and the outline of their face was still there.
Welcome to Monterosso al Mare, the fifth of the five towns. 🙂 From our travel journal: “One thing we loved about the beach in Italy was how the people there seemed very unconcerned with the body image issues so prevalent in the States. Maybe we don’t know the culture well enough to see their issues, but the way people carried themselves really spoke of confidence. People of all ages and sizes wore bikinis and speedos as if they had nothing to hide or be ashamed of which we thought was great! I saw a total of three one piece swimsuits the whole time we were there. Coming from a society that expects only girls with great bodies to wear bikinis made it a refreshing change. Our favorite was the couple who appeared to be in their 60’s wearing a matching yellow bikini and yellow speedo. It really made us consider the culture our children will be born in and how we want to address issues like this and teach our children that they have nothing to be ashamed of while still teaching principles of appropriate dress for the occasion.
We stopped at Il Massimo della Focaccia for a quick breakfast to go. It was delicious! All the focaccia bread we had in Italy was great, but the Cinque Terre really outdid themselves on it! SO good!
We had heard that the free beaches are crazy crowded (like strangers sharing your same towel crowded) and when we scoped it out, that description seemed fairly accurate. So we decided to shell out the 20 euros for our own private bit of beach. An umbrella and two reclining chairs. Money well spent for our day on the beach. It gave us an established place to leave our stuff, a shady spot to eat our breakfast (see focaccia bread in picture above), and the perfect napping spot (which we totally did). Ah, it was wonderful.
Midway through the day we walked over to Nuovo Bar Eden which overlooks the Sea. We weren’t super hungry so we just got a light lunch of caprese and strawberries to share. It was while we were here that an elderly lady walked up to our table and asked in her New York accent if we were Americans. She had been listening to us talk and thought for sure we were. She was waiting on her family to finish up at the beach and didn’t want to sit alone. So of course we invited her to sit with us and we learned all about her family and her life. It was great! She told us that the secret to a long marriage (she’s been married 50+ years) was talking to each other. 🙂 And then we got to meet her son when he came to pick her up and through talking to him found out that they too had flown AirBerlin from NYC to Germany to Italy and AirBerlin had also lost their luggage along with 20 other passengers from their flight. Yikes! Note to self: never fly AirBerlin again.
Us on the beach! From our travel journal, my thoughts on the beach: “The beach was awesome! We loved having the umbrella to protect us from the heat. The weather feels perfect in the shade here! So much less humidity than Memphis summers. And the Mediterranean Sea was glistening and clear. We could see right to the bottom. The water was SO cold! It took our breath away and then it took a good bit to adjust to the cold. But oh, it was so beautiful! We spent the whole day on the beach, even napping a good portion of the morning just listening to the waves crashing on the shore and feeling the gentle breeze. It was perfect.”
We decided to take a boat back to Riomaggiore so we could see all the towns from the sea. You guys, it was all just so beautiful. Cruisin’ along the Mediterranean Sea just taking in the beauty… so great. 🙂
So I had a blister bandage on my left foot that I didn’t take off before our beach day. When we got back to our room and I took it off and showered… this was the tan line I had left. Cracked me up! Walking 8-10 miles a day meant that our feet got treated pretty roughly and we went through a LOT of bandaids and blister covers. But we honestly didn’t even notice them most of the time because we were so busy enjoying the fact that we were in ITALY!
And la di da, we are walking along to dinner and decide that naturally we need another photo together. 😉 We didn’t have a lot of opportunities to get dressed up on this trip because we decided to focus mostly on sight seeing so we were pretty excited to have a night to dress up a bit. 🙂
The sun began to set on our way to dinner. By the by, an early dinner in Italy begins around 7pm. Most people eat around 8 or 9pm. Occasionally on this trip we would eat around 7, but mostly we ate late dinners as well. We liked the atmosphere and the way that we got to watch the sunset while we ate. 🙂
Dinner was at La Lanterna. Massimo is the cook and he has a passion for making bread. Normally I’m the bread lover, but Christopher couldn’t get enough of this! I had the seafood pasta which was absolutely wonderfully delicious and Christopher had the seafood pasta with tomato which he enjoyed.
After dinner we walked around exploring and came across Bar Centrale where Christopher stopped in for some gelato. He’d half eaten the top of it by the time I got a picture, haha! The chocolate (which you really can’t see in this picture) was his all time favorite chocolate gelato of the trip. He said there was a creaminess about it that just couldn’t be beat! I loved those moments when our exploration led to a great find! 🙂
After this we went back to our room and before going to bed bed we walked out onto the balcony. It was such a serene scene. Twinkling stars, the bright moon, the glistening midnight blue of the water lapping up on the harbor. We ended up grabbing a blanket from our room and wrapping up in it together (it was chilly at night!) and snuggling on our balcony for a long time just taking in the beauty around us. I had so many favorite moments of the trip and that sweet night on the balcony was definitely one of them. 🙂