Being a destination photographer means capturing what you see in its simplest and most honest form. I don’t like lying in my photographs or fudging what truth there is to be found in each shot. Each and every single one of my photographs has its own story to tell by diving deep into the culture and uncovering whats waiting to be discovered.
June 09 2015
So the next stop on our leg of the journey was Cinque Terre which is located on the rugged coast of the Italian Riviera. In order to get there we needed to take the high speed trains from Venezia to Florence, change trains, than go to Pisa change trains again to La Spezia change trains the last time and take the coastal train to the 5 towns of Cinque Terre. Despite there being that many stops along the way it was super easy to get to where you needed to go because of the amazing train system in Italy. We were both amazed with how easy commuting here was. Once we were on the final leg to Riomaggiore it was only a 7 minute ride. So of course we were both super anxious and excited to get off at our stop. Before arriving at our destination, the train goes through multiple tunnels with little pops of light poking through here and there. With these pops we would get glimpses of the rocky shore and the beautiful water front which made it look extremely dreamy. Once we arrived to Riomaggiore we got to walk through this tunnel that had big murals on it. Once you get to the end it opens up to a main street which reveals little shops, restaurants, & gelateries, absolutely amazing and unlike something I have ever seen before. You than see all the apartment buildings built on top of each other in different shapes and colours making it just a breathtaking scene to take in. Cinque in Italian means 5 and Terre means towns which is a cool little tid bit I learnt.
We found our place just off of the main street and had many steep stairs to climb up to our apartment. Because Cinque Terre was built on the side of a set of mountains, there is many stairs & they escalate very quickly. Don’t get too hammered and try and stumble home you probably won’t make it or you will hurt yourself really badly. The place we rented was super cute and was equipped with a kitchen, bedroom, living room and a small bathroom. We rented it on Airbnb and highly recommend this place to anyone staying in Riomaggiore. The link to the apartment can be found here.
The first thing we did was eat at “Bar Centrale” which is right in the middle of the main street and literally right across from where we were staying. We both had a spritz and some tomato spaghetti. After our meals we decided to explore Riomaggiore a little bit more. We headed to the Marina at the bottom of the town. It is beautiful because when you stand on the rocks in the Marina and look up you totally see that postcard picture of Riomaggiore with the layered coloured buildings. At that moment you really get emotional because the scenery is just so incredible. You almost don’t believe that a place this beautiful can exist, its incredible.
We climbed up the steps to the left of the Marina which takes you on a pathway alongside the side of the cliff, which than opens up to a secluded pebble beach. We just sat there and took it all in breathing in the thick sea air and people watched. It was what we needed after a long day of commuting. Before the day concluded we did some further exploring of the surrounding area by climbing the rocks and exploring the pathways. We climbed lots of stairs to get to the highest point in Riomaggiore, a clock tower that faces down onto the quaint town. The view from up there is breathtakingly beautiful and is well worth the climb. Coming back down to the town we decided to hit up the little grocery store and buy 2x 660ml bottles of Italian beer “Beera Moretti” for $3 euros a piece. It was cheaper to drink beer than it was water. Taking our beers we perched up on a rock in the Marina and indugled. By now it was 9:30pm and needed to get some dinner so we hit up this little restaurant called “Mamma Mia” and got a 14″ pizza to share. We once more took it to the Marina and people watched. The evenings get busy on the rocks as people from all over the world sit there and chat. It’s a great atmosphere and makes it easy to meet new people and learn about all walks of life.
To conclude our night we than enjoyed some stiff mojitos at this bar called “Vertical Lounge”. They were a new bar that recently opened when we were there and specialized in specialty cocktails. I was a big fan of this place and really enjoyed the mojitos we ordered. We were going to make it a mission to return back there on a different evening, since we were tired from our travels and went to bed pretty early that night.
June 10 2015
Today we started off the day with Italian crepes. They weren’t as big as the crepes we had in other places, but they will have to do. In general the portion sizes are way smaller than the ones we are used to in North America. I thought after eating so much pizza and pasta and sweet breakfasts I was going to come back 10 lbs heavier, but the walking really burns it all off.
After breakfast we decided to take the train and visit all 5 towns. For $4 euros each we were able to get an unlimited riding pass in one direction to see all the towns. We took the train to our first stop which was Manarola.
This is the beautiful town that you see in all the pictures when you google Cinque Terre. The elevation of the houses on the cliff go up like stairs and there is a bay with rocky cliffs where you can swim and dive around. There is this promenade that you can take to the right of the town to get a good picture taking vantage point. That is where the postcard picture spot is.
This little town is at the highest point out of all of them and has no water access. When we got of the train we decided to walk up to the town instead of get bused up. It was pretty exhausting as there was over 500 steps and a hot day but man was it worth the views the entire climb. On the way up there was an Italian hippie dude with dreds that was selling handmade leather bracelets. They were beautiful so we decided to buy some bracelets for us and our niece and nephew. He was extremely nice & threw in an extra bracelet even though I was trying to tip him.
Once we reached the top it opens up to a small square, right of the square are residential homes and left of the square is a pathway through the main part. When you get to the end of the pathway it takes you to a lookout of the panorama of the sea. This town had its own charms but in comparison to the other 4 towns it was my least favourite.
Similar to the layout of Manarola without the rocky cliffs in the bay. Instead there is actually a beach where people were found swimming and relaxing waterside. Vernazza had a busyness that the other towns lacked and that turned me off a bit. I feel that you cant enjoy a place completely when it is swarming with tourists. Although I am a tourist myself I don’t enjoy having people walking around with ipads obstructing my view of the scenery I am trying to enjoy.
We were hungry and decided to try this little bakery place on the main strip. We ordered a foccaccia bread from there and treated ourselves to gelato from “Gelateria Vernazza” I had a strawberry & mint gelato, and my husband had the vanilla and strawberry. Once we finished sight seeing we headed back to Riomaggiore for the night.
Once we returned we both decided we wanted a bit more of a sit down dinner that evening so we both dressed up and went to a restaurant called “Veciu Muin”. It was quite delightful, the service was 5 stars and the food on point. Manuel had the gnocchi with cheese sauce and I had the grilled tuna on a bed of salad. Once we both finished dinner we were int he mood for something sweet and ordered their tiramisu wish was extremely rich. At that moment I knew that I have overindulged and needed a walk to level things out. We walked up the main strip to the end and than took the road to the left of the town and down and around. When we returned to town we just sat on the rocks and were approached by some fellow travellers who were American. One was Daniel and from California and the other David from Silicon Valley and happened to be in advertising like us. Daniel talked our ears off about conspiracy theories related to WW2 and present day America, it was enjoyable for a bit until it wasn’t anymore. You couldn’t get him to stop talking and we needed an exit strategy. We told him we were tired and were heading up to our room he said he would pack it in too and he would like to walk us. We thought to ourselves dammit but what can you do. We ended up walking in the same direction up until we got to our apartment, talk about awkward lol. He was staying on the same street as us and talked our ears off the whole way.
June 11 2015
We woke up with one thing on our minds that day, it was beach day in Monterosso. We took the train directly to Monterosso from Riomaggiore. Once you get off your just greeted with a large stretch of gorgeous pebble beach. We chose a spot on the beach and paid our fare and automatically ran for the water. You have to tread really lightly as the whole beach is full of different sized rocks, so it hurts your feet if your not careful. Once you get past the sharp pebbles the water is just so warm, you feel as if you could spend the whole day in there… After splashing around a bit we both got hungry and sat down at a small trattoria. The food was probably the worst we had on the trip to date. Being in Italy I didn’t believe having bad food was a thing but at this little sit down restaurant the food just tasted flavourless. I forgot the name otherwise I could tell you guys so you could avoid it as well. After our less than satisfactory meal we needed a beverage to cool down with. There was a wicked nameless small bar that makes Margeronas where we hit up as our next stop. Each Margerona is served in a bucket and has about 12 ounces of alcohol in it. We took our Margerona’s to our spot and drank them so fast they were going out of style. A quarter in you really start feeling the effects of the 12 ounces, it makes you feel very very nice. Once we both finished our drinks paddle boarding seemed to be a really good idea at the time. We went to the rental place and got one paddleboard for the both of us. Now paddle boarding with two people not the easiest thing…Add being drunk, and ocean waves to the mix and its really not an easy thing. One person acts as a counter weight to the whole thing and it makes it really hard to balance and maintain speed. Here we were falling off the paddle board the whole time and laughing the whole time. We must’ve looked so crazy to other people not to mention the locals. Crazy we were not as there were lots of paddle boarders sharing their boards with friends and significant others. We met a couple from the States and ended up sitting and talking for a bit. Once it was time to give back our rental we all raced to the shore while sloppily trying to maintain balance. After we returned our paddle boards we went to our spot on the beach and relaxed for a bit when our relaxation was interrupted with people yelling near the waters edge. Ofcourse we had to go and see what all the commotion was all about when we noticed a massive jelly fish. Ok I have seen jelly fish but this thing was monstrously big, like this jelly fish has been hoped up on steroids or something. This jelly fish was as large or even larger than my head and I not joking about this. People were terrified to approach it when this local Italian man made for it in the water. Were all like what the hell is he doing when he fishes the thing right up and throws it to the beach. He mutters the word dead, and were all like ooohhhhhh poor jelly fish. Once it was on the beach it was easier to take a close look at the thing. They are really fascinating creatures. They have no skeleton, no brain, or no central nervous system. That means they just merely exist and do their jellyfish thing but floating around in the sea and stinging other sea neighbours.
After all the excitement with the paddle boarding, drinking Margerona’s and jelly fish we took a walk down the full strip of Manarola to see the whole time before departing back on the train to head back to Riomaggiore. It was about 7pm at that point and we needed to grab a bite to eat in Riomaggiore. After a quick dinner we decided to walk the town and ran into these two really nice girls from Australia, Sam and Lauren and talked to them by the rocks till 1am. It was nice meeting them and learning about their home in regards to customs and day to day living. Australia is very similar to Canada in terms of currency, way of life, and attitudes the only difference being is the insanely awesome accent they have oh and the insanely not awesome thing is scary creepy crawlies. After we exchanged our Facebook info it was time to hit the sack as it was an extremely exciting and stimulating day.
June 12 2015
Today is a very special day for us as it marks our 3rd wedding anniversairy. We went to Dau Cila in the morning to to reserve a table for 7:30pm. After that we went and enjoyed a quaint breakfast at “Giammi Cafe” and than hit the rocks for some climbing. The weather was overcast that day and even rained a bit which meant a super relaxed day for us. We hit the beach and even enjoyed a swim in the ocean. The water felt really warm because the rain was cold and was a super nice dip.
In the evening dinner took place in a beautiful restaurant located in the heart of the marina. We got a fantastic view while enjoying some fresh caught seafood from that day. We ordered some Prosecco with our dinner, and enjoyed that before the main dish came out. We both ordered sea bass for our main dish and were eagerly awaiting for it to our table. Once the sea bass came out it was presented in the most fantastic way. The fish was actually braided and seared that way on the plate. We both enjoyed it immensely as we like our fish to have a mild flavour to it. After we finished our dinner we indulged in some double chocolate cake, which was rich and creamy and than went for a nice long walk around Riomaggiore before heading out the next day to Firenze.