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Salt, Sweat, & Sunburns

Cinqueterre, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
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My Godmom left us, and my mom and I were not quite ready to take our adventure into our own hands quite yet, so we signed up for a last minute tour with Walkabout Florence. Deciding we were up for a challenge, we signed up for the Cinqueterra Trek, a hike throughout the villages that make up the seaside town. Not entirely sure what we were in for, we woke ourselves up at 6:30am and headed toward the train station. We, inevitably, got a little lost. And by “a little”, I really do mean a very little bit lost. Like 1 block the wrong direction. I remained calm and laughed it off, knowing that I had left us nearly an hour to walk the path that Google Maps said would take 12 minutes. My mom, however, did not share my relaxed attitude and we clashed a bit. We were off to a rough start, and I’m sure she’d agree that we were minutes away from strangling each other. I have to admit, it’s hard to travel like this with someone who is your mother, but also a friend. It’s a hard line to walk, knowing you’re grown up enough to be trusted and make decisions, yet also recognizing that she is still your mother. Being with someone 24/7 for any length of time tends to bring these sorts of things to light… But, we quickly (18 minutes, to be exact) found our bus, boarded, and prepared ourselves for the two hour drive ahead. Our guides were knowledgeable and humorous, making the drive fly by. We reached our destination, the 2nd of the 5 villages, and were rewarded with some free time before starting the first portion of our hike. The first, easier portion, consisted of over 400 stairs up the hillside looking over the Mediterranean Sea. By the time we reached the top, we were all panting and sweating, with no idea that the worst was yet to come. But before we started to real challenge, we had lunch at a beautiful seaside restaurant that sat atop the hill. With a plate of fresh seafood and homemade pesto (the best pesto I have ever, and probably will ever, taste.) , we were sat next to an Irish couple. Inspiring would be an understatement. This guy has done it all. Machu Picchu, the 7 Summits, even Antarctica! Conversation flowed easily with our new friends and there wasn’t a moment of silence as we rambled on about our cultures and our lives. It has been amazing to hear what other travelers have done or are planning on doing. Their advice to me continues to be the same-keep traveling. Granted, they all have almost a month of “holiday” (vacation) days per year, where we don’t get nearly that much. Regardless, I feel like I’ll have to take their advice.

We met our group outside and started the trek. What seemed like 5 million miles, our hike left me sweating like never before, but every time I looked over, I was rewarded with such a magnificent view that I can’t even begin to accurately describe. The path was sleep, slippery, and narrow; unlike anything I’ve seen before. My legs burned and sweat was dripping down my back by the time we hit the halfway point and starting the descent. At the bottom, I quickly changed into my swimming suit and waded out into the salty sea, soaking in the clear water and beautiful views. I could feel my skin starting to burn, but that was the last thing on my mind by that time. We took the train to the next villages, tasted all the wine I could ever dream of, had the most amazing, fresh fried calamari and sat down, looking around and loving every beautiful minute.

Secluded and quite, Cinqueterre still holds so much natural beauty, not yet ruined by touristic sites and crowds of people. I would go back in a heartbeat and I would 100% go on another tour with Walkabout.
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