cinque terre, italy

If you've never been to cinque terre, stop everything, quit your job and buy a plane ticket. I won't claim to have seen it all, but I will say with complete certainty that cinque terre, is one of the most gorgeous and unique places in the entire world. 

So, where else would I spend my quarter century crisis?  Up until this point in my life, being a Halloween (eve) baby has meant that: girls will always show up to your ninja turtle themed parties in princess costumes, you're responsible for throwing the best Halloween party and in college, that the celebration lasted 5-6 days. It was glorious, and I loved every minute of it, but after 24 years, I was ready to try something new. 

Cinque Terre, literally meaning five lands, is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, famous for its colorful houses, ancient vineyards clung to steep terraces, fishing boats bringing in seafood daily, and of course, pesto. "The Five Lands" are comprised of five small villages: Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare. Each holds its own unique style, but all are connected by the intercity train system, or wonderful mountainous hiking trails. The most famous of which, Via Dell'Amore, which connects Manarola to Riomaggiore, was sadly closed while we were there, due to torrential rain which caused floods and mudslides in October of 2011.

Still, our week spent there, was filled with love. We hiked, and ate our way through each small village, sometimes taking the train back to our apartment in Manarola, after a long day.  This was the first time during our 72 days of back-packing that we stayed in one place for an entire week, a much needed rest, and an experience I'll definitely never forget.