Città di Mare

Imagine right now a fast-forwarded scene in which myself, Erin, and Mike hop from train to train, nervously eyeball hundreds of high schoolers flooding into a train car only to get off one stop later, and carefully triple-check our tickets against confusing platform distinctions written in the native language. This scene sums up our morning quite well–a healthy mix of waiting and listening for our stop, then rushing around the stations to find our next chariot.

The travel shuffle proved worthwhile the second we stepped out of our final train. Violent waves crashed against beautifully nature-carved rocks just below the bridge in Riomaggiore, one of the five cliff-dwelling cities that hugs the Mediterranean sea and, for what it’s worth, is the most gorgeous and stunning place I have ever been. We spent the first half of our day exploring the rocky coast and climbing treacherous paths just to relish the unbelievable views of the sea. We got lost in the city streets but quickly found that getting lost was the only right way to take in the stunning panoramas of the cities.

Chances are you’ve seen Cinque Terre in pictures galore. Luckily, Erin was with us to capture the marvel firsthand. If you’re hungry for more, head to the Cole Tries Facebook page for all the photos.

As we wandered, we contemplated how we might find the trail to Manarola, the next city over. The streets we wound through felt entirely residential, and we were quite high up on the mountain, so we traipsed down a nearby staircase, stumbling upon a sign that pointed straight to Manarola. We graciously accepted this stroke of luck and set off on the trail. We rode it out on adrenaline for a few minutes, but soon the trail started thoroughly kicking our asses. Stairs dominated the path forward, and we had to stop every few minutes. Naturally, I had my GoPro on my head to capture my heavy breathing and, whenever possible, the breathtaking views. We met two australian women on the trail, and they stuck it out with us. We reached the top of the mountain, savored the view, and headed down the opposite side to Manarola, all the while enjoying conversation with our new friends. Take a look:

The long trek led us to the bay of Manarola, where we ate some fresh seafood pasta with squid ink before heading back to the train. We parted ways with our Australian comrades and relaxed on the train to Pisa.

Lean on Me

Unable to resist what is perhaps the most touristy photo op in history, we stopped at Pisa on our way back to Florence:

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The Leaning Tower is much smaller in person than you’d expect (that’s what she said), and I was largely turned off because my search for a bathroom was not fruitful. Still, it was a great sight to see, and we munched on a quick dinner before boarding our final train of the night.

Stay tuned for some great new Cole Tries adventures over the next few weeks! We have boy wizards, pretty women, plants, puppies, sk8r girls, and so much more!

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