Buongiorno! I’m sure the St. Louis Rams’ fanbase, despite recent struggles, is spread all over the globe. And while many of my Random Ramsdom’s are written from my home in the Washington D.C. area, I’m clicking away on the ‘ol keyboard this morning in Italy. Cinque Terre, to be exact.
I won’t bore you with the entirety of my vacation, which started this past Saturday, but for those that care, I’ll share a little bit about my trip thus far. Otherwise, feel free to skip to the Rams’ goodies, which are all linked up below.
For starters, Cinque Terre is five small towns/villages along the Italian Rivera, north of the Amalfi Coast, which more folks seem to be familiar with. Same coast, different region. The five villages are shown in the graphic [below]. The Mrs. and I are staying in Riomaggiore; the southern most destination.
For starters, this particular region of the world doesn’t suit the fancy of many who are looking to live a life of luxury for a week or two. While it’s got it’s perks, it’s also very quaint -- five little villages tucked inside the rocky coastal hills of the Italian Riviera..all very different from one another. None of them are necessarily known for lavish lifestyles, king sized beds, or any of the amenities that either of the aforementioned would draw interest from a vacation-er who’s looking for the all-inclusive treatment. Many of my wife’s clients [fancier folks with fancier wallets, who’ve visited before] have told us that we’re doing this vacation all wrong -- not spending the majority of our time in major cities like Rome and Venice [which we’ve chosen to only visit for a day].
But that’s not how I roll. To be honest, living in a very fast paced, constantly on-the-go part of the world, I enjoy vacations where I’m more likely to run into a bear than a human. As does my better half. We like to actually get away on our getaways. We also love hiking. And that’s why we’re in Cinque Terre.
Here’s a pic I took [minus the Nike shorts] from the rooftop of our unit in Riomaggiore. Houses on houses on shops, restaurants, fresh fruit and veggie vendors, and gelaterias aaaaaall the way up the one mile long strip.
We’ve gone to Hawaii...to hike. We’ve gone to Alaska...to hike. We’ve gone to Costa Rica...to hike. We’ve hiked Virginia and Maryland like it’s no one’s business. We’re still very green to what the world has to offer, but we want to explore, and when we get there we...well...we want to walk very strenuously. And that’ll stay true when we choose our next destination.
So hiking Cinque Terre...as you can see the towns are built into the coastline. Only one, Corniglia, is constructed on a cliff, but it’s still very much oceanside. The four remaining villages all have water/"beach" [term used very loosely] access. It’s all steps though...the whole place. Everything in Riomaggiorre...everything in Cinque Terre. All steps. Come with your quads/knees/feet prepped. Up steps, down steps...after a while it doesn’t matter. But it’s a beautiful place. Friendly people, great food, beautiful views, and cool ocean breezes. This place has it all...if that’s what you’re looking for, of course.
The main draw, for myself and the Mrs., was our ability to hike such a beautiful stretch of Earth. There’s a "blue trail" which stretches 7.5 miles between Riomaggiore and Monterosso [the northern most, and most tourist-y village]. We had a little fun with it, as there’s a 14th century church at the top of Rio that we wanted to visit...err...look at. We turned that hike into a one-day, 19 mile trek which took us about 8 hours. All in all it was an 11 hour day, but I probably haven’t mentioned that wine is bountiful in this region of the world, and requires one to stop frequently to re-hyrdrate...
And wine's not the only thing -- by the way some wine is cheaper than a bottle of water here [ayo!]. Cinque Terre is known for many things: focaccia, pesto, gelato, calamari, anchovies, olives, and...well, I’m probably leaving a bunch out. But those are the basic "must try" things I was told weren’t optional. And I’ve not been disappointed. Pizza is everywhere, fellow Americans!
I’ve had gnocchi. I’ve had ravioli. Spaghetti? Check! I’ve had sea bass and sashimi tuna. I’ve also had cups/cones filled with fried calamari, shrimp, and anchovies for five euro.
I have not, however, tried the ciken nughets. I can only imagine they’re delicious.