The first free weekend we had, another program member, Shelby, and I went to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is on the Mediterranean coast, west of Castiglion Fiorentino, and is made up of five small towns. When planning the trip, we consulted our trusty Rick Steves guide. And let me tell you, he never led us wrong. We stayed in the town of Riomaggiore. Our hotel, though a far trek up the hill, was easy to find, easy to book, and exactly what we expected. Unfortunately the hiking trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola was closed due to landslides. So instead of hiking we ate. We ate the two best meals I’ve ever had in my life. The first night we got there we went to Rick Steves’ waterfront suggestion. It was located on the docks and had a beautiful view of the water.
Shelby and I split a bottle of wine and a seafood sampler appetizer. We started to order a primi course but thankfully the waiter told us to wait. The sampler was huge! They brought out ten plates of all different types of seafood. Seafood you would never try in the States. But I tried everything and it was all delicious. Squid, octopus, and anchovies were among my favorite of the dishes. Your nose might be wrinkling but trust me, I am a picky eater and even I enjoyed it. The next day we took a ferry over to the second town, Manarola. Rick Steves warned us the hike would be tough but that it was worth it, and boy was he right. We went to a guy named Billy’s restaurant. We split a lobster pasta dish. It was so delicious. I”ve never been to Maine but this meal would have put the Maine chefs to shame. Cinque Terre is such a beautiful place and has so much to offer. I wish I could go back and do more in the five towns. And of course I’ll have to bring Rick Steves along.