Girls weekend to Cinque Terre. What sounds more exciting than that?! Little did I know that this weekend would be one of my favorite weekends and one of the most memorable. The fab 4 (yes, we named ourselves, and yes, it is a fantastic name) started our adventurous weekend by going to Manarola, the second town out of the five. I would say we went there to go to the beach, but as the information lady put it when I asked her where the beach was, “no beach, just rocks.” So therefore, naturally, we went cliff jumping. We couldn’t have chosen a better time to go, too. It was evening, most people had already left so it was less crowded, and we got to watch the sunset as we jumped into the cool sea. I am a thrill-seeker so I probably wasn’t the best influence to everyone when it comes to jumping of rocks into the ocean. We met this sweet lady from San Francisco, Maria, who discouraged me from jumping of the second to highest point on the rocks. Of course I was already leaning off the edge about to jump when she said I shouldn’t jump, but the daredevil that I am, I leaped off and into the water below. It was exhilarating. Apparently I had a round of applause from the crowded lookout from above. I would 100% do it again.
I have ABSOLUTELY loved being able to live in Italy for the past six weeks. What has helped made my time in Italia worthwhile has been the amazing group of people I have met and spent my time with. I have not traveled in another country without my parents, so I was put to the test being placed with 24 other students. All of us together on a fun, new adventure and thankfully we all got along and became a large family. Julia, Shelby, and Erin for sure became my “sisters” and our girls getaway to Cinque Terre was perfect excursion for our little family. We cooked, cleaned, and laughed throughout the nights, we even messed up the washing machine, but somehow our entire kitchen being flooded with water. Ever since then we have been inseparable, planning weekend trips back in Austin and abroad. The key to studying abroad is meeting everyone and learning that everyone will not be happy the entire time. As a group I feel that we have come full circle and I know that we all hold special memories with each other because we experienced so many different towns and adventures with one another. During our time strangers became friends and friends became family, this is what makes study abroad so special and a MUST for college kids everywhere.
Italy has been hard for me, mainly because there is no breakfast. In Rome we were fortunate enough to have breakfast at the hotel. When we came back to Castiglion Fiorentino, I was shocked back into reality. Cinque Terre was a wonderful escape from the usual pasta and cappuccino. We cooked breakfast both mornings. We had eggs, bacon, toast, fruit, and coffee. Cinque Terre was beautiful, but the breakfast was the prettiest thing I’ve seen since I’ve been here.
My favorite part of Cinque Terre was definitely the hike. Hiking is one of those things some do for the hike, and some people do it for the view. I definitely just do it for the view aspect. It was such a steep hike but well worth it! Also, I believe doing something difficult with people you care about brings you so much closer together. The hike was tough but we met awesome people along the way and stopped at a lemonade stand that a woman we met from Canada told us about. We ate some sandwiches we had made that morning and honestly, it was better than any panino I’ve had on this whole trip. The hike was 10 miles and scaled all 5 towns. It was crazy because we were dripping sweat and panting but locals would walk by looking flawless as ever, as Italians do. We finally got to the beach after about 4 or 5 hours and I have never been so happy to see a beach. I appreciated it so much more than I would have taking a train and I learned so much more about Sierra, Erin, and Julia along the way.