I'll never forget the day that I went to Vernazza, one of The Cinque Terre, the five coastal villages located on the Ligurian coastline of Northern Italy. Literally meaning five lands, The Cinque Terre also includes- Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia and Monterosso el Mare or Monterosso.
My very own Italian trip started from Riomaggiore, the first village where I purchased a 2-day Cinque Terre card. This card included unlimited train travel between the five villages as well access to the hiking paths of the Italian villages. A gorgeous sunny day awaited me- the Sun god generous probably because it was me who headed to the beach (y) avenues- an opportunity I rarely got in the hilly terrain of Northern India. I hopped on the train which was heading to Monterosso and saw an expanse of clear blue skies and rugged coastline. The gigantic sea called out to me and the slow sound of waves on the rocks welcomed me. It enthralled my senses.
I started the much acclaimed trek to the other villages from Monterosso. Every now and then I would catch my breath and wait for a minute to soak myself in the beauty of the Italian Riviera. And I wondered- everyone gushed about Rome and Florence but no one ever spoke of Cinque Terre. It was just so enchanting, so Hollywood like. After about an hour or so I reached the second village- Vernazza which had pastel hued homes and cobbled streets. The view from atop the hill of Vernazza was surreal and impeccable. It almost left me speechless to look down towards this beauty. Vernazza offered me a sumptuous meal of sea food and delicious mango gelato apart from the striking coastline views. I was left smitten. It opened my heart and mind to the simpler things of life which we oh so often miss. There is nothing as peaceful as visiting Vernazza, of lofty mountains, beaches and dry stone walls flanked by cherries, wisteria and iris; that was Cinque Terre for me.