Pictures don't do it justice.
We got the train from Florence to La Spezia in the Cinque Terre and then onto our stop Riomaggiore. The Cinque Terre in Italy is beyond beautiful, everything you see there is absolutely breath taking. The way the town was built up the side of the mountains was so nice to see, I don't think I've seen anything like it before. Literally a hidden gem. We stayed here for two days in an Airbnb.
Our first day was exploring the town we were staying in and sunbathing by the harbour. It was literally rocks everywhere so you had to just sunbathe wherever you found a spot. Luckily we got a good spot where the boats docked so we could lay down for the afternoon.
While we were sunbathing we made friends with a local guy who worked in the adventure centre. He was saying to us that at night time he does a kayaking trip into the ocean where you go into the caves to look at the Plankton. He described it as "that scene from life of pi". At first I was a little hesitant about going on kayaks at 1 in the morning to the dark ocean because I can't swim and was nervous about what if I fell overboard. He assured us that we would be okay because the sea was calm where we were going. The darkness also had us a little nervous (especially me), like how would we see where we were going?! We just had to trust the instructor.
We all had our own kayaks and followed him towards the caves. Once you were in the ocean you could actually see clearly, the moon lit up the sky so you could see where you were going. This put me at ease that it wasn't as dark as I imagined it to be. When you get into the caves it was literally pitch black but once you looked down you can see what looked like small lights on the floor but then the instructor flicked the water and it all sparkled like glitter. It was like he was throwing stars onto the top of the cave. It was so magical and one of the most beautiful natural things I have ever seen. Literally like The life of Pi. Who knew the Plankton fish could be so beautiful. Not going to lie, I hate the dark. Especially pitch dark so it took me a while to feel comfortable in the cave. I really didn't like how I couldn't see any of my surroundings. But the beauty of the moment really made up for it. We then stopped on some large flat rocks outside the caves and got out of our canoes and drank some wine. This was such a random experience, literally to be sitting there in the middle of the night, in the dark, staring at the stars with some random guy we just met that day drinking wine in the middle of the ocean. This was not something we imagined we would be doing on our girls trip to Italy. But it's all those impulse moments that make it so memorable. Literally when we were finished and walking back to our place we were all buzzing with energy, we had a such an adrenaline rush. We were thinking "nobody is going to believe we just did that".
The next day we got up early and got the train to Monterosso. We wanted a beach day and heard there was a beautiful big one here. This beach was so nice. Only annoying thing was it was a cloudy day and started to rain around 4 so we had to pack the bags and head back to our place. We luckily got a few nice hours to relax here before the rain started.
The weather cleared up that evening and it was onto Manarola. We seen from Instagram stalking there was the nicest restaurant here (Nessun Dorma) that we were dying to check out. The walk up to this cliff side restaurant is just beautiful. You get the most amazing view of Manarola. When we got here there was a queue but it wasn't the worst, we only had to wait around 20 minutes. This gave us plenty of time for those much needed selfies with the view while we were waiting in line. You can't book a table here, this is great because that way it gives everyone a chance to come and enjoy the experience of it. They only did cold foods like cheese boards and bruschetta etc. The vibe here was so nice. Really cosy and relaxed. The wine was incredible and so was the view.
The Cinque Terre has so much beauty and experiences to offer. I would have loved another two days here to explore some more but while being in Italy it would be rude not to head up towards where my family and friends are from and to spend some time with them. So the next day I said bye to my girls as they headed to the airport and I got the train to Rome to see one of my good friends. We had a fun girls night in Rome where she lives.
Then the next day I went up to go visit my dads family who live over there. My Nonna made the nicest pasta dish ever followed by a berry tart that I think I ate half of to myself. My Nonna was also being the bad influence telling me to have more more more. She thinks I don't eat enough when most people can't believe how much I actually eat. It was just so nice to be able to see my cousins again and to laugh at how crazy and loud my family are. You appreciate the madness even more when you have to say goodbye. Literally never a boring moment with them.