Putting the “study” in studying abroad

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Hey guys
So I have discovered that traveling in Europe and studying has really taken up all the time that I have. Considering that I do not have access to a computer, this may be my last post for now. I am taking Europe and the culture in as much as I can without tainting the experience with so much technology.

With that said, I have to tell you guys about my adventures in Cinque Terre this past weekend while I take a much needed break from my studies.

Cinque Terre is a region consisting of five cities that are located pretty close to eachother (about a 9-11 hour hike from the first town to the last). We stayed in a quaint town called Riomaggiore. It is the town furthest south and definitely had a small town feel. We stayed in an apartment that was rented out by an old Italian couple who lived upstairs. It had two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, and a random room with chairs. This place proved to be the best place to experience the locality and essence of Italy at its best.
We arrived pretty late the first day and so we settled in and got ready to go get some dinner. It didn’t take long before we realized that the town essentially just spans off of one main street and within the first hour, we already felt at home. We decided to eat at this small restaurant on the main road and all I can say is, good choice. I had the best meal of spaghetti and clam, oysters, shrimp, and octopus. I am always on the lookout for the best seafood and jump on every opportunity to enjoy some fresh seafood. Without a doubt, the entire weekends’ seafood meals were some of the best I have ever tried and I am so thankful that I can say I’ve truly experienced Mediterranean cuisine at its finest. I highly recommend it for all the seafood seekers out there.

After dinner, we ran into what appeared to be the “hangout spot” in Riomaggiore. We decided to hang out there and ended up meeting some very sweet Italian people and a girl from San Diego (what a small world). These people pretty much sparked our adventures the rest of the weekend and without them, we would never have seen the magnificent things we saw. We made plans to meet up with them in the morning and ended home, quite exhausted around 1AM.

The next morning we walked past our hang out spot from the night before all to find that they served breakfast as well (essentially it became our home for the weekend). Although I was desperately craving eggs and bacon, I was very hesitant to order eggs because I am not one to simply eat a runny egg. In fact, it has to be overly cooked to the point that no liquid will ever come from that egg. At the end, I decided to take a risk and I ordered an omelette…best decision. The eggs and omelettes at this place are not like our eggs, they were thoroughly cooked and really thin. It was served with fresh tomatoes (of course…there’s never a course here without fresh tomatoes and basil), bacon that is not cooked to the crisp which I love, and bread (another definite part of every meal in Italy). The cappuccino that accompanied my meal proved to be the cherry on top of another phenomenal meal.

At the end of breakfast, we decided to head up to Montereso al mare, which is the main tourist and beach town furthest from where we stayed. We paid 2 euros for an 8 minute train ride to Montereso and proceeded to explore the town in search of the beaches. We soon came upon them and I was in awe. There was only one main sandy beach followed by very rocky sand, but it was simply breathtaking. I get simply moved by any beach anywhere, the plethora of all colors of umbrellas, people, buildings, rocks and incredible waves, left me utterly satisfied and blessed that I was able to be in that place. We found some of our girls from our trip and decided to walk along the beach, which proved to be a lot more painful and time consuming than we had expected. We came upon a few topless women and men wearing speedos, truly getting a feel of European culture.

After a little more exploring, we discovered our stomachs were again, in need of more food (I am constantly hungry and its getting a wee bit ridiculous). We decided to stay simple and eat at a restaurant right on the beach since it randomly decided to start raining on us, but only lasted five minutes (typical unpredictable beach weather…thats always the same). I ordered a lasagna and devoured it. This lasagna is not like the Stouffers oven lasagna I am used to, no this was 100x better. I’m telling you, food in general is so much better, I am really going to struggle shifting back to American processed food.

I just have to leave you guys with one thought, never take for granted the places you’ve been and the things you’ve seen. At the time, you may not think much of it because you are thinking about whats next but don’t. Stop and take in all facets of every place you go, whether its the absolutely beautiful sight of the Mediterranean or simply a beautiful park or lake. It’s amazing how much you can get from life from simply being in its presence.

“All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.” – Paul Fussell

Ciao and buona sera!

Here a few random pictures ranging throughout the country of Italy

St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) about to feed the pigeons :)
St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) about to feed the pigeons 🙂
Riding in the infamous gondolas
Riding in the infamous gondolas

Fireworks on the night that Italy won the semi-finals for the World Cup soccer. What an incredible experience to see that

 

 

Standing in front of the ancient Roman Ruins
Standing in front of the ancient Roman Ruins

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