16 October 2016



Having to wake up at 5am is never easy but knowing you'll be on a beach by the end of the day helps a lot. I love flying; the buzz of taking off; the amazement at the ever-changing view; being constantly astounded that humans can be this high up in the sky, looking down over the clouds. After a super quick flight, we touch down in Pisa and head to catch our train to Monterosso - a small island part of Cinque Terre. This translates to 'five islands' and Monterosso is one of them. We had been last year and my sisters and I were beyond excited to return.

Arriving there wasn't exactly how I'd wanted or expected it to be - it was raining, the sea didn't look blue and most restaurants were shut for unknown reasons, forcing us to choose the first place we found open, resulting in a less than mediocre and what I'm convinced was a microwave meal. Not the first day we had hoped for, however, we were relieved to wake up to sun streaming through the curtains the next morning...

Our hotel wasn't on the beachfront, instead it was tucked away further into the island, where if you were lucky to get a seat on the balcony at breakfast, you had beautiful views of lush, green mountains and palm trees sprinkled everywhere. It was the most peaceful thing waking up and eating breakfast overlooking luscious greenery. Sitting there took me back to when our mum had brought us here the year before and staring into the mountains reminded me of how we had gotten lost up there for three hours! 

Wanting to hike, cycle, kayak and paddle board all at once, we decided to head towards the beach and see where the day took us. A mixture of tourists and Italians were crammed onto the beach, overlooking people dotted in the bluest sea I've ever seen. We chose to do kayaking, hoping to wander over to the caves and waterfall someone had told us about, however, the water was too rough to get too close to any caves. My arms were killing me after a short while of rowing, so I don't think I would have made it anyway. It ended up being a day of ultimate relaxing on the beach, enjoying fresh food and warm weather. 

The next day was pretty similar - except we opted for paddle boarding. This is basically a surfboard that you just stand on and paddle around, however, as mentioned before, the waters were pretty rough and we couldn't manage to stand up too long without falling into the water. I'm sure we gave everyone on the beach a good laugh but we couldn't stop laughing ourselves - it was the most hilarious thing ever and so much fun. 

On our second to last day, we decided to go for a hike around the island. The plan was to actually hike over to Vernazza - the town next to Monterosso. It was said to take around an hour and a half but it was extremely hot that day and we got pretty hot and tired after a short while, so we decided to keep it a local hike around Monterosso. It was one of the best walks I've ever done. We walked to parts of the island we hadn't seen before and managed to find spots with absolutely breathtaking views, as I'm sure you can see from the photos but even then, the photos still don't do it justice. We ended up walking back at sunset, taking in the amazing landscapes, snapping photos along the way. As it was our last night, we decided to end on a lovely big meal. We all shared a beyond huge seafood paella, it was a min. 2 person dish at €14 pp but seemed endless. I have to say that I don't even like seafood but this was amazing! Albeit, I did pick out the shelled prawns and mussels but the flavour was immense! The staff there were also super friendly, which is actually something we hardly witnessed here. It was a great final night to our holiday. 

On our last day, we had a bit of a late flight so had time to wander around a bit more. In hindsight, we should have used one of our beach days to hop on a train and check out one of the other towns; we heard that Manarola was meant to be absolutely beautiful at sunset. However, we had an amazing time walking around the town, feeling like a total risk taker standing on the edge of the cliff and we found the spot where people go cliff jumping from - which was insane! There were no jumpers at the time, due to the choppy waters but it terrified me just standing at the top. It was so high and there were actually quite a few rocks at the bottom, with a small portion to jump into, although despite how scary it looked, I think I'd jump still! 

This trip was one of my favourite holiday memories. It was simple and close to home but getting to spend time with my two sisters was so much fun and some of the best travel company I could ask for. You know when a trip is just easy going and you all flow together? Such a magical experience. 

I hope you enjoyed this style of blog post. I didn't feel like doing a guide; I just wanted to share my experience in its totality, since it was such a special trip.

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