ROADTRIP TO ITALY: CINQUE TERRE

Tiina Kivelä

One of the best things about living in Switzerland is how close everything is. The other towns, valleys, mountains, glaciers, countries and cultures, like Italy. And in our series of Instagram-friendly trips mixing adventure and chill I’m now going to introduce you to Cinque Terre. It wasn’t the lightest trip, combined with another one, with many hours in cars and trains, topped with Italian food… But oh boy, it was worth the effort. In all, I was travelling for a week in the beginning of June; first on a real road trip to Italy, after which back to Switzerland to catch a flight to Andalusia, Spain. And let’s start with the Italian story, and the others will follow sooner or later.

For the trip, friends (including the best trip organiser ever, thanks again M) had booked an Airbnb in a surprisingly nice little Ligurian town called Sarzana. And there we spent few days and nights, mostly on the roof terrace with good friends, ex-colleagues, ex-lovers and new lovers. Yes, with these people it’s kind of complicated, but that’s what makes it fun really. When travelling, better not to take oneself, nor others, too seriously. On a second thought, better not to take oneself too seriously ever. I’m afraid I’ve done that too much myself, and it would be a time to loosen up. Not to care that much about everything… But well, that’s another story. Let’s again get back to the Italian one.

First day night we arrived after midnight to this sleepy town, a bit surprised for the road and tunnel charges on the way (and noting how one day we have to come back and stop on the way in Arosa Valley for biking). The next day, we started with real Italian breakfast (espresso! cappuccino!) before taking a bus and train to the first village of our Cinque Terre tour, Monterosso, from where we continued after a chill beach day to Vernazza by local boat shuttle. And since we are adventurers, not tourists, we had to rent kayaks for an hour before sunset and drink our aperó’s from plastic cups. And yes, there was pizza and seafood included in that day too. It was Italy and the sea, after all.

The next and for me also the final Italian day, we drove to Portovenere (or Porto Venere – still not sure how it really goes) and tried to rent a boat to go further to the sea. But as the weather in the sea wasn’t permitting, a friend dug out his inflatable rubber boat and after late lunch, and gelatos, we paddled over from Portovenere to the nearby island. I think it’s called Palmaria but again not 100% sure. Nevertheless, there’s a national park and fewer tourists than on the mainland. In a matter of fact, it might so that the whole Cinque Terre is national park (hands up for nature and outdoor recreation!). It was a fun, a bit crazy trip and like always the island seemed to be something I want to go back to, hiking and finding a bit quieter beach for skinny-dipping, maybe…

And yes, of course, there was a nice Italian sunset by the sea. And more pizza, wine and frutti di mare. And a bit of Lord Byron too (google Portovenere and Lord Byron to find out more) before,  at 5 am the next morning, heading back to Switzerland through Parma, Milan, catching a beautiful view to Lake Como too, to catch a flight to Andalusia. But that’s another story for another occasion. This was Italy in June 2017.

Good night now.

Tiina Kivelä

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more

― George Gordon Byron


Cinque Terre ennen huippusesonkia ja viikon pituisen eteläeuroopan kierrokseni ensimmäinen etappi kesäkuun alussa. Aurinkoa, lämpöä, pastaa ja frutti di mare’a eli mereneläviä; yllättävän kirkas ja suolainen merivesi, kanottireissu ja kumivenereissu. Ihastuttava Airbnb kattoterassilla ja mahtava, hieman vinksahtanut seura How I Met Your Mother tyyliin; entisiä ja uusia pariskuntia, vauva-arjesta lomailijoita ja italialaisia tulkkeja ja melkein paikallisoppaita. Oli hauskaa, vaikkakin raskasta, eikä vähiten taas italialaisen ruoan johdosta.