I have never felt like I’ve belonged in a place more than I did when I spent the afternoon in the beautiful Cinque Terre. The second I stepped off of the high-speed train and set foot in the small seaside town of Manarola, I was struck silent. The extraordinarily vibrant houses, the vines of exotic flowers creeping their way up the sides of stucco, the tempting souvenir shops, and the numerous seafood shacks that dotted the pedestrian packed streets are the images that flash through the movie reel of my mind when I think back on this specific adventure.
The crystal clear icy blue waters were smashing up against the rocky coastline and carrying the boats with a swift momentum that would rock a baby to sleep. The frothy waves swished and swirled, taunting me and teasing me to take a dip. If only I had brought a bathing suit. I was frantic when I first arrived in Manarola because I was extremely intent on exploring every inch of the enchanting town. I ventured around the steep, cobblestone streets until I came across a seaside path that led me to the most captivating view. The narrow pathway that that winded around the towering cliffs and the sparkling sea guided me to a lookout where I was able to see the cluster of rainbow houses perched parallel to the sea and the sky. Looking at this view I’m embarrassed to say that I got a bit emotional; I had never felt so at ease or in my element gazing out at the sea and all the natural beauty that surrounded me. It was in this moment that I came to the conclusion I will never give up on my dream to live out the rest of my days on the water in a seaside town.
After sufficiently working up an appetite from the long-winded uphill hike, I sat down to lunch at a seafood restaurant perched on the side of one of the towering cliffs overlooking the water. Squid-ink pasta with shrimp was my meal of choice and boy was it delicious. I was not only full due to my consumption of delicious seafood, but from overwhelming, immense happiness. Cinque Terre, specifically the town of Manarola, remains one of my favorite places I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting.