Cinque Terre by Isabelle Ede

On Friday, May 27th, I finally got to experience the Riviera di Levante during a weekend visit to Cinque Terre on my Study Abroad trip. A bunch of girls from this trip, including myself, paid for a cute little hotel in a quaint town on the outskirts of the touristy towns of Cinque Terre. We visited all of the villages to shop, eat, and even swim alongside many canoes, kayaks, and small boats coming in and out of the harbors. Cinque Terre surprised me in many ways. I think, because it is a big tourist attraction, I thought it would be filthy. This prediction was, more than likely, based off my experiences in America, where most places with public access tend to be polluted over time with no upkeep. Here, the waters were clear and unpolluted, locals were more than happy to point you in the right direction, and the streets were clear of any debris.

For our first full day, we decided to go on a private boat tour and see the cities from the water. I had the most amazing experience of my life, and I don’t think anything will top it. Our tour guide, Matteo, topped at a spot that was random to us and told us to jump off. We looked at each other in confusion, because from where we were, we couldn’t see that there was a cave just around the bend. Also, his English wasn’t very good, so that made describing things quite incomprehensible. Choosing to trust the cute tour guide, all eight of us girls jumped off the boat into the crystal clear and chilly water. He told us he had “floating spaghetti” to give us, which roughly translated to pool noodles. He said each color was a different type of pasta – green was pesto, red was marinara, and yellow was Carbonaro. We were also given goggles and snorkels, with which we were able to see schools of small fish following us everywhere we swam.

On our next stop, we were once again told to jump. So, we jumped. Using the “floating spaghetti”, we swam in the direction he pointed. Just before we were out of hearing range, we heard Matteo say, “Go have a Tarzan and Jane moment!” Confused, we laughed and kept going. Just around a boulder, was a beautiful waterfall trickling down from cliff and into the ocean. After voiding sea urchins as best we could and slipping on slimy, mossy rocks, we finally made it. The water, we found out, was fresh water from the mountains above. Using the YOLO effect, we drank it. Matteo looked at us like we were crazy. Maybe we were in that moment, but it was a moment I will remember forever.

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