A Brutal Enjoyment

January 10, 2012

The Italian Riviera stretches between the glistening Ligurian Sea and the meeting of the exquisite Maritime Alps and the alluring Apennines; within it a lovely town known as La Spezia lays directly off the coast. Just a short train ride away places any eager tourist in the captivating coast of Cinque Terra, which is comprised of five unique and equally stunning towns. The jarring cliffs surround the routes between the five towns fabricating a fearful and chilling mood in parent and child alike. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare make up this magnificent coast line and the wondrous pathways connecting them expose a view of the crystal blue Mediterranean Sea and forever green landscape that initiate a marvelous adventure like no other.
After reaching the port of La Spezia by Disney Cruise Line and taking a train to the end of the coastline my family and I arrived at the town of Monterosso al Mare. It was a busy little town with lots of tourists and a limited amount of tan grain near the sea. Lunch time was still a few hours away, so we decided a scenic walk to the next town for some delicious food would be an efficient time waster.
Following the crowd, we approached the start of our journey on a rocky pathway. The smooth, decorative stones encouraged our embarkation and the shining sun would be our leading north star for the day’s adventure. We took a look at the map and found that the trek would take a measly two hours over only three kilometers. Of course we’re the typical Americans who think that we rule the world and we can do anything we want plus we figured the map makers were just extending the time a bit, so we headed on up to the cliffs.
Nonetheless, ten minutes into our odyssey, our feet were on fire. They felt like they would fall off any second. Unfortunately, behind us a few more intelligent natives trudged up the cliffs, making us look bad. Us being normal egotistical American, we moved on huffing and puffing to the top of the cliffs. The pain was excruciating, but we had to keep going. Water stops were voluminous and stopping was much craved.
Consequently, one question stung our brain. Besides being American, why were we really continuing this exasperating journey? The nature of course! The birds and the bees were singing the glorious tunes of a bright day. The flowers were brighter than anything we had every seen. Though the sun burned us through our newly “lobsterized” skin, it gleamed with yellow crystals that illuminated the glistening sea. O the sea! The mix of bright colors in the cool spectrum pushed me to finish. It was the gold trophy that awaited me at the end of this peregrination.
Once I got over the fact that I was completely out of shape, I began to enjoy myself. The view was great and I was losing calories by the second. It felt amazing to get some exercise in and I felt like I was on top of the world! Energy was springing back into me in all angles. I let the pain be removed from my mind and compensated myself with water whenever necessary.
Finally, the trophy was in sight! The crystal blue sea beamed up at us as it finally splashed against the rocky coastline of Vernazza. With every ounce of energy left we finished the course and headed straight a sea-side restaurant famous for its magnificent pesto anything. Although I wasn’t in the mood to get fat, this was the perfect re-fueling for the last two tiresome hours.
We suffered pain and sweat, but enjoyed beauty and energy. It was a day of brutality and a day of adventure. A journey meant for the stupid and fit, but we lasted through it. We trekked all three kilometers up and down the jarring cliffs because “when in Cinque Terre…”

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