musings from cinque terre

It is now the end of my second week in Italy, and each of the three cities I’ve visited so far have been very different. Week One was the small, beautiful beach village of Villasimius, Sardinia. Many Italians spend their summer holidays here and so, this being the last week of August, the beach and town center were packed. I think I heard English spoken only twice the entire time I was there!

me chillin' in sardinia

me chillin’ in sardinia

sardinian waters...

sardinian waters…

Then it was off to Rome. Talk about a 180! My friend and I only had three days to explore the city, which we filled with: a bicycle tour of numerous monuments (too many to name here); proper visits to the Colosseum, Forum, Capitoline Museum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and Vatican; and, of course, shopping. (Though I didn’t go too crazy with the latter, as I still have four weeks of Italian travel ahead of me!)

While in Rome I sensed that I would feel the ‘real’ power and history of the city only after I was gone, and this is holding to be true. It’s been a few days since I left, and now that I’m not immersed in its frenetic pace, I can feel Rome’s haunting, pulling energy. It was amazing and slightly incomprehensible for my senses to grasp the true magnitude of how ancient the city is. One thing I know – I will be back.

view of corniglia, cinque terre, on my hike

view of corniglia, cinque terre, on my hike

And now I am in stunning, gorgeous, Cinque Terre, staying in beautiful Monterroso al Mare….the perfect balance between the cruisy, slow pace of Sardinia, and the extreme bustle of Rome. Visitors to Cinque Terre can usually hike the coastline between five of its villages (Monterroso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore) but, unfortunately, the last two trails are currently closed! At first I was a little bummed, but I’ve done the first two hikes a couple of times, and it’s been so beautiful (and hot!) here that I really cannot complain.

It’s my last morning here in Cinque Terre, and now begins a new phase of my journey: my friend and I part ways, and I continue on solo for the rest of my time in Italy, soon off to Lucca, Tuscany. While it has been great to discover Italy with a friend, I’m looking forward to this next stage of my journey, experiencing the insights and discoveries that only travelling solo can provide.

To be honest, I haven’t taken many photos so far, which is quite unusual for me. This is partly because my friend has been getting some amazing shots with her SLR camera – much better than my point-and-shoot! But it’s also because I’ve generally been finding the picture-taking a little distracting. I’ve come to Italy to absorb its beauty on many levels…to let Italy imprint my heart. And while of course I want to capture this journey, in a strange way, taking pictures is getting in the way of that. We’ll see, though. Perhaps things will change once I am on my own. Maybe I’m just being lazy!

my typical breakfast - so much for gluten-free!

my typical breakfast – so much for gluten-free!

Of course Italy has been having a deeper impact on me, going way beyond the sights I’ve seen. I can’t quite articulate it just yet; all I can say is that this adventure is exactly what my soul had been asking for – crying for – and I am in so, so much gratitude that I can experience every second of it. My heart is full and words (for now) just won’t do it justice.

Ciao for now. xo.

23 thoughts on “musings from cinque terre

  1. Oh I love Cinque Terre! Wife and I spent two weeks in Manarola about 6 years ago. This brought back such fond memories. I love being in a foreign land and soaking up the rich culture.


  2. Ahhhh, I should’ve read this one before the latest post. I didn’t realize I was two posts behind, I’ve been so busy myself! I love the photos, the ocean, the crazy Italian stack of houses on a cliff, ha, and the BREAKFAST…it all looks amazing! I love reading your writing as you’re there, but I think all that Italy is burning into your heart, like a branding iron, will not fully come into your awareness until the trip is over! And I can’t think of a better place for you to feed your soul and/or your stomach than beautiful Italia!


    • totally agree with you…italy will be with me a looooong while and the layers will reveal themselves only over time. i already miss it bigtime; my heart feels heavy. (i’ve only been gone 4 days!)
      how am i gonna go from chocolate croissants to crumbly rice muffins when i go home next week?! Oh well…tonight i go for swiss fondue; hopefully that will help. πŸ™‚


  3. Okay wow~ I started crying as you spoke of Rome. I din’t expect that. I do know, and have memory of several past lives in Rome, but I really didn’t expect an emotional reaction. Interesting. I think it is because I can feel you in your writing. I can share in your feeling and it was so powerful. Thanks friend. Have a really lovely time. I agree that taking pictures can distract from your true experiencing.

    Namaste sister~


  4. I so enjoy following your life, including this trip. So pleased you are spending time in Cinque Terra. Been there twice, once over night and then for two weeks about three years ago in Manarola. Loved it.


    • thank you! yes cinque terre was so amazing, i’m also looking forward to visiting again. it’s even crossed my mind to go back there on this trip, but i think i’ll just be patient and trust that the time will come again. and i’ll stay for a bit longer to explore that whole area some more. πŸ™‚


  5. Bellla Aleya, my heart and spirit are with you on your travels, and I get to re-live my time in many of the plces you are visiting. I am looking forward to seeing Italy through your solo travel eys and photos. You are a beautiful and courageous woman.


  6. I’m envious of your trip. If you’re headed to Lucca, do you follow the blog Bella Bagni di Lucca? They’re not far from Lucca and often have info on current events all around that area.


    • oh that’s great to know, i will check out that blog! lucca is a lovely town, i’m glad i stopped here. grazie mille for the tip, and for your comment! πŸ™‚ aleya


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