On Thursday night I left Segovia and my heart behind in Spain while I headed to the airport to catch my flight to Italy. I had to camp out in the airport because my flight was so early which was an interesting experience. There were other kids from my program there also so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I got about 2 hours of sleep on top of my backpack before my flight. I landed in Milan at 8:45 and had to wait 6 painful hours until I could catch my train to the Cinque Terre. I thought I would need a lot of time to get to the train station, eat, etc but it ended up only taking an hour so I just had to sit and wait for 5 hours to catch my train.
My Harry Potteresque train ride through the Italian country side was really pretty. It’s a lot greener here than in Spain.
On the train I meant a very lovely Italian man named Valter (Walter). We chatted about his life and my study abroad. He told me that he works in Milan but his family lives in a small town in Liguria (the Italian name for the Provence were the Italian Rivera is). He said that his family is Milano and lives in Milan so he works there Monday through Friday and goes home on the weekends. He explained that it is very common to live and work in the city you are from even if your family lives somewhere else. He is also a doctor so life might be a little different for him than most.
I arrived in Monterosso the first town in the Cinque Terre and had to catch a regional train to Manarola. When traveling on the regional trains in Italy you by your ticket right before the train comes and then before you board you have to validate it in this machine. If you don’t or forget you could get a huge fine. Finally around 5 I arrived at Manarola and was ready to find my hostel. The directions said that you go right out of the tunnel and 200 meters up is the hostel. Sounds easy enough right? Well, the 200 meter was actually up a very steep hill which was then followed by a steep flight of stairs to the hostel. Okay, it doesn’t sound that bad but with my 35 pound backpack by the time I reached the top I thought I was going to die. Yes my backpack is 35 pounds! Not sure how that happened as it was 22 when I arrived in Spain. Some of my things might find there forever home here in Manarola.
Manarola is very beautiful and very small, there is only one street! Though the Cinque Terre is very famous and this town has tourist it doesn’t feel like a tourist trap at all. It’s very calm, quiet, and relaxing.
The hostel here is very strange and different from the others I’ve stayed at. First of all the showers are only five minutes and the water is FREEZING! Usually there is a common area and kids everywhere talking and hanging out. This one though feels more like a little hotel and it’s harder to meet people. But since I’m such a social butterfly I made friends with this kid named Michael from Minnesota and we are going to hike to Riomaggiore (the last town) today. We were supposed to leave at 10 but he discovered that he has bed bugs! Disgusting. So we are leaving around he cleans all his things.