If you're going to travel across the world with nothing but a suitcase, it helps to find people that feel like home along the way. I have been blessed to meet some pretty remarkable people upon this journey and it really started with this trip. We will forever be bonded by the self-growth we experienced as we inspired one another to be open to any situation, reminded one another it's okay to be vulnerable, and sought out the beauty in everything we encountered.
We stayed in La Spezia, right outside of Cinque Terre. We took the long five hour bus ride there from Paderno del Grappa and arrived at our Airbnb by late afternoon. This gave us time to check in, by a local sweet Italian man, and get ready for the night. We decided to look around the town for dinner and we stumbled upon a local place that only spoke Italian. The restaurant was supposed to be reservations only but they let us in anyways and we felt so blessed. The pizza was crisp and full of flavor. We had bruschetta with fresh cherry tomatoes as an appetizer and pizza coated in olive oil, buffalo cheese, and the same sweet tomatoes. We all shared a bottle of Prosecco. Our dinner ran very late, as dinners so often do in Italy, but it gave us time to soak up our delicious food. Afterwards we decided to go to an Irish restaurant. We danced to live music while an Italian woman sweetly sang into the night. I held onto my new friends as we sang along, twirling one another around in each others' arms. We later played foosball with some of the locals. While we spoke different languages, we were still able to come together as we put forth our best efforts to win. Italians may be a lot better at foosball than they let on...
I've jumped into new waters here (literally). Cinque Terre has consisted of some of the greatest memories of my life. Whether it was walking along the five towns lined with colorful, vibrant buildings, watching the sunset along the Mediterranean, having a glass of Prosecco along the sea, indulging in cookie gelato, or shopping for linen clothing, I savored every second I was there.
One night, as we were watching the sun set along the Mediterranean Sea, my friend Kayla decided to jump inside the sea in her clothes. She climbed down the rocks and began floating in the water. I followed her down and jumped in after her and Sydney soon joined us. Everyone from the top of the rocks stared down at us in disbelief in our soaking dresses, but as I looked around at the two wonderful people in front of me, I realized I could have cared less. We began to splash around and sing, "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder as we watched the sun dip below the clouds. The next day we cliff jumped and it was one of the most exhilarating feelings I have experienced. I drifted in the water before coming back to land to dry off. While I may have had to ride for five hours in dripping wet clothes, it was 100% worth it.
Thanks for not failing to be effortlessly beautiful, delicious, and thrilling. Heaven's reflection shines of the waters of Cinque Terre and I can say I basked in all its glory.