Before I start detailing the beauty of Riomaggiore, I wanted to wish y’all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! It’s probably not the best day to publish a blog post, as I assume you’re all busy cooking turkey and sharing a big dinner table with family and friends. Alas, Thanksgiving is not observed here in Holland, and I live thousands of miles away from my family. So instead of eating mashed potatoes and gravy, I am enjoying me time, computer time, healthy time, and thankful reflection time. I don’t want to veer off topic too much (Riomaggiore is a must!) but I do want to document my thanks. I am so, so thankful, for a lot of things. And by things I mean people.
Last February I was having a particularly shitty night. A girlfriend dragged me out to the bar downstairs (yes I live above a bar), and forced me to have fun (as friends do). It was there I did something I’ve never done before. I picked up a girl in the bar. Her name was Kira and she had moved to Amsterdam only two days before. That night, Kira had wandered into Flamingo alone, intent on making new friends, assuaged by a stiff drink. She overheard my conversation, asked if I was American (yes indeed) and proclaimed a jovial hello. I knew immediately that Kira was my kind of person – fun, positive, and bursting with energy. After sharing what turned into an epic night out, we made plans to grab dinner the following week, and what I know will be a lifelong friendship was born.
Kira was my American gateway drug. She soon introduced me to Laura, who had also just moved to Amsterdam. Coincidentally, the three of us all live in de Pijp, and thus was the dawn of the Friendship Triangle. Kira also introduced me to her American friend Michael. Unique, hilarious, and incredibly genuine, Michael is the kind of guy you feel lucky to be around. He is always welcoming in new house guests, whether it’s old friends from back home or a new happy face from the train station. And so via Michael I’ve literally made dozens of new friends – people who are intriguing and kind, from all over the globe.
I really don’t know what this year would have been like if I’d never bumped into that girl in the bar. But I think that’s when you know life is right – when you simply can’t imagine it any other way.
Now that you’ve suffered through my verbal cheese, I’d love to share with you some delectable Italian eye candy. Feast on this . . . Riomaggiore is the first village you will come across when traveling from La Spazia through Cinque Terre. Riomaggiore is known throughout the region for producing an amazingly sweet and delicious white wine called Sciacchetrà. They also have a welcome tendency to make homemade Trofie al Pesto with chestnut flour, creating a rich and creamy twist to Conque Terre’s most beloved dish. But perhaps even more notable than the culinary delights hailing from the region are the historic rainbow houses, speckled throughout the landscape. In Riomaggiore, lush, steep ridges climb up and away from the sea, showcasing an array of coloured façades and Cinque Terre’s telltale bright green shutters.On day 3 in Cinque Terre, Amie and I skipped our leisurely cafe breakfast and hopped on the train bright and early to travel over to Riomaggiore. The plan was to arrive in Riomaggiore, shop, sightsee, eat, and then slowly hike our way back to Vernazza. These plans would be foiled, but more on that later . . .
We waited at the train station, still awed by the multi-colored houses surrounding us. The train ride was short and sweet. After a quick whiz along the mountains, we landed at Riomaggiore’s beautiful seaside train station. We decided to first made our way down to the harbor, admiring the pastel-colored boats floating in the lush turquoise sea along the way. The backdrop of Riomaggiore was breathtaking, and cannot be properly illustrated via photos. Hundreds of colorful houses, stacked on top of one another, lined the horizon. We gleefully made our way around the small cove, watching both fishermen and birds hunting small sardines along the way. The view was amazing, and we spent a good amount of time simply basking in the sun.
Soon we landed on the softest pebble beach. We took off our shoes and heated our toes on warm, smooth stones. After relaxing for a bit by the sea, we popped our shoes back on, intent on exploring the village. The majority of Riomaggiore wraps along one tall street, lined with cafes, gelatorias, and mouth-watering Italian restaurants. We spent the morning exploring in the sun – winding up and down, along adorable roads and under stout lemon trees. The higher we climbed, the more beautiful the views became (I realize I typed this right before a photo of myself . . . not intentional haha!) The castle on top of the hill was stunning, and created a beautiful silhouette against the blue horizon. Simply called the Castle of Riomaggiore, the castle was built in the 13th century and is one of the most important historical landmarks in Cinque Terre.
After taking close to 12-billion photos, we slowly strolled back into town (getting lost and stuck at dead ends along the way!)
At the bottom, we rewarded ourselves for the day’s hike. . . . with a massive helping of ricotta and fig gelato :)I’m extremely thankful for this Italian experience with one of my best friends. I hope you’re all eating turkey with your loves ones, and enjoying the day immensely.