The Adventure Begins

I’m back and fully charged after five glorious days in sunny Italy.

We flew from Stavanger to Oslo, and then on to Pisa. Our final destination was Cinque Terre, located in the westernmost area of the Ligurian Riviera. Before heading out to the sun drenched oasis, we took a detour into Pisa, to see its famous Leaning Tower. The Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) consists of four buildings, the Cathedral, Leaning Tower (bell tower), Baptistry, and Campo Santo. They stand close together on a green lawn and were even more beautiful than I imagined but what surprised me most, was how pristine they still look today.

Afterwards we took a train to La Spezia, which is often called the doorway to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre, in Italian means, “The Five Lands” and is called this because it is composed of five villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare. These five villages, the coastline and the surrounding hillsides are all part of a National Nature Park and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we were able to buy a Cinque Terre Card, which enabled us to take the train and walk on the paths connecting the small villages as much as we liked. From La Spezia to the last village, Monterosso (where we were staying) was only a twenty-five minute train ride.

We stayed at the Hotel Baia which was located directly across the street from the beach. Monterossa is the most touristy of the five villages because of its long span of beach and promenade along the sea. The hotel was an old, four story building with high ceilings (twelve feet) and steep steps leading up to each floor. There was an old glass elevator, but used only for transporting luggage, pregnant women and the elderly. Every room had a balcony, but only the ones in front and on the sides overlooked the sea. Ours was in the back, yet lovely and private just the same. The room was basic, but clean. A buffet breakfast was served every morning in a sunny dining room.











Monterossa is uniquely protected by hills, olive groves and lemon trees. In the backstreets of Monterossa is the old part of town, where there are shops, cafes and of course, churches. Here is where you can also pick up the well-trodden paths connecting the five villages. Trekking from one village to the other can be a little challenging in some places, due to the heat, slopes and steps.


There is more to come on the other four villages, our hike, the local wine, Italian food and the breathtaking beauty of Cinque Terre… But first, I have to read the seventy-nine new posts waiting in my inbox, wash three baskets of dirty clothes and go food-shopping. I won’t even mention what my house looks like after leaving two teenage boys and two dogs home alone to fend for themselves all week. Oh, its great to be home…

About maggiemyklebust

I grew up on the Jersey Shore and now live in Norway. I have also lived in Houston and the Netherlands. I have written a memoir called Fly Away Home.

Posted on July 1, 2012, in travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Hi Maggie,
    Well, you’ve brought back some very fond memories of our trip to Cinque Terre many years ago. Have they recovered from the terrible floods they had last year? I was so enamored by this area that when they sent out a plea for assistance I couldn’t help but send a donation. Your photos are fantastic so it looks as though they’ve cleaned up and are back on the destination track. Great to see!

    Can’t wait to read more about your adventures.

    • That was so nice of you to make a donation Anne, I can certainly understand why…
      They still have some work to do and the path between Corniglia and Manarola is still closed. But they’ve done a great job and its as beautiful as I’m sure its ever been!

  2. I am glad you enjoyed your break I am also incredibly jealous I would love to visit day I will get there

    • Until you do, you can take the visit with me over the next few posts…
      I may even attempt to review the book I read while I was down there. That is if I can get up the nerve to confess reading, Fifty Shades of Grey 😉

      • I am going to have to read it soon it is the only topic of conversation at work at the minute as they have ALL been reading all three books 😉

  3. And here I thought reading erotica was only done behind closed doors!

  4. You have roamed the world and seen its beauty, lucky you!! Beautiful entry, great photos!! You left 2 teenage boys home alone, really?? That takes both strength and courage!! I know you remember being a teen!!!

    • I do remember being a teen… But they’re 17 and 19 so I have to start trusting them sometime, but its never easy!
      My thirty-year-old daughter and her husband live right up the road 🙂

  5. I’m still hurt that you didn’t take me with you. But, welcome back!

  6. Wonderful, Maggie! Love your picture where you’re propping up the Leaning Tower… did it take a few shots to get that just right? 😉 🙂

    My friend is from just outside of Pisa and it was just lovely to see your pictures and to read about the start of your adventures. Can’t wait for the next installment! 🙂 I recently finished reading ‘Are We There Yet?’ a young adult book by David Leviathan. It was all about this trip two brothers had to Italy. Their parents were trying to get them to reconnect. Fantastic book, actually, and this was one of the places they visited. Very nice. 🙂

  7. Hi Maggie, I am enjoying this trip vicariously! Love the shot of you and the Leaning Tower!

  8. Great pics…wonderful journey. Two teens at home…..I recall doing that one before. 😉

  9. Italy is a wonderful country. I visited Rome and Sicily for two weeks several years ago.I loved every day there. Rome gave us a scare because we on the third floor of an apartment when the earthquake struck. As an artist the Sistine Chapel was awesome to me.
    I just laid down on the floor and looked up. It was wonderful. And the food? To die for!

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