A Day in Cinque Terre

A rainy Sunday was the start to our second full day in Tuscany, and it wasn’t any less delightful!

I’ve seen photo after photo of these 5 coastal villages-and yet I still wasn’t prepared for how amazing they are!

When planning this adventure, I actually opted to book this Day Tour through Viator (new customers get $10 off their order when you use my link!), because it eased a lot of the transportation concerns for us. We left at 7:30 in the morning from the Santa Maria Novella Train Station on a bus and drove just short of 2 hours to La Spezia, an industrial city just at the base of the mountains leading to 5 tiny coastal villages ranging from populations of 300-3000 people.

On this trip, we visited 4 villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Monterosso, and Vernazza.

The weather made for some overcast photos, but I like to think they still captured the beauty of the villages and the fascination that surrounds the brightly colored buildings and blue waters.

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My favorite thing about taking tours like these, is that there is someone to guide you to the best photos and history in the area, but you also get the opportunity to explore independently and find your own gems. Plus, you’re sure to meet some interesting people-and even make some new friends!

Some of my favorite shots from this trip (PS, all of these photos were taken by Zainab and I on our iPhones!):

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When it comes to shopping, none of these villages really tickled my fancy. There are lots of small, rather pricey shops-which I’m sure ties into the whole “Population: 300” thing.

We did have an amazing blackberry tart at a small cafe in front of the ocean in Vernazza, some super strong caffe correto (espresso+grappa) in Monterosso, where I think we also found the small place that made fresh lemon slushes….and had an option to add vodka.

We added vodka, obviously.

I think moreso than anything, I was too busy taking in how beautiful and well-preserved these little villages were to get too preoccupied with the wares they offered. I saw a lot of the same kitschy and touristy trinkets and small bottles of liquor and oils that you can find most anywhere in Italy…so I stopped worrying about where to shop and what to buy and just enjoyed the ocean instead.

It’s worth noting that there is a train that goes from La Spezia into the villages. It’s very fast, and rather efficient! At the end of the day, there were at least 400 of us piled on the platform waiting for a train that was delayed over 30 minutes…and things got real. People were pushing and arguing and being rude! And it took FOREVER to get off of the train and to the meeting point with our bus because of the crowding and lack of manners!

But I had expected way more tourists and crowding, especially on a Sunday. I was pleasantly surprised at how we had a lot of room to breathe as we made our way through Cinque Terre, moreso during the first half of the day!

This trip really made me want to focus more on the Italian coast on my next trip (although I just have such a love for Florence, and will probably start/end there always), because it really is one of the most beautiful, natural wonders. Sprinkled with history and character, it really draws you into its charms!

Have you been to Cinque Terre? What were your favorite things to see and do?

Happy Travels!

See Sondra Sign-off-stacked

 

 

 

27 Things for My 27th Year!

Another birthday, and a new kind of list!

Inspired by my good friend, Ashley, I decided that I would do 27 things that I’ve been either too scared, too busy, too lazy, or too forgetful to do before I turn 28! I am very grateful that Ashley will b accompanying me on some of these adventures!

I feel that the effort I put into thinking of things to do is a testament to the fact that I’ve been privileged to do so many amazing, wonderful, and new things these last few years. I’m very “Go big, or Go Home,” so I had fun getting ideas and coming up with my own to make my 27th year on this earth more than memorable!

If you’re local and want to join me, let me know! If you know of a place/person/program I can contact to accomplish some of these, please let me know about that, as well!

So, here we go:

27 Things for My 27th Year

  1. Sunrise hike at Cowles Mountain with Ashley!*
  2. Go Skydiving (I am TERRIFIED of heights)!
  3. Create a modeling portfolio (for Natural Models LA and True Models Management submission)
  4. Go to Stagecoach to see Tim McGraw and Miranda Lambert (wear shorts and fringe tops!) OR go see Mariah Carey (aka, The Chanteuse) in Las Vegas!!!
  5. Sunset/Sunrise or Beach Yoga Class
  6. Have a date with myself: Massage, Facial, Shopping, and Dinner…just me!
  7. Take a class at The Cheese Store of San Diego
  8. Have brunch at the Hotel Del Coronado
  9. Volunteer with Urban Angels Soup Kitchen*
  10. Take a spin class
  11. Host a dinner party
  12. Gondola ride in Venice, Italy
  13. Ride a bike (I haven’t since I broke my wrist on one in 10th grade)
  14. Visit the Museum of Tolerance (and Kelly H.) in the City of Angels!
  15. Take a surfing lesson*
  16. “Free Hugs” at Balboa Park*
  17. Thursday Night Throwdown (Line Dance Lessons) at  Moonshine Flats/Incahoots (I WILL learn to line dance)!*
  18. Write a letter to my 35 year old self
  19. Hot Chocolate 15K
  20. Picnic at a National Park (finally use that dang picnic basket I bought in 2010).*
  21. Get the SeeSondraSlim Facebook page to 500 likes!
  22. Learn to play a song on the guitar
  23. Buy Starbucks for strangers
  24. Surprise 5 people when they least expect it (Document on FB/Blog/Instagram)
  25. Book my next International expedition
  26. Be published in a magazine/publication
  27. Bingo Night at a casino

This will surely be a fun journey, and I cannot wait to document it all here on SeeSondraSlim!

Thank you for all the years of support, and for bearing with me as I continue to try and juggle this project along with real life! I adore you all!

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