CIAO, ITALIA!

My parents have said for years that Cinque Terre, Italy is one of their favorite places in the world. Since we were only a few hours away by train, they decided to give me a glimpse of the area! Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of five villages and the surrounding hillsides where people have built houses and terraces stacked on top of one another, on top of cliffs. There are beautiful hiking trails and breathtaking views. Each of the five towns has a different feel. We stayed in Manarola, which is believed to be the oldest of the five towns. Its brightly colored buildings give it life, but it remains a sleepy fisherman’s village.

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The cemetery in Manarola was different from any cemetery I've seen - photos were placed on each of the gravestones.

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Riomaggiore was just a walk or train ride away.

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When you're in Italy and life gives you lemons, make limoncello.

As we hiked in between villages we passed through many olive groves. A few words of wisdom from my mother: Don't taste a raw olive, it's not worth it.

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In many ways the villages look similar, but each of them has a different feel.  In 2011 Vernazza was hit by terrible rain storms which resulted in mudslides that were 12 feet deep in the main part of town.  They continue to do repair work today, but most damage has been repaired.

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Around every corner there was another colorful door.

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After a long day of hiking, there is nothing better than a fresh cannoli!

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We took a quick day trip to Pisa from Cinque Terre.  When in Pisa there are two things you should do… Go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and eat pizza!

I couldn't resist taking the classic tourist photo… but the better photo was of my Dad laying on the ground to take the photo.

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I've seen photos of the tower before, but it was impressive to climb it and feel how much it leans. A view from the top of the tower.

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We headed back to Cinque Terre to enjoy a very fresh dinner!

We crossed back into France and my parents headed back to Minnesota and I moved onto my next workaway in Roquebrune Cap Martin, located in between the Italian boarder and Monaco.

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