Riomaggiore and the First Farewell

I hate goodbyes. I’m pretty sure everyone does, and if you don’t then I’ll assume your heart is two sizes too small like the Grinch.

Anyhow, my new friend Melanie–we met when our host families set us up together on a blind pizza date, so we’d have English speaking friends here–is heading back to Scotland!

To prepare for our parting, we spent the last day, take a guess. Can you guess by now? Eating and at the sea.

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We rented kayaks in Manarola and paddled around the shores towards Corniglia, which was a refreshing and active start to the day. There’s been a bit of a heat wave here in Italy, but the day stayed mostly cloudy so thankfully we weren’t burning on top of sweating from the humidity.

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I hadn’t been to Riomaggiore, the first little village, so we decided to visit there for lunch. I still haven’t been to Corniglia, which is the third village, but the only one away from the sea. And when it’s this hot, you want to be near the sea.

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I’m not sure why, but Manarola and Riomaggiore have a little tiff/rivalry/my town is better than your town thing going on. Manarola is beautiful and one of my favorites, but I’m also a little bias since I spent most of my summer there.

Riomaggiore seems more residential, and the streets are a bit wider and lined with flats, shops, and restaurants. There is a place to swim, but it’s where the boats come, AND the ramp is blocked off, so you can’t lounge there in the sun.

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We took some touristy snaps and then went to lunch. I actually photographed all of my food for the day, so you can see exactly what I ate. Exciting, right?

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I’m a huge fan of all things seafood, so I went with the seafood pasta complete with squid, prawns, clams, and mussels. It never gets old.

We walked around some of the shops looking for little gifts to bring back home and then went to back to Manarola for a quick swim. Since the sea has been hot, it’s brought swarms of jellyfish where we would typically swim. Thankfully, there was not a purple or white blob in sight, so we cooled off in peace.

My favorite gelato place in Manarola is 5 Terre Gelateria. If you’re in Manarola, then please go there and try their granita. My favorites are anguria (watermelon) spritz (yes, they have alcoholic ones too), and mentha (fresh mint). SADLY, it was closed, so I couldn’t enjoy one last granita before I left.

After our 100th shower of the day, we decided to have some drinks before heading to our reservation at Il Porticciolo. If you plan on eating dinner anywhere in Cinque Terre, especially on the weekends, then you should make a reservation well in advance. We made ours in the morning, and there were only two times left for dinner.

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Il Porticciolo opened up a mini cafe right across from its main location, so we had some spritz’ there and played some drinking game with the locals. Melanie lost a couple of rounds and had to take shots of vodka as punishment. We beelined it to dinner in hopes that the food would soak up the alcohol, haha.

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Dinner was incredible. Melanie went with a speck and mascarpone pizza, which is always a good idea. I had the chef surprise me with the catch of the day. It turned out to be a delicious sea bass with roasted potatoes. With more spritz’ (for me) and a couple of blueberry digestives bought by a traveler we met at a nearby table, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

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But of course we were celebrating/saying farewell, so we had to get a dessert sampler of tiramisu. I mean, it was a necessity. After trying the chocolate, strawberry, and Nutella spreads of tiramisu; I could barely breathe. Also, I was cutting it close for the last train back home. We rushed to see the sunset and said goodbye at the station.

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It’s wonderful meeting and making friends with people from all over the world, but it’s always sad when you have to say goodbye. They become such a comfortable part of your life abroad so quickly that you can’t imagine not having them around. You also can’t just call them up like your hometown friends to come over for a movie or get a drink. It’s always up in the air when you’ll see each other next.

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Well, I’m glad that I met Melanie and had someone else to share this stunning country and chronically late trains with. I also now have an excuse to visit her beautiful home in Scotland.

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