Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cinque Terre, Italy (Pt. 3)


Our time in Cinque Terre began with less than favorable circumstances. Upon our arrival at our air bnb in Monterosso, we discovered something crucial went missing during the trip. We left Florence with three passports, and made it to Monterosso with just two. Now, I wasn’t a math major, but TWO PASSPORTS FOR THREE PEOPLE IS NOT ENOUGH.  After lots of tears and lots of Googling “what to do if you lose your passport abroad,” we calmed down enough to have a game plan: we would first file a local police report (in case someone found it and turned it in), then start searching for train tickets to Milan (because that’s where the U.S. embassy is in Italy).

For those of you wondering who this misfortune fell upon, somehow the one person who was constantly reminding us about pickpockets and being careful with our things managed to undeservingly discover her purse missing from her backpack, including her passport, newly purchased Ray Bans sunglasses, and some cash. Jaclyn had been so careful with her stuff the entire trip, and we spent hours trying to figure out when her purse could have separated from her backpack. We all made sure to watch each other’s things constantly, and be very aware of our surroundings, but to no one’s fault we were suddenly short one purse and one very important document.

Even though we were all very excited and looking forward to spending the next three days in the sun and the sand in Cinque Terre, Megan and I were more than willing to go to any lengths to get Jaclyn’s passport back, or help her in any way so she wouldn’t be stuck in Italy, unable to return to Iceland or the U.S. (So scary.) In the 20 minutes of Googling, tears, and phone calls to home, I was honestly warming up to the idea of the spontaneous road trip north to Milan. Jaclyn is our good friend, so we were going to be right by her side until we figured this whole situation out, even though that meant the possibility of cutting our “vacation” short.

Just as we were gathering our things to walk to the local police station to file the report, we heard a “ding” from Jaclyn’s phone.

Pause. Opens phone. Reading.

“Oh my gosh!!!!!”

Y’all, what I’m about to tell you is not good luck. It’s not coincidence. It’s not karma. What I’m about to tell you is a God thing. A lady and her husband rode the same train that we were on to Cinque Terre back to the La Spezia station (20 minutes away). Her husband forgot his shoes on the train (kinda weird), so she went back to look for them and noticed a purse on the luggage rack. Jaclyn has a very unique first and last name combination, so the lady found her on Instagram, messaged her, and told her she turned her purse in (WITH her passport AND Ray Bans still in it) to the police at the La Spezia train station.

Like, what? How incredible is that!!!!! We immediately bought a train ticket to La Spezia, talked to the police there, and rode the train back to Monterosso with Jaclyn’s purse, passport, Ray Bans, and three VERY thankful hearts.

We celebrated our crazy day with a delicious dinner by the beach and three bottles of wine (it was a long dinner). That day we bonded as friends like we haven’t bonded before. Although I would have rather skipped the whole “losing a passport” thing, I am so thankful and grateful that situation brought us closer as friends, teammates, and girls who genuinely care about each other. It was an eventful first day in Cinque Terre to say the least!


Day two was eventful as well, but in a very different way. One of Megan’s high school friends was coincidentally staying in Cinque Terre with two of his college friends in the town just north of Monterosso, Levanto. We met up with them in Monterosso to hike the hour-long scenic trail to the next town south of us, Vernazza! They all three went to Texas A&M, one being an exchange student from Italy. The hike allowed lots of great conversations, including the discovery of a ton of mutual friends between the two Americans and I - which was super cool!

Jared, me, Jaclyn, Megan, Marco, Allen
Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

After the hike we took the train to Levanto to watch the Italy v Sweden game in a bar full of Italian men. I have to say, this was probably the most fun atmosphere - to watch an Italian game in Italy surrounded by Italians! Apparently Italian girls aren't overt fans of soccer / don't normally accompany men in bars to watch games. Our presence warranted a few funny looks at first, but ultimately we were accepted as soccer (and Italy) fans for the day, and that was very cool.

That night the guys and us girls went to a nice dinner in Monterosso. We all ordered a huge pot of seafood risotto, and OH MY GOODNESS BEST MEAL I'VE EVER TASTED. Like seriously. It was so stinkin delicious. 

Accompanied with our incredible dinner, we drank two bottles of the local white wine. And when I say local, I mean we walked past the vineyard on our way past the train station in Monterosso earlier that day. It was incredible as well! I have yet to taste a glass of red or white wine here in Italy that I haven't absolutely enjoyed. 

After dinner and gelato :)


Our final day in Cinque Terre we spent relaxing, absorbing as much Italian sun into our skin as possible. At one point during the day, while walking on slippery rocks (bad idea), my feet slipped out from under me and I completely ate it in front of a couple who at first looked concerned, then broke into unashamed laughter at my expense. It's okay, I was laughing too. And so was Megan. And so were some other people nearby.

We ended the night with a three-course dinner and bottle of local red wine, and of course some delicious gelato. Our train was scheduled to leave at 5:30 the next morning to head back to Rome, so our night ended after gelato. The next day was just a full day of travel, so our last day in Monterosso spent relaxing was just how we wanted to end our Italian vacation. :)

Ciao Italia!

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