When I was studying abroad in Venice, Italy I wanted to make sure that I spent at least one weekend traveling completely on my own. I was a little nervous about it, however after months of traveling I was pretty confident that I would be perfectly fine. So I hopped on a bus Friday after class and headed from Venice to the town of La Spezia in the Cinque Terre region. I had decided to stay in a one bedroom airbnb because I wanted to have a relaxing weekend and since it was pretty late I just headed straight to bed.
The next day I woke up at the crack of dawn and went out to search for breakfast. I wanted to get started hiking the five towns of Cinque Terre so I grabbed a couple pastries to go and headed straight to the train station.
My hike started out at the first town of Monterosso al Mare. The sun was just starting to rise and it was the perfect cool temperature for hiking. The hiking conditions in Cinque Terre are definitely a little more advanced than I originally thought. They do vary and they would not be considered extreme however at the time I was hiking without an ACL in one of my knees because I had injured it and I thought I might have bitten off more than I could chew. Regardless, I continued on.
The second town I came to was the town of Vernazza. It was a beautiful little town and I sat down and had a coffee at a seaside cafe to give myself a little break. I was only there for a little because shortly I was off to hiking to the next town Corniglia.
In Corniglia I stopped to have lunch and people watch. It was interesting to see how touristy these towns had become and how there were just buses and buses coming in to drop people off. It kind of makes me sad seeing all of it however I myself am a tourist so I understood still.
While hiking to the four town, Manarola, I met this amazing elderly couple. They had retired and were living in San Diego and were just hiking out here for fun. It was amazing getting to meet them and chat. I’ve noticed that when you are traveling alone more strangers will talk to you. It’s nice in a way to meet new people. It’s actually strange that I feel less alone when I travel alone.
I didn’t stop long in Manarola because I would worry if I did then I would just give up. The last town to hike to was Riomaggiore. This hike was by far the worst. It was one mile straight up hill and then one mile straight down hill. I was a little worried I wasn’t going to make it however, I did, and I treated myself with some gelato at the end.
14 miles and 10 hours later, I had officially hiked all of Cinque Terre. I was on the train headed back to La Spezia and I had planned to go to the store, buy some pasta and wine, and cook for myself in my airbnb. I also really just wanted to lay on the couch because I was so tired.
My evening was amazing, the view from my balcony was breathtaking and it was incredible to be able to sit there alone and really just think and be at peace.
The next day I just did a little sightseeing around La Spezia, talked to come locals, and then I headed back to Venice. It was an amazing weekend and I learned how to stand on my own and be more independent. I highly recommend if you are traveling, make sure you go and spend some time traveling alone, it might just change your life.