Culture Shock

Well, I don’t think you can get much more Italy than this. Cinque Terre, meaning Five Lands, is exactly that – five villages connected by hiking trails and a railway. We arrived in the first of the five, Monterosso al Mare on Wednesday evening at about 6:30, and we wandered aimlessly until the guy we were renting an apartment from, Fabio, appeared on the street calling “Janet” (which was me, as it turns out). The kids were overwhelmed, and I was too, to be fair. It was a lot to take in after two full days of driving. Bustling streets, raucous Italian voices, and colourful stucco buildings – all very unfamiliar.

Here are some of the comments over the first few hours:

I don’t like it here.
I didn’t expect it to be so foreign.
It reminds me of India; I didn’t think it would be like India.
I feel like I’m in Alladin.
I want to leave; it’s scary here.

Here are some of the comments on our third and final night here:

I wish we could stay here.
It’s so comfortable here.
This is the best beach I ever went to.
I love Monterroso the best out of all the towns here; it’s so comfortable here.

It’s amazing how you get used to a place, and how quickly it can feel like home. The first night they were clinging to us, and tonight they were racing around the streets, dodging tourists, laughing and shouting just like the local kids. They can order their own gelato, count to ten, and say thank you. They even hiked the arduous trail from Monterroso to Vernazza today, a stunning part of the Cinque Terre UNESCO World Heritage trail that links the five towns. It was a two hour, steep uphill trek, on which Liah was occasionally “going to die”, but all in all was quite successful. We saw lemon orchards, and lots of grape vines connected by a little “grape roller coaster” that allowed the farmers to pick way up on the cliffs and get the grapes back down again. The views of the ocean were absolutely stunning.
We also took the train to Riomiaggiore to have a little visit there, and then came back to an afternoon of snorkeling. A lot to fit in a day, but a great one.
This quick trip has reminded us that we need to stay longer in places. We are really just getting our bearings, figuring out how to read the menus, where to buy the best bread, where the freshest pastries can be found, and it’s time to go! Well worth the stop though, even though it was a hairy drive getting here – I would definitely consider a train in if we were to ever do this again.
Off to the Adriatic Coast tomorrow!







Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

Post navigation

9 thoughts on “Culture Shock

  1. Bethany

    Sounds Fanastico!! Reading this as we’ve finished eating our yorkshire puds in rainy wakefield.

  2. linda mckittrick

    Cinque Terra we were supposed to be there last may but had to change our plans, so glad to see you guys made it. It looks amazing, colourful houses in the cliffs and I bet great food. We are following your updates with great interest Jane, you do a really super job, I feel I can also be part of the trip from PEI, can’t wait for the next stop. Linda.

  3. Bethann

    Beautiful pictures! Are the girls keeping a journal?

  4. Lara Ryan

    Enjoy every minute – even the stressful ones. Stories and memories for years!! xo

  5. nitaclayton

    Loved this blog – can imagine which granddaughter said what!!!! So pleased to see it all working out so well after the stressful bits. Nita xx

  6. P. Davidson

    We are loving these posts! I feel as though you are helping us plan a bit of our adventures, in February! We hadn’t planned on Cinque Terre, but it sounds terrific!
    Here’s a question back for you – (not sure how you’ll respond to me!) – but you mentioned that you feel as if you’re not staying long enough in places. We have two little ones, so our travel/driving/hiking, etc plans need to be kept WAY down. We were planning on staying two weeks in each spot, but do you feel that would be too long???

    • I think that’s a great idea, and yes, I would highly recommend Monterroso. Small and friendly, great for kids. Our planning, in retrospect, has limited us somewhat. We really want to go to Greece, but we have only 8 days between here and the Pyrenees and its looking like it will be just two much for us to manage Witt the driving. By train, maybe? But I would definitely think smaller, and stay longer.

  7. Deneen

    Love love love it Jane! Miss you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: