Cinque Terre

   PART 1
   Cinque Terre is a group of five towns (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore) nestled among the rugged, steep terrain of the Ligurian coast of Italy (and it’s really, really pretty). When I googled Cinque Terre, Vernazza came up as the “crowned jewel” of the five towns. (Which apparently isn’t really a secret because there were a ton of tourists roaming around.)
  The first thing I did in Vernazza was climb a castle and stare at the sea.
  The second thing I did was look for food and discover that there was no food. Lunch time was over and the restaurants don’t keep serving between meals, even for tourists.
  The third thing I did was change into my bathing suit and go down by the seashore, where many people were already sitting and taking selfies.
  The waters were a beautiful crystal clear blue and were roughly pounding the giant rocks at the shore. So, naturally, a few people  thought this would be a great place to swim. My dad thought so too and advised me to jump into the precarious waters. Being a YesMan enthusiast, I said “Yeah sure that sounds safe!” and, after a few moments standing at the edge thinking about how to not land on a rock, I teetered off the edge and splashed into the water, directly onto a rock. Immediately after coming up for air post-impact, a giant wave rolled in and engulfed me, pushing me back under water. I almost drowned as a child so being forcefully submerged in water kind of freaked me out, especially when I had to hold on to the side of rock with all my strength to keep from being pulled further away from shore and lost at sea forever. But otherwise it was pretty fun.
  When I finally crawled back onto shore, I realized I had sliced my foot and knees up on the rock I’d hit. So my dad did the most logical thing in this kind of situation and ripped his cigarette into a bunch of tiny little pieces and sprinkled them over my cuts. He claims they did this back when he was in the Bulgarian army and that it would help to disinfect and stop the bleeding.  It seemed to work except my foot was extremely swollen for three days afterward.
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casual

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PART 2
   On one of our days off from dancing all day, a few of us decided it would be restful to hike through part of Cinque Terre.
   We started our hike in Monterosso (which appeared to have the best beach out of the five towns), where I purchased my second and third espressos of the day to keep me going, and then hiked to Cornigilia (passing through Vernazza).
 Some highlights of the trip:
-coming across sleeping kittens in the mountains, complete with their own kitten houses
– climbing over a railing to stand at the edge of a cliff overlooking the Ligurian Sea
-the great ass workout (and renewed appreciation for Frodo and Sam)
-THE VIEW
   It was a pretty tiring hike, but not so tiring that I couldn’t take a ton of pictures.

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because what better place to sell lemonade than the side of cliff

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attractive Italian man #1242637387657383426

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Vernazza

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Corniglia

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practicing for my future career as a sniper

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some Italian ladies sippin their espresso

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Lucca Things: Towers with Trees

  Just because Lucca is one of the lesser known cities of Tuscany, doesn’t mean it’s any less beautiful to look at from a really high tower. As in other Italian cities, there are multiple towers in Lucca. I chose to climb Torre Guinigi  mainly because it was recommended to me on my first day here. (And also because there are trees growing out of the top.) It is 45 meters high and the only privately owned tower in Lucca that is still standing since the 14th century (some people apparently demolished the other ones in the 16th century, which seems pretty rude).
  My dad finally gave me his nice lens with the nice zoom so here are some nice photos from atop the tower:
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(Below) Some random man and I had a moment of mutual unspoken agreement to take a photograph of each other from a few dozen meters away. Mostly I was just being really creepy and zooming in on unsuspecting passersby below.
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Grazie

Grazie [grattsje]: one of the pretty much five words I know in Italian and the one that I keep repeating all day. It’s the easiest and my favorite so I’m basically just thanking people the entire day. Or speaking Spanish and hoping most of the words sound the same. At least I can understand written Italian well enough to read the label on the bug spray I was trying to use, which kindly informed me that it was the highly-toxic-for-your-skin variety of bug spray. (I ended up spraying it on my curtains instead with the hope that any bug that flew in the window would die on contact.)

More importantly, a brief summary of Lucca: Narrow bike-filled streets, gelato everywhere, wine with every meal, tons of beautiful old buildings and churches, and really good coffee. And great pasta. (I think basically every stereotype is true.) The design of the city center makes me feel like I’m living in a giant, neutral-toned dollhouse. Which is a strangely great feeling.

Random facts:

-you can’t touch the produce in the store with bare hands (which makes so much sense, like why doesn’t everyone everywhere do that)

-if you keep snapchatting all day, you’re going to use up 80% of you international data plan on the first day abroad (not saying this from personal experience or anything)

-there is A MOAT around the city

Below are some pictures of the Lucca city center and along the outer walls of Lucca (which you can walk and bike on top of):

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No Sleep Till Lucca

After two layovers (DC and Frankfurt), a bus ride, a train ride, and a taxi, I am finally here (since like eight hours ago)! And I have not yet been sold into sex slavery like that girl in the highly accurate documentary, Taken. I think the only actual unfortunate part of my travels was getting a seat in the middle of the middle row on my seven hour flight from DC to Frankfurt (although I was still able to catch a glimpse of the pretty orange and pink sunset through a distant window while peeking over the large sleeping man to my left). Neither of my neighbors were particularly annoying, but I still got little to no sleep during the flight and had to ingest heavy doses of jet-lag preventive medication (better known as Coffee) once I got to Frankfurt. I also experienced my first standing train ride, as I had to stand throughout the hour long train ride from Florence to Lucca, holding on to my luggage as we bumped around, rather than peacefully stare out the window, half a sleep, as I usually do on trains.

As for where I’m actually staying, the floor of the building is called “the Noble” because apparently it’s where all the nobles and really awesome peeps are supposed to stay. And it is SO NICE and SO ROOMY. Even though this apartment is also shared with seven people, I think the size of the living room alone might be the size of my entire seven person suite in New York. Ok that might be exaggerating a little but it’s still SO NICE. Except there’s no AC so I am currently melting into a sweaty puddle as I type this. Below are a few quick photos I took while unpacking.


Also digging the creepy children’s portraits posted all over the apartment.

Ciao USofA

So I’m going to Italy for three weeks this summer to do what I love (besides laughing at my own jokes and eating)—- dance. I will also of course be eating (lots of carbs) and probably still laughing at my own jokes. In order to avoid bombarding everyone on Instagram with ten million super duper exciting pictures a day, I decided it might be easier trying out this blog thing. Obviously I’m still also posting stuff on Insta because I love to annoy people with filtered images of my life and surrounding inanimate objects  too much to give that up, but this way if you want to read about excitingly cool Italian things and/or look through pictures of excitingly cool Italian adventures (or lack thereof) and/or pretend like you’re very interested in the excitingly cool things I have to say, you can do that here. Also the layout is nice.

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