I could not sleep the night before my mom and dad arrived in Roma the morning of Friday, April 1st — and this is no joke! 🙂 Anxiousness and excited energy pulsed through my body as I awaited their arrival. I could not wait to be reunited after almot 3 months half a world apart. Plus, does anyone have a mom & dad cooler than this?
Didn’t think so 🙂
After dropping a big suitcase off at my campus (so I could fill it with lots of goodies for friends & fam, heavy ‘ol sweaters that I don’t need in 70-degree weather, and my Hunter rain boots that I’m currently not speaking to…and send it back with my parents), we took a taxi straight to Termini Station in downtown Roma to board our train to Cinque Terre:
Nothing less than magical, thats ‘fo sho!
Alrightttt. Chow first, (gorgeous) pictures lata –
- The Chow.
Since Cinque Terre is well-regarded for their pesto, well, naturally I had to see if it was really that life-altering. Hence the first night I ordered a pesto pizza:
Did I mention I’m a new woman?
In all seriousness, though, this pizza was unbelievable. The crust was a lot different than any other pizza crust I’ve had in Italy — the perfect level of chewy…neither too thin & crispy nor too thick & chewy. The pesto drizzled atop was the pièce de résistance of it all. I seriously cannot get over that fresh, herb flavor that emanates from the basil. I was so disappointed Italy doesn’t “do” doggie bags! 😦
Cinque, day 1. Pizza, check. Pesto, check.
Other highlights of my weekend (food-wise, that is) included a stop for lunch at a foccacia pizzeria in Riomaggiore, one of the 5 villages (that’s what Cinque Terre means in inglese, since I’m fluent in Italian and all).
No, I was not brave enough to select the foccacia with anchovies. As much as I’m taking advantage of (and loving!) trying new foods, I just can’t seem to appreciate the taste of anchovies. Blech! (P.S. Thank you, Layne, for ruining caesar dressing for me.)
Instead, I wisely selected the choice front & center…the foccacia capricciosa, chock-full of mushrooms, olives, peppers, and artichokes.
Five things made this lunch a 12.5 on a 10-point scale:
- The “medley” (yes, that word is still used) of these 4 vegetables…together…on…
- The buttery crust of this absolutely freakin’ amazing foccacia.
- A meal enjoyed with my 2 favorite people.
- I was drinking an orange “soda,” and I was really thirsty, and I share a love for this drink in common with the BMAV, the Pope. (Fyi, BMAV = big man at Vatican)
- I was sitting outside, on a bench, with the sun’s warm rays shining down on me, in 75-degree weather, surrounded by colorful houses, in Riomaggiore.
Saturday night’s dinner was none other than…
…pesto, again. (C’mon, a girl’s gotta take advantage of the regional cuisine!)
Though this time, I started off with a little bruscetta:
I’m actually surprised that I haven’t ordered bruscetta all that often while I’ve been out to eat in Italy, and when I have, it hasn’t been able to knock my socks off like my mom’s version (which I’ll post when I return to the states!) and Il Ritrovo’s, a delish Italian pizzeria in my hometown. While this version was covered in tiny, chopped tomatoes, Il Ritrovo’s is simply toasted bread rubbed with garlic, a few slices of fresh basil, and a large cherry tomato halved and set atop the bread. What’d I tell ya about the simple things in life? 🙂
While we bit into our bruschetta and sipped some wine, I perused the menu to see if anything grabbed my attention. Well, this certainly did:
Stramed vegetables anyone? 😉
Okay…after I sprinkled some parmesan on top?
Mixed it all together, silly!
The gnocchi was cooked al dente, which I’ve found I actually prefer with noodles (even with potato gnocchi…though I’ve been told the “correct” way is for it to be much softer).
Our stomachs completely stuffed-to-the-gills, my dad and I still managed to have a gelato craving on our walk back to our hotel (loved not having to stay in a hostel!). Well, can you believe there was NO gelato in sight circa 10 pm? Yeah, I was disappointed too 😦
Another wonderful thing about staying at a hotel?
Breakfast included! (major score)
A still-warm croissant (filled with orange marmelade) accompanied by a slice of deli ham and dried apricots & dates? The perfect fuel for our morning hike!
I love how croissants look so large from the outside, but then you bite into them and they’re…airy.
Lunch on Sunday — on the way to the train station — was, again, a large slice of foccacia bread completely covered in vegetables (have I mentioned I eat more vegetables here than I ever have in my life?!):
OMG still warm and butteryyyy (you know my obsession with warm foods).
My mom and dad waited to find a bite to eat once we got to the train station…and, unfortunately for them, the pickins’ were slim.
Olive bread for her (much too “olivey,” in her opinion).
Hot dog for him. (Sidenote: I stole a bite and this was absolutely fantastic. Hot dogs are rather hard to come by in Italy…unless you get them at Mensa mehhhh.)
2. Cinque Terre…through the photos.
The weekend went by so quickly — before I knew it, I was heading back (alone) to Roma’s Termini, as my parents took another train further north to Reggio Emilia to visit with some work friends (and tour a parmesan factory — those lucky ducks). But we had a lot of fun during our 2 1/2 days together. From our initial disappointed at finding out the world-famous blue trail (that takes you to each of the 5 villages with accompanying stunning views ) was closed because of recent landslides, we decided to make the best of the situation and do some hiking on our own.
We hiked up, up, and up, and seemingly never down. Positive? The views were utterly breathtaking. (And my calves are so much more toned bahaha.) Leave it to my dad to whip out his GPS-equipped phone 1 1/2 into our hike on paved, winding roads. “Oh! Here we are! We’re that little red dot in the middle of nowhere!”
But in all honesty, my dad was the navigator throughout our time in Italy. He truly showed those maps who’s boss!
But enough of my blabbing. See for yourself the innate beauty that is Cinque Terre:
(My mom brought out her Flip camera to capture the views and then moved in on this guy, until she quickly put it away saying, “He probably wants his privacy.” That’s nice of you and all, Mom, but do you REALLY think this guy wants his privacy?)
(There were locks everywhere! Supposedly there is a famous Italian movie where two lovers throw away the key to a lock…)
Well worth the climb, wouldn’t you say?
One last thing, before I let you go (because I obviously have complete control over you, right?)…how much do you love this dresser from our hotel?
Straight out of Alice in Wonderland, no? The room was decorated to perfection — full of warm blues, flowered (but not tacky) wallpaper, and a wood-planked shower. Not to mention my “pull-out” bed was actually a “pull-out” bunkbed. Don’t even tell me you’ve seen that before!
And I Ask You: Hiker, not a hiker? Are the views worth the blood, sweat, and tears for you, or would you rather take a car up and have more energy to explore?