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July 27, 2016

From WOOF to WOW: Hiking the 12km Trail in Cinque Terre

This morning was not my favorite. Honestly, it kind of stunk. Maybe it was being sore from the big hike earlier in the week. Maybe it was the fact my body was annoyed with being on the go for so many days in a row( yes mom, I took vitamins everyday). Maybe it was the fact that it was windy and cold again this morning and MAN WAS I TIRED OF THE WIND AND THE COLD! (Yes, I realize this was a trip of a lifetime so I shouldn’t let the weather get me down, but seriously, can a girl get a 64+ degree day without the wind?!?) Or maybe it was just one of those off mornings. Whatever it was, it was not fun.

Thankfully after a filling breakfast, espresso and the realization of HELLO IM ON VACATION IN EUROPE WITH MY HUSBAND, the attitude adjustment happened and I was ready to face the big hike day. Originally we had planned this hike for the day before but after the impromptu Five Lands hike we knew we needed a break in between and I’m so glad we planned the break. This hike was on a whole different level than our precious hike and the soreness set in quickly.

We started in our town of Riomaggiore and immediately began with a steep incline. P and I looked at each other and thought “what did we get into” but then incredibly views come out of the clouds and we realized we made the right decision. #wheninItalyalwaysgohiking #getupandmoveitwillbeworthit

Here in Cinque Terre they mark their trails by numbers and red/white lines. The lines become your best friends as they helped you figure out which path to follow along the trail. Some of them were shaped pretty funny.
The monorails were prevelant in this part of the town too. Crazy how steep and high they have these guys!
There were also a lot more man made pieces on this side of the SVA which was interesting and fun to check out.
We rocked out the front part of the hike and were highly surprised by how steep and difficult the descent turned out to be compared to the start. There were a lot more rock scrambles than anticipated and the path became quite narrow with steep drops on the side. There was no fear for safety, but there were a few comments about how much we wished we were wearing our hiking shoes. Some of the terrain reminded me more of Arizona or Nevada than the Italian coast. And then we found the highest point and wow, what a view!
The descent that lasted forever was not very well marked, but thankfully our instincts kept us on the right path. We were both very happy to see the town getting closer and closer.
And finally we reached the end of the trail and it as time to find the ferry boat and a gelato store.

Normally the ferry would have taken us along the coast back to Riomaggiore but because of the (stupid) wind it was not traveling along the coast. So we hopped a ride to La Spezia and then walked to the train station from the marina. Not what we planned but it worked!

It was a long fun day and we were ready for food and rest. While the day didn’t start out on the best note it truly was a fun last day in beautiful Cinque Terre. Not gonna lie, I was super sad to say goodbye to this beautiful place. I'm so grateful my BOFF suggested it to us and I hope one day to get back.

What we ate: I wasn’t hungry most of the day, but here’s a snapshot of some of the food.
For dinner we grabbed a bottle of win and two pizzas and ate them in the palazzo outside our lil Airbnb. It was a warmer night than normal and we enjoyed hanging out and seeing life in Riomaggiore. We also met some Americans touring Italy and had a fun conversation with them. We found out they were from Michigan but we didn't hold it against them ;)!

July 25, 2016

The Last Week of July and the Start of a New Routine

Morning, friends! I hope you had a great weekend and are ready to start to start the week off with a bang. Crazy this is the last week of July, right? I mean, holy cow August is RIGHT around the corner, what the what? I can't believe we've been down here in Tennessee for almost two months, crazy pants, just crazy pants.

My weekend was pretty chill, full of the usual gym workouts, teaching, lake time and sleep time. We did attend our first FRIEND party on Saturday night and had a great time meeting new people at a kickball friend's barbecue. It was much needed and I am so looking forward to more hang outs and friends as the year progresses.

Today is a big day for me, today I have my first day at a part time job. WAIT, before the congrats [which are too kind] know this is only a small, temporary job until a true 9-5pm comes along. Le Husband is still in the process of third and fourth interviews with different companies and we feel good about some of his options [all prayers and good vibes are welcome]. My opportunity is moving INCREDIBLY slow and while waiting I decided to jump on some part time work at the gym. The work isn't special, the pay is peanuts but you know what, it's  something and could lead to something bigger.

So, send your good vibes to me today as I get back into the work force [kind of] and learn a completely new job. I'm grateful for the opportunity and can't wait to see where this chance takes me. Hope your Monday is fabulous!

July 22, 2016

FBF: Because He's Mine

*** I started this post before our move, but never posted it. I thought the week of our six year dateaversary would be as good as any. If you don't like mushy stuff, feel free to click the red X***

The alarm is beeping stirring me awake. Drowsy with sleep, I start moving and find my legs tangled up in someone else's, the same person I accidentally hit when I slowly stretch.  He's taken up most of the bed and is snoring softly and I can't help but look at him and smile because he's mine.

Lights stay off as I get ready for work, each loud noise answered with a soft 'SORRY'. I get dressed in the dark so I don't have to wake him but I don't mind at all, because he's mine.

My written out list for boxing up packages and labels get thrown to the side when he swoops in to take care of things while I'm at work, and even though I'm sad about my lists I don't mind too much, because he's mine.

Vacations are rarely restful and lazy since he's the go, go, go active guy, and even though I miss my lazy days laying in the sun on the beach I don't mind too much, because he's mine.

Plain chicken and veggies for dinner, night after night. I'm bored as all get out, but I know he has a goal and he is helping me to my goals and even though ALL I WANT IS CHIPS, GUAC and a BURRITO I eat the meals and am grateful this disciplined man in mine.

New city, new place to call home, new free schedule and no jobs makes for a stressful time. I couldn't imagine doing this journey, this big step without my best friend. Even though we deal with stressors in different ways, there's no man I'd rather have by my side and I thank God every night because he's mine.

Happy date anniversary, my love. I'm incredibly thankful a random kickball team [and rum] brought us together. The past six years have been an amazing ride and I am so excited for our future. I love you to the moon and back. 

July 20, 2016

Biking through Levanto: AKA the Italian Gelato Tour

I last left off on our European adventure in the fabulous land of Cinque Terre. Our first full day there we hiked the Five Lands randomly. The post today is all about our fun gelato bike tour in Levanto and part of it was written by Le Husband. While we were gone I set up a blog for our family and friends to follow along on our journey and every now and then Le Husband asked to write a post. Sometimes he left out things I wanted to say [men, haha], so I've merged some of his post with my recap here.

Our original plan was to hike 14 km south but we were both way too sore to seriously consider it. So, we were a bit lazy the next morning and didn't roll out of bed until 10:00. We used our kitchen again and did an American style breakfast sandwich but didn’t move with much urgency until around noon. With  our previous days hike being much longer than anticipated we decided an active rest day was in order which included biking and lots of gelato. Marta told us about bike shares in the northern town of Levanto and since we needed an activity that wasn't walking we decided on the spot to get tickets and hop the train towards Levanto. We learned that you have to validate your train ticket even if you purchase it minutes before it arrives, thank goodness the steward understood our unfamiliarity with this process.

Once we arrived in Levanto we set out looking for bikes to rent. Levanto is a remarkably flat, larger town compared to the Cinque Terra towns so we wandered through the city with no luck.  After walking around longer than expected we decided to ask and the store closest happened to serve gelato… it was a sign. We bought a cone each and got some rough directions and were on our way.

First shop, closed, second rental shop, closed, third, closed, fourth, opened 10 minutes after we arrived at their door. We paid 10 euros and were on our way. With no real plan or clue we started following the biking lanes north. Little did we know 8 km later the trail would end and after a 15 second debate Gelato Tasting Day was officially sanctioned.

The trailed ended in the town of Anzo which didn't look like much but we thought, why not wander around for a bit. Ten flights of stairs and a series of moderate switchbacks later we decided finding gelato in Anzo wasn't going to happen. It was a bummer but a few fun pictures were snapped along the way.

We trekked back to our bikes and headed back south, this time stopping at Bonassola. It was around 16:30 when we pulled in and were in search of gelato #2. It was a little more difficult than we imagined, 3 of the 4 shops in town were closed and the only open one was the the last one in our circle. We returned to Levanto and dropped our rental bikes off and were in search of gelato #3. It was not nearly as difficult to find as in Bonassola, just a few blocks up from the bike place and on the direct path to the train. The lady serving us chuckled as we tried our best to pronounce each of the flavors but she played along and humored us. Gelato #4 was after another great dinner. On the short downhill walk home we hit the second of 2 in Riomaggiore.

For dinner we ventured back to Pizzaria De Mam’ Angelo, which is the same place we ate our first night here. While eating the first night we noticed their pizzas and calzones looked fabulous even though we both opted for the pasta [which was incredible]. It only took us 10 days in to finally have our first pizza experience and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. We've both eaten authentic calzones and love them but this calzone was light, airy and delicious. The pizza was worth waiting 10 days for, thin crusted and cooked at extremely high temps with the slightly charred crust… perfection. We considered this meal our carb loading in preparation for a 14 km trek the next day.

Today’s side notes:
1. We did laundry, 3,50€, and it is currently line drying outside our windows. That whole when in Rome thing. Plus the laundromat closed at 19:30.
2. We saw two young females getting arrested. Very weird considering we hadn’t seen a cop since leaving Milan and some folks in Riomaggiore still keep their keys on the OUTSIDE of the door in the locks.
3. People remember big tips. Free champagne when we sat down for dinner as the servers remembered us.
4. If you ever visit Cinque Terra do so in a carry on. Watching people struggle with full size luggage with the combination of steps, hills and cobblestone is quite hilarious.

 Pictures of our day:

What we ate: Gelato! Lots and lots of gelato. Plus delicious Italian food!
Carryon update: Ten days in and it was finally time to do some laundry. We found a laundromat UP the road [yes literally up a hill] from our airbnb and it was also right next to the restaurant we ate dinner. Our original plan was to do both loads while we were at dinner, but sadly the laundromat closed earlier than we expected. Thankfully Marta, our airbnb host, was able to negotiate some extra time for our first load otherwise it would have been a super bummer of an evening. Since the clothes weren't entirely dry, we hung them outside our window and I'm not gonna lie, it made me feel kind of European.

Next recap will be all about our 14 km trek and then it's good by Cinque Terre, hello Venice!