We took the train from La Spezia Central to Vernazza, one out of five villages of Cinque Terre. Getting on the first train was especially difficult because we were on the wrong platform, then were packed onto the train practically on top of each other. In Vernazza we had an hour to explore in our own groups of choice. To get to our beautiful views, we had to hike the back alleys of the village, but it proved very worthwhile. There was also a waterfront to take in wonderful views and a shopping area on the main street of Vernazza where some of us bought some great gifts for home.
After a brief trip on the next train we arrived at Monterosso. Our group leaders released us into the wild streets of this second village for four full hours on our own in which we explored, ate, and relaxed. Testing our lack of Italian skills proved amusing and the locals usually responded friendly to our attempts. Some groups found places to relax and unwind, such as the dock on the water front, or the convent on the hilltop (much hiking required). Other groups climbed a gigantic rock on the beach under the sun and searched for food throughout the streets. From authentic Italian cuisine to seafood-only restaurants to a seemingly all-American restaurant that named each dish after an American band, the local food presented us with any food imaginable.
On our train back to La Spezia Central, we were delayed due to an Italian-speaking man getting his hand stuck in between the door and the wall of the train, prompting someone to push the emergency button and stop the train for an unnecessary amount of time, seeing as the man got his hand our before the train even stopped. Our group ran into the wonderful Emily Berestetsky, on vacation here with her family for the week, then got separated while walking from the station to our bus due to a car almost completely running over some of us still in the street from crossing. After returning to our hotel, some students visited the beach for thirty minutes while others stayed in the hotel and took advantage of the less-crowded wifi. At the beach some people threw a frisbee around while most others tanned in the sun before it fully set. Dinner was amazing for the second night in a row, a full three courses. Course one is generally pasta, course two is thinly sliced meat with potatoes, and dessert follows as the third and final course.