When thinking of my favorite travel memories, an array of breathtaking new sights, laughter, stepping out of my comfort zone, and spending time with unforgettable people flashes through my mind. One memory that combines all four aspects was during my time interning abroad in Florence, Italy.
My roommates and I took a day trip to visit Cinque Terre, the string of centuries-old villages on the Italian Riviera coastline. After exploring Riomaggiore (picture the famous shot of colorful houses on a seaside cliff), the beach town of Monterosso al Mare was next on our list. The furthest villages away from each other, there were two options for methods of transportation: the train, or a strenuous 7.5 mile hike that could take up to 5 hours. While most of the group opted for the train, my roommate from Amsterdam was feeling adventurous and asked me to join her in the hike.
Together, we braved through climbing, descending, narrow passages, and steep, uneven stone steps. Though it was exhausting, the trek was well worth it as we discovered incredible views of the coast, lush olive groves, and exotic plants and flowers.
My favorite part was coming across a quaint stand selling limoncello during one of the descents, manned by a sweet old Italian man. While I may have regretted thinking that taking a limoncello shot in the middle of a 5-hour hike would be refreshing, I’ll never regret that I said yes to a new adventure that would turn into a cherished memory.