Corniglia, Europe, Italy

When You Realize Life is Good … Corniglia, Italy.

May 12, 2013

It was about two years ago when my life changed forever and I moved to Berlin. One of the main reasons for moving to Europe was to simply travel more and experience what my new home had to offer. My plans were (and still are) to explore every nook and cranny of the continent.

So being one who doesn’t like to sit still for long, I took off on my first trip less than two weeks after my big move abroad. I left Berlin behind to meet my big love, Italy. It had been almost a year since we’d last been together. Joining friends from Toronto, we spent a couple of days in Milan and then at Lake Como. When my friends left, I returned to Milan alone where I romanced myself with a nice dinner and night out at the opera.

Exploring Cinque Terre.

Next up was Cinque Terre. After exploring the Amalfi Coast the year before, I was eager to see how the two areas compared. Well … as often happens to me in Italy, it was love a first sight. Hiking from Manarola to Corniglia, I was captivated (like everyone else ) by the small seaside towns, jagged cliffs, colourful flowers and the seemingly endless expanse of the Mediterranean.

Corniglia, Italy.

Corniglia, Italy.

It was a bright, sunny day and my morning hike between the two villages had been challenging but worthwhile. I’d made the mistake of forgetting my sneakers and took the walk with my sporty flip-flops which made the trek more arduous then needed. You should have seen the pointed look I got from a group of serious German hikers who passed by – who were fully equipped with backpacks, walking sticks and hiking boots. An English couple were more obvious and said to me in a shocked voice  “Why are you only wearing slippers?

I stopped in Corniglia to hide from the peanut gallery and have a lunch involving wine and pasta (what else). I then got back on the hiking path intending to head to Vernazza when I came upon this extraordinary view.

Corniglia, Italy.

Corniglia, Italy.

It turns out that not only is it a place where locals dock their boats but is also a hidden swimming spot that’s almost a little dangerous to reach.

Corniglia, Italy.
Corniglia, Italy.

I quickly discarded my plans for Vernazza and carefully made my way down the treacherous path (in my “slippers“). I couldn’t resist getting time to soak up some rays! I’m so pale that it’s a surprise I didn’t blind any fellow beach goers that day.

Corniglia, Italy.
Corniglia, Italy.
Corniglia, Italy.

I passed the colourful boats and spread my beach towel out towards the end of the little dock.

Corniglia, Italy.

Looking around, I knew that I hadn’t made a mistake in changing my plans. I’d see Vernazza the next day.

Corniglia, Italy.

Corniglia, Italy.

Corniglia, Italy.

When Life is Good. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, tanning, sleeping and listening to music.

Gazing at the beauty that surrounded me, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of happiness. My life in Europe was just beginning and I knew I’d made the right choice in moving there. Maybe everyday wouldn’t be as perfect as this one but overall it was good, really good.

As the afternoon faded away, I snapped these photos of local Italian children joyously jumping into the water. They were competing to see who could do the best cannonball, laughing, jeering and cheering as each child did yet another jump.

 Their childlike happiness perfectly summed up my feelings at that moment. For this reason, I’ll never forget my time in Corniglia.

Corniglia, Italy.

Corniglia, Italy.

Go Swimming in Corniglia.

Find this “beach” for yourself by veering off the main hiking trail and heading down towards the water. Be prepared for the steep walk down and later walk back up (maybe skip the slippers!)

And if you’re the type who likes sand, beach chairs and service, head to nearby Monterosso Al Mare instead.


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11 Comments

  • Reply Thomas Dembie May 12, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Great article Cheryl! I visited the region many years ago and will be going again in a few weeks with my extended family. This post has gotten me very excited about the trip!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard May 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Thanks Thomas. I’m so happy to hear. Hope you can get to enjoy some time in this hidden swimming spot. 🙂

  • Reply Cathy Sweeney May 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    There’s nothing like those “Life is good” moments. Easy to see why you felt that way in Corniglia by the great photos here. My husband and I have talked about moving to Europe for a while to be able to travel to more places in Europe, more often.Wonderful that you’ve had that experience.

  • Reply Cheryl Howard May 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks so much Cathy! I don’t think you’d regret moving to Europe as I certainly haven’t. I look forward to my longish holiday there in December and I hope someday moving back again.

  • Reply noel May 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Aaaah Cinque Terre, I have such fond memories and it is interesting that you also wanted to compare it to Amalfi which are totally different in vibe and intimacy. I also love the walking time in between and a nice dip. Vernazza though is a gorgeous village, hope you did ge to visiting it eventually?

    • Reply Cheryl Howard May 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Yes, I love both the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre for different reasons. I did make it to Vernazza the next day, where I enjoyed yet another dip. 🙂

  • Reply Kate May 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Italy is one of the countries that lived up to my very high expectations. Loved it. Living simply is how I like to live/travel too.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard May 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      Agree Kate! It was such a refreshing way to spend the afternoon. Most times my best moments, have been these simple moments …

  • Reply Back to Berlin and Beyond May 15, 2013 at 2:47 am

    We ended up staying in Corniglia last time we were in Cinque Terre and while I was initially disappointed as it is the only village without easy access to water, I loved the privacy and lower amount of tourists. My father-in-law found a wine bar that looked out over the water and we sat there all night, watching the light fall. For all the “Cinque Terre is ruined”, it is still extraordinarily beautiful. Great write-up & pictures Cheryl!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard May 15, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      Ebe – Thanks for the nice commments! Your moment watching light fall must have been beautiful. 🙂

  • Reply Back to Berlin and Beyond May 15, 2013 at 6:47 am

    We ended up staying in Corniglia last time we were in Cinque Terre and while I was initially disappointed as it is the only village without easy access to water, I loved the privacy and lower amount of tourists. My father-in-law found a wine bar that looked out over the water and we sat there all night, watching the light fall. For all the "Cinque Terre is ruined", it is still extraordinarily beautiful. Great write-up & pictures Cheryl!

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