Farewell, Cinque Terre

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En Route

We are en route from Firenze to Cinque Terre for a quick two day jaunt. You know the place- it’s probably what you envision when you hear someone chatting about the coast of Italy. It’s an incredibly picturesque little town composed of five wee villages replete with stunning views and landscapes. Strangely, though, it’s also home to some of the world’s ugliest Airbnb’s. Perhaps in the high season there are some nicer options, but at this time of year it was slim pickings for “Mern” and me (Welcome Marie-Nicole- also known as Mern, French American, Sassafrass glam babe, and my closest friend abroad in Firenze!! Xoxxoo muah)! One would think that an infamous location like Cinque Terre would have a plethora of boutique hotel and summer-flats available. Unfortunately, however, all the lodging options we found were over-priced and full of old school euro décor – not exactly ideal.

It’s a lovely Saturday and we are heading towards Riomaggiore by train! Despite Cinque Terre’s proximity to Firenze, the journey to Cinque Terre does require one train change after departing from the central train station in Firenze. We booked our Airbnb & transport last night, with the knowledge that it might be a bit chilly and rainy during our visit. Mind you, we are heading to a location that’s known for its long hikes and views from the water. All of the popular activities are entirely outdoors. But hey, we are going!!

The weekend is already shaping up to be an adventure. I slept through an hour of alarms. Leaving myself with less than thirty minutes to get ready for the day, pack, eat breakfast, etc. It was also in my morning schedule to bathe, so I’m sporting dirty hair and no make-up. I was late to the train station and we had to hustle onboard, sweating and grumpy. We finally find seats only to hear an announcement in Italian telling us that the train is out of service and to move to an alternative train. My fellow travelers and I competitively scramble to find a good seat with their travel buddy of choice, on our new train. The flurry of activity made for an exciting ten minutes of havoc to say the least, especially considering the fact that I’m also carrying two obnoxious tote bags. As we are shuffling through the train, desperately searching for seats, I am thinking for the hundredth time that I need to invest in a sleek Lululemon backpack for shenanigans like this. Somehow we found seats near, but not next to, each other and the journey finally began.

Have I mentioned that nothing really works in Italy? No?? Perhaps I can enlighten you. For instance, yesterday when I was moving to my new abode it took us 45 minutes to get a cab. One does not “hail a cab,” here in Firenze- you have to find a phone and make some calls. There are three taxi companies, no Uber, and a country full of people that have no sense of urgency. Added together this makes it nearly impossible for a taxi to be consistent. I do not find myself too flustered by this lag in progression, but it is something to be aware of. As in, what if there’s a flight to catch? You might want to give yourself more time than necessary. Additionally, try to compose yourself. Adapt. Get over it. It’s a different place where things simply run differently (or not at all, like the train we had to vacate).

Back to the weekend ahead- we are going to have fun! I’ve got a bag of snacks (including gluten free bread) so I feel aptly prepared. However, I also have some sort of sinus pressure, ear pain, running nose situation happening right now, so I’ve got to go find some tissues (aka toilet paper). Classic. Oh, and this just in! Mern just passed me her phone to show me the expected weather for Cinque Terre today. The little screen of her iPhone 5 gleams: “Sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, with gray skies and a solid chance of rain.” I am telling you, it’s always an adventure. Chat later ya boobs.

 

One Week Later

It’s been roughly a week since our return from Cinque Terre, and I am still in awe. Unfortunately, not the good sort of awe that leads to daydreaming and future trip planning- quite the opposite, actually. Let me explain: Cinque Terre can be best explained as hype.

According to Urban Dictionary, hype is “A fad. A clever marketing strategy which a product is advertised as the thing everyone must have, to the point where people begin to feel they need to consume it.”

My gal pal and I were greatly disappointed with the entirety of Cinque Terre. We arrived on a gray day with high hopes for a lovely weekend. We managed to find affordable accommodations with Airbnb in Riomaggiore, and our host was very sweet and hospitable. After we arrived and took a quick tour of our little flat, we promptly ventured out for sustenance. With approximately five restaurants in the town of Riomaggiore, we settled on the first one (I cannot recall the name, probably because I neither felt the need to recommend it, nor store it for later dissection on Yelp). The waiter cautioned that there may be cross-contamination, but thankfully I was left unscathed. My fish was fabulous, and the side of veggies was so-so. The day was soon dampened by rain… as was our weekend. Jokes, jokes! We made it an adventure.

We really did enjoy ourselves! We laughed, found nutella, and enjoyed being bloated due to our respective digestive issues. Yet, I must say, the gray skies and dewy weather did not help the looks of the decrepit architecture of Cinque Terre. Honestly, it resembled a Eastern European slum. The biggest disappointment was the lack of culture. To start, Cinque Terre is compiled entirely of tourists. I know we are visiting as well, but I did not spy one local roaming the town. The magic of Cinque Terre has been entirely stripped by the override of tourism. It goes beyond “a tourist town,” and I can say that confidently as I am currently living in Florence. It was like Disney world for adults- nothing more than an attraction (lines and bad food included). Isn’t this supposed to be Italy? It felt like a bad trip to Epcot.

On our second day the sun came out, so we set out to visit three of the five towns that make up Cinque Terre. We began the morning with Nutella toast, a recipe for success, and soon after caught the ferry to Monterosso; the furthest town from Riomaggiore. This venture allowed us to see the five towns from the sea, and let me tell you- perspective is everything. Riomaggiore looked quite lovely from the water, but was questionable when viewed up close. Sorry ‘bout it.

Starting our morning off in Monterosso was quite nice. We hopped off the ferry and right back into the sea! We cleverly changed into our suits, on the pebbly beach and dipped in the water for a morning swim. Apparently jellyfish have been a bit wild in Cinque Terre this season, so I was a little frightened. Nonetheless, this was the best part of the trip. The little beach was not overrun with tourists, so the experience was restorative. After lunch, we discovered the larger beach of Monterosso, along with the striped beach umbrella’s of your dreams. Monterosso really is much bigger than the other towns, and the images and blogs do not do its size justice.

We then pranced to Vernazza, which was strange and not as charming as Monterroso. We scooted away from the crowds to find an aperitivo on top of a cliff with a breathtaking view (the local vino bianco of Cinque, was actually quite lovely).

While the land and sea of the area are beautiful- truly stunning- Cinque Terre is  best known for its towns, which have been ransacked by the masses and stripped of their appeal. Once upon a time- in the seventies- Cinque Terre was a hidden gem. A lustrous, beaming, secret, spot for holiday. And I apologize for letting you down, but in 2016 Cinque Terre was nothing more than a beautiful disappointment.

Oddly enough, it remains immensely picturesque when viewed through a lens- especially with solid editing skills. So here is a little mind F for you. Enjoy these beautiful, idyllic pictures of a sad, soulless place called Cinque Terre. Xo  H baby 

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Chan Luu Dress (No longer avail.) & Soludos Smoking Slipper (ON SALE)

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Day Two!! And the sun joined the party!
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Riomaggiore
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Riomaggiore from the sea

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Mern!
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bae.
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Vernazza from the sea

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Warm waters, sandy toes and a little Mern
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Wearing: Marysia Swim (Similar here

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View for lunch & where we spent the morning dipping in the sea

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local vino bianco for the win

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At this point in the day, we sat in exhausted silence. This was a real candid, as I could not conjure the strength to do anything more than read… and drink.
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A magical spot, by the Riomaggiore train station
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guardian angel pup that helped our disastrous return home 
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Farewell, see you never, Cinque Terre

 

Photos via iphone. Taken by myself (Hannah Rice,) or not if I am pictured.

Cinque Terre 2016

Decision Making and Cake Baking

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I have heard, that as a writer or blogger of any sort you should not only share the highlights of your life but frequently add the harsh realities. Update on yours truly: decisions suck; as well as stomach bugs and long weeks.

I have recently been faced with multiple opportunities. Which is fabulous, and I feel blessed to have opportunities that all appear to challenge me in one way or another in a department of my life that I adore. However, I cannot do everything. I tend to leap on every lilypad of opportunity and float down a river of “retweet if wow.” This “wow” I get myself caught up in, is not always good. This past weekend, as new opportunities arose, I realized holy crap I have to reevaluate and change something. I do not want to spread myself too thin, involving myself in a multitude of activities and not giving them the attention they deserve.

My response to this realization was an achy heart. I fell into a puddle of tears as I understood what I had to give up. It is not even like this “thing,” that I am giving up, is a part of my daily life. It was something that I worked hard for, was proud of and now am relinquishing control of. A seemingly great thing in my life, has to go, as more amazing things enter.

I have sent myself into circulations of tears and sentiment this past week and I do not think I am over it yet. I was chatting to a close friend about the cluster of decisions and as I shared my thoughts, tears came down my face. She looked at me with a loving expression, “I think you already made your decision, you are mourning the loss of it already.” As a feeler that feels all of the feels of the nation, I need to let myself feel this out. I have replayed the good of said “thing;” the memories, the laughter and promises it holds to my future. I am currently shaking my head. It feels weird to let this go. At the same time, I have some seriously fun and challenging things happening this semester, and I want to be a part of that more than I want to hold onto something that is not necessarily the best thing for me. I do not know if you have been able to keep up with these strings of thoughts, that is okay. Simply understand this, decisions are terrifying but crucial for success.

I make decisions every day, some bigger than others. We all do, and regardless of the impact of one bitty or huge decision, life goes on my dolls. I have a kick booty semester ahead of me, this is only making me more prepared.

You have probably realized this post has no relation to a cake, sorry to mislead you.

This all seems rather mysterious. It is serious to me, but at the same time not that big of a deal. xo HBee

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In my moments of doubt, I’ve told myself firmly: If not me, who? If not now, when? / / Emma Watson

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For a Fun Friday, enjoy all the internet has to offer you:

Kylie Jenner Makeup Tutorial

Pari Dust– Art meets Fashion

Oscar noms

Gluten Free Peanut Butter & Jam Cookies

This adorable NYC Apartment

My diva soulmate has a blog

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Oh I miss London terribly.

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Sarah and Louise. Missing these girls!

Pictures by my new friend, adorable Swedish born and London located blogger, Elin Schönfelder

Madewell Coat (ON SALE), Madewell coated pants (sold out) similar, Zara top (purchased in London) similar, Clutch (borrowed), BC Heels, H&M necklace (fall season) similar

Guilty Pleasures

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Guilty pleasures, hmm it sounds a bit naughty but still ever so sweet. Whether it be late night gelato or ritual candy overdoses at the movie theatre, guilty pleasures are a beautiful thing. As much as I love a good sugar sneak, that is not what I am chatting about today. The best type of guilty pleasure is one you can hold, love, and wear. The guilty purchases. Whatever item of choice you spend a little extra on, is your guilty pleasure.

Unfortunately for myself, I have gloriously expensive taste so I am willing (if financially permissible) to spend “a little extra,” on a whole lot. I have this fascination with cozy. Cozy comes with responsibility. Come cozy time, one must be prepared with prime chick flicks, hot tea and lustrous loungewear. Cozy is not always intended for the couch, I usually find myself sporting my cozy in a hopefully stylish, but primarily comfortable ensemble for strolling about town. I love luxurious comfort.

On a busy London day I went shopping with my darling Sarah, and a few of her girlfriends. Sarah wanted me to experience the glory of the London empires and we could not help ourselves inside the decked out and super sexy AllSaints shop. AllSaints is a cult classic for trendy Londoners and urban fashionistas, the shop is gleaming with deep wood and iron accents. We bustled through the crowds to find prime items in the best SALE ever for our winter closets, and boy did we lucked out.

Sarah found a chic top with built-in neckwear, perfect to pair with over the knee boots and dark jeans for a snazzy meal out or drinks with a friend. Isabel found killer boyfriend jeans, that she later cuffed and paired with a structured top and heeled booties. I stumbled upon this sweatshirt, and I could not resist myself. The soft hoodie is lined with a light fleece and two delicate pockets are located at the bottom of the elongated piece. The sweatshirt is discreetly decorated with textured patches which are lightly visible, causing the sweatshirt to appear naturally stylish. I do not know if I was sold on the sweatshirt because of the hot sales associates with man buns and skinny jeans, or simply the fact that it was utterly cozy and magically chic! Regardless of the good looking folks in AllSaints, we walked out feeling hip and ready to hit the streets!

I am very pleased with the outcome of this look. Worn here in the chic streets of Chelsea, I found myself pairing the top with coated jeans and my new favorite high tops. This laid back sweatshirt is perfect for home lounging, airport jaunts and trendy city trips.

So after discovering that I overspend on comfort clothing, I know that all my lovelies have at least one department of style that causes knee buckling, gasping and check writing. What is your style guilty pleasure?

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My metallic nails were for New Year’s Eve and have come into 2015 so well! I am so fond of the color, shimmer, and many have expressed their adoration of the fun pick!

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Simple details go a long way

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i adore these shoes, this will not be the last you see of them. *spoons sneakers* *places sneakers on silver tray* *worshi-* kidding.

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Make sure to check out my London pics on instagram! xoxo & #jesuischarlie

Pictures by my new friend, adorable Swedish born and London located blogger, Elin Schönfelder

AllSaints sweatshirt, JBrand Coated Jeans, Superga sneakers