One of the things I miss about Europe is freshness of the food products there. It’s basically Berkeley but without TRYING to be. It’s not hipster to eat local and organic. That’s just the way it is! Anyway, being in the birthplace of pesto and focaccia (was Jesus born here too?…because it seems like all things perfect were), and having access to great ingredients, and I guess being poor American students, we did what we did best – made a sandwich.
On a quest to construct our own caprese sandwich, we split up to find our ingredients. Tomatoes from a local vendor (what am I saying…they’re ALL local!). Freshly made buffalo mozzarella, from a cheese man. Focaccia from a bakery down the street. And fresh pesto! Not the stuff in a jar. This stuff came from a tub. I could’ve bought a pound of pesto and just dumped it on everything I ate that trip….but to maintain some normalcy I refrained. Anyway, we sat down on a random bench to construct our sandwiches. AND THEY WERE AMAZING. As you can see from the picture, I did not hold back with the pesto. Apparently these babies looked good enough to sell because people walking by kept asking us where we bought them.
I love this picture because it captured this weird in-between weather we had while we were in Cinque Terre. It kept raining, but was sunny, and then it would be cloudy for moments. I remember watching the sky and seeing a very clear split between the super dark grey clouds and the bright blue sky. It definitely made our hike a lot more interesting (and long) as we hiked through mud slides along the vineyards and olive groves.
I was going to write about how the hike was the best part of our trip, but then I remembered it was the reward at the end of each hike that was the best. I challenged my friend to eat one gelato (that’s two scoops, since most gelaterias give you two flavors) from every village. So within a span of 5 hours he had 10 scoops of gelato. I’m sure I just gave him an excuse to pig out but I still think it was very impressive. We even had to train back to one of the villages that we missed just to eat some ice cream.
Okay I don’t normally do this section but I thought it was worth mentioning as it is still one of our fondest worst memories. When we first arrived and checked into our hostel, the office was separate from where we were staying. They introduced us to an old Italian lady (had to be in her 60s) who was to take us to our flat. I remember when we starting climbing the stairs thinking it couldn’t be too bad if this lady was taking us, but 350 steps later, having already fallen way behind, I was too tired to keep counting and was ready to collapse. Where IS this hostel?! Of course it was at the top of the mountain. I made my group promise to only ever do this journey twice a day, when we leave in the morning and when we come back at night.