I was invited to join a Blogger Relay competition, hosted by lowcostholidays.com, and Greg from Adventures of a GoodMan just passed the relay baton to me. The goal of the relay is to create a collection of travel memories, as written by various travel bloggers. So instead of my usual round-up of links, I’ve got a round-up of travel memories to share with you.
The Gold Medal Memory- Walking through the Cinque Terre in Italy
As many of you know, I’m a cynical hiker. In my mind, the effort of hiking must equal the reward of hiking, namely a gorgeous view. Luckily, hiking (ok, it was more of a walk) in the Cinque Terre in Italy exceeded all my expectations. In fact, I think it spoiled me for all future hikes.
Located on the northwestern coast of Italy, the Cinque Terre is a series of five adorable villages built into the rugged cliffs of the Italian Riviera. (That’s right, I just used the words “rugged cliffs,” “adorable villages” and “Riviera” all in the same sentence. It’s a tourist highlight for good reason.)
My two best friends studied abroad in Italy, and when I visited them, we knew we had to go to the Cinque Terre.
Cars are not allowed into the area, so we took a train to Monterosso and then hiked/walked along the trail that connects the five towns. This was my kind of hiking, people. The views were consistently stunning. The snack breaks involved gelato, fresh seafood, and pizza. The hike ended at a cute beach.
After sweating it out on the cliffs of the Cinque Terre, we bought a bottle of Limoncello, took off our shoes, and soaked up the sun in Riomaggiore, the village at the far end of the hike.
The Cinque Terre takes the gold medal not only because I had a fabulous time with my two best friends, but because it’s one of the few places in the world that I would love to visit again. (Usually, I prefer to visit someplace new!)
The Silver Medal Memory- Island-Hopping in Vanuatu
The best part about living in a developing country that is comprised of 82 islands is that many of your adventures begin on a tiny plane.
I have fond memories of living in Vanuatu, departing from “airports” that were no more than a cow pasture, and flying over the Pacific Ocean. In addition to the gorgeous views, these flights had several other advantages:
- It was an easy way to keep track of my weight. The planes were so small that I had to be weighed each time I got on a flight, apparently to make sure I wouldn’t cause us to crash into the ocean.
- It curbed my tendency to over pack. Luggage was also weighed, and left behind if it was too heavy.
- I once got to ride in the co-pilot seat. This was because a live pig had to sit in my original seat.
- I felt like a celebrity. On many of the small islands, a plane flight was the highlight of the week. Whole villages would come out and clap when we bumped safely to a stop on the grass runway.
The Bronze Medal Memory- Exploring in Chattanooga, Tennessee
I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to travel somewhere exotic and far away to create great travel memories. One of my top three memories is a trip I recently took to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Chattanooga appealed to all my travel appetites. Outdoor activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, and walking through the beautiful riverside parks, were everywhere. I was able to visit three different cheesy tourist sites, including Ruby Falls, America’s tallest underground waterfall. The art museum had an awesome exhibit called “Sound and Vision: Monumental Rock & Roll Photography”. There was ice cream for sale on practically every corner. Plus, it was only two hours from home.
I love taking weekend trips; they’re the backbone of my travel experiences. I plant myself somewhere new, and then explore on the weekends. Finding a fun city like Chattanooga is rarer than you might think, and always one of my top priorities when traveling.
Now, I hand off the Team Purple travel relay baton to my fellow travel blogger Lucy at On the Luce.
Looking for more travel inspiration? Then check out these posts from other bloggers on my relay team: