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#1: THAT TIME... everyone thought hiking Cinque Terre in stilettos was a good idea
You know that really pretty picture of colorful homes precariously crammed on a cliff that you have seen all over the internet? Yeah, that is Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre is easily one of the most beautiful places in all of Italy - and THAT is a huge compliment. While Cinque Terre dates back to the 11th century, and is known as an "old Italian fishing village", a lot of that is tourist rhetoric.
Truthfully, the area has had a somewhat tumultuous past. Until the 1970s brought a tourism revolution to the area, Cinque Terre was poverty-stricken, and many locals were fleeing for better economies.
So, while we all hate tourists, and sharing your views with someone wearing a fannypack is never ideal, we often have to thank global commerce and Rick Steves for kick-starting a struggling area into something grand again.
Cinque Terre means "five lands" in Italian.... and that is what it is. Five little, breathtaking, cliff-side towns strung together by trains and walkways. To traverse the six miles between the towns, one can train or hike (no cars). Training is clearly the easiest way to get around. However, all of those fantastic view of the towns are not actually visible when you are in the towns.
To get those views, you need to hike.
So, what do you wear when you hike? If you really know what you're doing, you'll have boots, maybe a bag, maybe some poles. At the very least, you would wear athletic shorts and sneakers, right? If you agree with me, you are a sane person. If you don't agree with me, did I pass you while hiking Cinque Terre?
I really hate tourists, but I know that I can't, because I am one. Being a tourist isn't a bad thing - we often provided much needed commerce to an area. Check out the story above. Check out Dubrovnik.
HOWEVER, in the same way Americans wearing crocs and chugging slurpees are blamed for tainting the image of our country, I blame anyone who has ever taken a photo of a monument on their iPad for tainting the reputation of tourists.
I am not saying I am never an ignorant tourist. But god damn, do you really need to hike Cinque Terre in a denim skirt and wedges and make us all look bad?
Cinque Terre isn't even an easy hike! I was struggling hard and I am in what science would call my "peak fitness age". I passed someone having an Athsma attack. That is clearly less funny, but explains the rigor of this hike.
I have no patience for this type of frivolous, "did it for the insta", type of travel. I am sure your selfie in a floppy felt hat with Manarola in the background was great and got a lot of likes, but was holding up a line of actually PREPARED hikers worth it? Honestly for you, it probably was.
The amount of ill-prepared "hikers" in Manarola outnumbered the rest of us, and unfortunately blocked our way too. I am never thrilled with other tourists, but when you are actually hindering my experience, we have a larger issue. In some regards, I am here to complain, but in others, I am here to help.
Why did you think a polka-dot tube dress was the appropriate choice for a 6 mile hike? Also, we are next to the ocean, a.k.a. WATER. Regardless of the fact you are taking part in a vertical climb, suede boots were never a good idea.
This type of "fashion hiking" is not unique to Italy. When I was hiking Cappadocia, Turkey, I found a guy and a girl, both in leather pant lost in ditch. First off, a couple in matching leather pants is an unforgivable faux pas.
I am not implying that the pants had anything to do with the fact the couple was lost in a ditch. That was probably due to the same stupidity that made them wear the pants in the first place.
My point here is that tourists, we can do better. There is a time and place for your rep lipstick and Celine bag, and it is not on anything even remotely classified as a hike, even if it will result in a great picture. This is why people hate us.
When I think of Cinque Terre, I first think of the fantastic views, the yummy food, and the great times with friends. I then think of girls in fur vests making their way between towns... and boy do I laugh.