When I first heard of the Cinque Terre region of Italy I immediately conjured visions of an over- crowded tourist trap. This was not the case at all. This is a really special stretch of rugged coastline in Northern Italy. The region contains five towns and many acres of natural preserve. The towns feel like small independent villages nestled along the coastline, connected only by a hiking trail and a train (This is not actually the case as there is also a highway).
One morning, we started early and ran the trail connecting the towns- it was one of the best experiences of my life. I felt so connected to the place as we dashed up the steep cliffs and down the ravines into neighboring towns to try out their slice of heaven with quick dips into their section of the sea.
We also found this to be a difficult yet fantastic base for some amazing road cycling. The hills in this area provide little relief as you climb the Giro d’Italia route and see the encouraging slogans painted from years past. One can’t help but try to go all- out on the downhills and imagine what it must feel like to be racing with the best cyclists from around the world.