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Decent beach destination and renowned metropolitan city.
The national park is home to five quaint, colorfully built villages perched on a cliff. We resided in a nearby town and frequently traveled by train to these five villages, each within a 10-minute journey. However, these villages are popular spots, predominantly with locals, indicating their approval but also meaning they are often crowded.
The weather, as usual, was unbearably hot. We had initially planned to explore some popular hiking trails and visit all the villages. However, due to the intense heat, we were physically unable to do so. Instead, we visited Monterosso and Vernazza.
We dined at a vista restaurant that offered an absolutely stunning view of the sunset. Despite spending a considerable amount on food, including two rounds of main dishes and beer, we had a fantastic time. Being on top of this charming, century-old town and appreciating nature was truly an unforgettable experience.
During dinner, I observed people on the beach diving into the sea. I was intrigued and felt a strong desire to challenge myself with the same feat. The height looked daunting, but I was determined. So, the next morning, I returned to the beach and took the plunge! Initially, it was terrifying, as things often appear scarier in reality than they do in pictures.
My first jump was a decent vertical leap, so I didn’t experience any pain upon impact with the water. The only sensation was the salty sea water invading my throat due to the force of the dive. Regardless, it was exhilarating to push my boundaries and conquer my fear.
Emboldened, I attempted the dive two more times. On my final try, I decided to execute a cannonball jump, which unfortunately resulted in a painful outcome. I leaned back too far before hitting the water, causing the back of my legs to smack the water first at an almost horizontal angle. The pain was so intense that I felt momentarily paralyzed.
After my attempts, I returned to the shore and noticed a few wounds from the sharp rocks I had climbed. This was expected, but it didn’t dampen the sense of achievement I felt from my daring sea diving adventure.
We arrived here in the morning and were shocked by the weather and the crowds once again. So, we simply strolled around and decided to leave.
We embarked on a journey from Cinque Terre to Milan, and unfortunately, the highway leading there was in a poor state. Generally speaking, the condition of both highways and regular roads in Italy leave much to be desired. The roads are riddled with numerous potholes and most drivers seem to disregard the speed limit, often exceeding it by more than 30%. Driving here is both tiring and challenging for me unlike anywhere else.This particular trip was marked by an abundance of tunnels, the design of which was less than ideal. They appeared one after another, with speed limits that constantly fluctuated.
Despite the road conditions, Milan proved to be a delightful city, albeit plagued by relentless heat. We took time to visit the renowned Milan Cathedral, which was, without a doubt, the most impressive Cathedral we encountered in Italy. The expansive interior was breathtaking, evoking a profound sense of the sacred just by being inside.
We spent a night in Monza as I was eager to visit the Monza circuit, renowned for its F1 races. Unfortunately, the circuit was closed, leaving us with no opportunity to even glimpse the track from the outside.