Monterosso – the pearl of the Cinque Terre

We had a full day of travel on Friday 30 August from St Moritz to the Cinque Terre in Italy.

Ed was so helpful with my bag throughout the day and demonstrated his strength and willpower when he carried one 20kg bag in each hand up hundreds of steps to arrive at our guesthouse in Monterosso.

We called out ‘Manuel!’ at the top of the stairs and were greeted by Lorenzo and his beautiful father Giovanni.

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Giovanni was spellbinding in his unwavering patience, generosity, humility and kindness and made our four night stay at Manuel’s Guesthouse memorable beyond words. He welcomed us into his home and touched our hearts.

I woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and was blown away by the view from our bedroom when I pulled aside the curtains.

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After enjoying a cup of tea on the terrace with Giovanni we returned to our room for a second attempt at Skype sessions with our families.

First up were Ed’s parents and the poor things had to wait about half an hour before Ed finally let slip that he had proposed to me in Switzerland and that we were going to get married! They were both so excited for us and had also been holding a bottle of chilled champagne at the ready (off-camera) in the hope that we would be announcing our engagement that day!

Next up was my family, in particular my ‘all grown up’ sister who was celebrating her 18th birthday! We wished her many happy returns and also announced our engagement to my Nan who nearly fell off her chair in surprise.

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We spent the afternoon cheek to cheek with other tourists on the ‘free’ beach at Monterosso and popped in and out of the sparkling blue water to cool off.

On Sunday morning we set off to explore Italy’s dramatic coastline.

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Our host had informed us that the path between Monterosso and Levano would be open (others along the 9km Blue Trail were closed due to recent landslides) and we should have known better when we reached a collapsed bridge at the start of the trail …

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Instead, we decided to rock climb down the cliff face, walk along the beach and attempt to climb back up to the path through the landslide area. When we saw a ropes course ahead we decided our safety was more important than the thrill of swinging through the trees and we returned home via safer paths.

Thirsty for a drink in the evening we sat out on the terrace with a glass of Cinque Terre bianco (white) and rosso (red) in hand.

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