So I'm gonna keep it going with my Italian adventures and highlight my time in Cinque Terre. What is Cinque Terre you say? It's literally the meaning of it's name- "five lands". Cinque Terre is made up of five colorful towns or villages that sit right next to each other along the Italian Riviera. You may have seen it's popular coastline before. It's beautiful to say the least but my time there wasn't quite so appealing.
(Before I begin on my series of unfortunate events, let me give you some informative information if you plan on visiting one day. There's a train that goes through all of the towns kind of like the metros and subways we have here, so transportation to each town is totally covered. The beaches (like most European beaches) are rocky beaches, so take water shoes if you plan on spending time at the beach.)
Now onto what not to do in Cinque Terre (or anywhere really). So my trip to Cinque Terre was a university trip with all the other study abroad students. We had the option to go hiking on a trail or spend the day at the beach. Being the mermaid and beach bum that I am, choosing a day at the beach was a no-brainer. My friend and I decided that grabbing drinks was first thing on the list, so after a couple of daiquiris and margaritas later, we headed to the beach. As soon as our feet touched the sand, we saw kayaks in the distance and decided to rent one. Mistake numero uno: Don't drink and kayak. I. Was. Miserable. Just as we paddled out to the middle of the ocean, everything hit me at once. The effects of the drinks were taking place. The sun felt like it was only five feet away, and my arms were already exhausted from paddling. I remember literally laying down in the kayak and contemplating taking a nap right there, in the middle of the ocean. If it wasn't for my fear of the tide taking us further out to sea or the fact that if Jaws approached us, he would totally win the battle, I would've remained laying in that little kayak, but we quickly sobered up and gathered up some energy to make it back to shore.
As soon as we were on dry land, it was nap-time for me. That was mistake number two: Don't sleep on the beach. I woke up with so many sand fly bites on the back of my thighs I could cry (in fact I did). I remembered seeing these little moth looking creatures flying around, but I thought they were totally harmless. Well I was wrong. That made my next week or so in Italy a nightmare (and it also took months to heal and for the scars to fade). I remember the bites itching so bad that I couldn't sleep. What made it worse was the fact that when I went to the local drug store, the lady had no idea what Benadryl was and due to the language barrier, it was hard for me to tell her what was going on so that she could assist me better. Luckily, my super intelligent roommate suggested that I write down the main ingredient in Benadryl and take it to the drug store so that they could find something with that same main ingredient. Thank God, and whoever developed it, that medical terminology is universal (oh, and thank my roommate too for being the little genius that she is).
All in all, despite my experience, Cinque Terre is gorgeous and definitely a go-to place at least once in a lifetime. If anything, Cinque Terre taught me some rule-of-thumb's to traveling that I hope you can take away too for all your traveling adventures.
Traveling Tip: Create a "travel first-aid kit" to take with you whenever you travel. Sure that's one more thing you have to figure out how to fit into your suitcase but it will come in handy if a drugstore doesn't happen to be nearby or if you don't understand the language of where you're visiting well enough to navigate around a drugstore yourself. In addition to basic first-aid items, make sure your travel first-aid kit also has allergy medication, sting/bite creams, cold/cough/flu medicine, motion-sickness aids, and gastrointestinal meds.