Life Is Better With Pesto According To Backpack Italy!

Ciao Familia,

Waking up in the small town of La Spezia, to the sights and sound of the local villagers beginning their daily routine as they opened their shops and food markets gave us a sense of excitement for the exploring we had in store for today.

We were all well rested after our travel from the USA to Milan and then via train to La Spezia. Or first dinner was at a quaint family owned restaurant in La Spezia where we watched the hustle and bustle of this busy little restaurant and worked together to translate the handwritten menus from Italian to English. Ben was there to help translate, thank goodness for those Italian classes! The food was AMAZING and enough to feed an army, between the pastas, seafood, meat and pizza we had to roll our way down the street for our first Gelato experience.

Thursday we took the local train to Cinque Terre. Our trip members took charge and made sure we all purchased tickets and got on the correct train to make our way to Corniglia, one of the five villages, where we began a trek along the sea coast. The path was challenging at times but rewarded us with breathtaking views of the sea and villages. Even with the trails many ups and downs, Jesse was using his paparazzi skills to capture every moment on his camera.  Along the way we learned about the history of Cinque Terre and the people who have been living there for over two thousand years!

Backpack Italy

We arrived in Vernazza, another village, where we stopped for lunch and Zach, Josh, Brad and Brandon explored the local cuisine as they shared a plate of octopus! It was very delicious.

Meanwhile Amanda, Kelli, and Tyler were spotted eating “the best sandwich ever” at a small rustic sandwich shop along the Main Street of Corniglia.

After getting our fitness fix with the hike and then a leisurely lunch, we were ready to hit the beach for a relaxing afternoon of swim, sand and sun.  Zoe and Sophie made a mad dash for the kayak rental hut where they made friends with the local shop owner.

After a well deserved dip Owen took advantage of the ultimate way to relax when he discovered the message therapists that stroll up and down the beach providing messages for the beach goers.

Meanwhile Samantha, David, Kelli and Amanda took a scenic walk along the beach to check out ancient statues that had been carved into massive rocks thousands of years ago.

PESTO……PESTO……PESTO…..Did you know that Cinque Terre is famous for it’s pesto???? Well we did a taste test and let’s just say they know exactly what they are doing, it was delicious.

Sights, food, beach, gelato, sights, food, gelato, food, gelato= Italian Heaven!

On our way Venice…Ciao!

The Westcoast Blogger

Yasou From Greece! – Backpack Greece

Dear parents,

Yasou from Greece! The ferry arrived and we made our way to the quaint beach town of Sivota. Restaurants with comfy chairs line the harbor and many of us relaxed as we watched the boats coming in and out. We walked to our first beach of the summer to swim in the turquoise waters. That night, trip members had the opportunity to watch the sunset from the docks, and a large group played some beach volleyball that night at the hotel.

The next morning was perfect for a kayak trip to a beach across the water. Eli chose to man a single kayak and went for a quick swim in the sea along the way. At the beach, our guides gave us fresh watermelon to snack on before our return trip while Jack and others skipped the smooth rocks on the shore. Lydia and Rachel paddled with ease and reached the shore first on the way back. Later that afternoon we tried tubing, which was instantly a hit on the sea with the majestic Greek mountains behind us. One tube had room for 4 people, and Dan bravely stood up at one point for a more exhilarating ride. That night we checked out the neighboring town of Parga for a sunset dinner.

Next we were off to the mountains. We stopped in Ionnanna to wander through a fortress and ferry to a nearby island. Sascha, Victoria, Kalee and Renee purchased batches of the local baklava but finished it soon after. In the mountains of Monodendri we visited the enormous and breathtaking Vikros gorge and still-in-use ancient bridges.

The mountains served as a fitting landscape for our first rafting experience. We paddled down the aqua river, hit some rapids, and swam in the waters along the way.  After rafting we found the Popingo lakes. Water cascaded into these natural lakes and some of us went for a swim amidst the waterfalls. Eli, Jack, Casey, Gab, Emily and Dylan climbed rocks around the pools and found a wall of cool, refreshing mud. A mud fight was inevitable, and soon enough, mud was everywhere!
Backpack Greece goes Rafting
Stay tuned for a forthcoming update on our amazing time exploring the Greek mainland, which has been more mountainous and full of yummy foods and kind people than we ever could have imagined.

Thanks again for letting us get to know your amazing children!

The Westcoast Blogger

WCC Trip Featured on the Jumbotron at Seattle Mariners Game – Northwestern Odyssey

Northwestern Odyssey checks in from Seattle. Hello again! As we write this it’s our final evening in Seattle before we shift gears and hit the road for our next adventure in Canada. It has been a fantastic couple of days since we traveled from Mt. Hood. Let us tell you why… On Sunday, our first […]