Crikey intern Jasmin Pfefferkorn writes: Cinque Terre is a set of five World Heritage listed villages, linked by a trail that takes you through vineyards and olive orchards as you stop off in each town for sustenance (Read: gelato or wine. Or both.) The trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola is the most famous section of the track and is called the Via Dell’Amore, which translates as ‘Lover’s Walk’ or ‘Lovers Lane’.

I’ve been to Cinque Terre a couple of times now. The first time I went, I was convinced that I had stumbled across a relatively undiscovered Italian paradise.

Looking down on Vernazza, the fourth village (going north) in Cinque Terre

When peers were coming back from over-crowded venues like Florence and Rome, I was basking on the quiet (concrete) shores of the Mediterranean.

It felt glorious to be the holder of this ‘secret’ place and I was understandably smug. Unfortunately, I always feel the need to proclaim my brilliance to those around me. Since I have blabbed on the source of my August tan, I have been forced to see photos of my private sanctuary plastered all over Facebook with tags like “thanks for the tip Jaz!” If that didn’t irk me enough, these are usually followed by the line “having the time of my life!” It’s like they’re squirting lemon juice on a cut housed on my retina. That’s how much my eyes burn when I read those taglines.

I went back last year, convinced that my memory of Vernazza had not been tarnished by my friend Natasha’s tacky photos of her drinking limoncello. Or Megan’s photos of walking along the Cinque Terre ‘Lovers Lane’. Or Elizabeth’s photos lazing about in the magnificent aqua waters.

But every where I looked, there they were. In the form of other tourists, doing ridiculously touristy things and looking completely, totally, like… me. The first time I ever came here.

The stunning Mediterranean waters… Tip: Befriend someone who owns a yacht ASAP.
The stunning Mediterranean waters… Tip: Befriend someone who owns a yacht ASAP.

They were doing the exact same things I did, partaking in the same activities. Taking ‘artistic’ photos of pastel houses. Looking at the view from a 15th century castle called ‘Doria’. Prancing about on pasty, un-Italian legs. Hanging out in the shade of the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia. Drinking wine and making friends with all the locals. Eating all the biscotti at ones fingertips.

And I thought to myself: I am a twat. Here I am, laying claim to a beautiful place that I in no way possess. And whingeing about other people’s enjoyment of it.

So as redemption, I offer to you — dear Crikey readers — my favourite vacation destination: The small fishing village of Vernazza in North-Western Italy.

Me, atop of the castle Doria, watching for pirate ships.

And I’ll offer my thanks in advance to everyone who travels there. Your stories and photos will give me the chance to relive the wide-eyed wonder of my first visit.

Don’t be selfish. Post your favourite ‘secret’ travel destinations below.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey