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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Accidentally Wearing Tank Tops Provided A Fun Photo-Opp – Backpack Europe

Let’s see what going on with Backpack Europe!


The Westcoast Blogger

To the Parents of Trip #50,


Why hello there, it’s us again giving a little update about our backpacking trip!


We’ve been having a blast and particularly enjoyed our first stop in Italy where we stayed in La Spezia but visited all five villages of Cinque Terra. If you’ve talked to your son/daughter, you probably know when we say “visited” we mean we literally hiked along a beautiful trail along the coast between all five, stopping in each! This was definitely a highlight for the group – to feel the accomplishment of 12 miles of walking, Whitney and Devyn in particular mentioned how great it felt to finish it. The mountains jutting down into the blue ocean was enough to blow you away, but to travel on the trail made it all the more meaningful.


One of the days we also went to the Cinque Terra village of Monterosso, the best beach village. A lot of us grabbed our first piece of Italian pizza while at the beach catching rays (yum!). Sarah, Emily, and Bethany took relaxation to a whole other level by purchasing a massage from a local woman and Brandon, Sam, Alex, Whitney, Gary and Jamie caught their rays even closer to the water by choosing beach chairs without umbrellas to have a more sun-fun experience. Judah and Daniel successfully played Frisbee along the shore not once loosing the Frisbee among the crashing waves.  Many of us took the opportunity to do some of that coveted summer beach reading.


Although the beach is a highlight of any vacationer, Vernazza is the village that probably left the greatest impression. A fishing village that we took the train to one evening became the ‘dinner of the trip’ for Devyn, Benny, Abby F., Dan R., Judah, Polly and Bethany. In Devyn’s words, they got a soup filled with a smorgashboard of seafood and it was insane with 3 giant shrimp (which everyone got a particular amusement of Bethany’s reaction to the full-bodied shrimp, having to ask the waiter how to eat those large almost lobster-like in their presentation, shrimp). She also had the best pesto ever in her life. Her group even met and enjoyed conversation with their chef – and all of this was at a restaurant on the rocks overlooking the ocean. Even Sam who ate with her usual group of friends said this evening included a particularly “romantic” sunset dinner as the restaurant her group chose was along the shore and they could watch the sun setting over the water as they ate.


Well enough on our stay in La Spezia, we also had a great stay in Florence as well — visiting museums (saw the David!!), getting a walking tour of some of the city, peering down into the river, cooking our own Italian food (your son/daughter will be getting the recipes so this is a good opportunity for you to ask them to cook an authentic Italian meal for you when they return home). Shopping in the leather markets is clearly standout enjoyment for everyone as well, but just ask Abby H., Sam, Michelle, or a few of the boys about their deals/finds and you’ll understand even further what makes finding that perfect jacket, jewelry, t-shirt, or boxer shorts a highlight.

If you’re cruising through the pictures from Florence and wondering why there’s a picture with Jamie, Annica, Michelle, Abby F., Bethany, and Polly in things that look like blue sheets this is because to visit the Duomo your shoulders, etc. must be covered as respect for the church (so accidentally wearing a tank top on this day provided a fun photo-opp). Another fun thing to look for in the pictures is Michael’s classic peace-sign that he gives in many shots.

It has been amazing to see the great friendships that were made in only two weeks! We can’t wait to see what new ones will bud in our remaining days to come!!

We’ll be in touch soon, but for now we’re going to start enjoying the region of Umbria.

Ciao (Goodbye in Italian),

 Trip Backpack Europe Crew