Finally on track, I took a deep breadth, decided to put the awful morning behind me and have a good day. The towns were each really beautiful. Ive heard people compare Cinque Terre to the Amalfi Coast, and I would have to agree that it is very similar, but Cinque Terre just seems a little more untouched, as if it has yet to be discovered by the masses. There was a fair amount of tourists in each of the towns, but nothing close to Amalfi Coast. My favorite of the 5 towns would have to be Manarola, followed by Corniglia. Manarola was a beautiful seaside town with excellent cliff jumping spots. There is an area right off of town where you have to pay to swim, but if you follow the path further round the coast there are plenty of spots to swim and relax and cliff jump for free. I am proud to say that I did go cliff jumping, but I also have to admit that the cliff was not very high at all. I guess I'm not that brave. The water was crystal clear all the way to the bottom, which was incredibly deep in some areas, and the perfect temperature in the sweltering summer heat.
Corniglia also had a marina to swim in, but the more interesting part was the town high above the waves, teetering serenely on a cliff edge. You have to walk A LOT of steps to get to the town from the train station, but it is totally worth the effort. The town has a real local feel to it, even though you can see hints of where it has been touched by the tourist market. The people of the town are just so friendly as they go about their daily activities.
There was not much to see in Vernazza, aside from shops and restaurants, but I did take a nice hike, again up many many steps to a lookout point that I am guessing most people do not venture to. The view from the top was absolutely stunning.
I didn't spend much time in either of the bookend cities of Riomaggiore or Monterosso, but I don't mind because they seemed to be the most touristy ones. I would have liked a little more time in Monterosso, but I actually made it there just in time to catch the last train of the day back to Florence. I am glad that I made the trip to Cinque Terre, but I do wish everything hadn't been so screwed up from the get-go, which would have made the day much more pleasant and relaxing. Who knows, maybe I will get the chance to visit again with some friends and have a great time.