Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cinque Terre | Day two in Italy

Italy is full of magical places.
Florence is magical in it's own way
being the birthplace of the renaissance and all.

But on Thursday we left Florence in the dust
and headed to one of the most beautiful places in Italy,
Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of Coast on
the Italian Riviera.

That right there should wet your appetite
enough to look into this amazing place.

It's located in the Liguria region to the west of La Spezia.

I'll tell you all about our day trip to Cinque Terre while also
giving out travel tips on how we got there and how you can too.

Our day started early, like early early, 6am early.
We needed to be at S.M Novella station by 7:15 to catch
our train that was leaving at 7:45.

[From Florence you will get the train to La Spezia Centrale]

We sat at a McDonalds in the station and ate fries for breakfast
because they didn't have hash browns...Fries were the next best thing.
And I'd be lying if I said eating fries for breakfast upset me.

We caught our train and settled in for a 2 hour ride to La Spezia.

[For the two of us it cost 50 euro to get round trip tickets to La Spezia and back]
[Don't try driving to Cinque Terre as you cannot actually drive into the towns]
[Only residents are allowed cars so park it at a station and take a train]

We arrive at La Spezia Centrale and instantly see a line
going into these doors with s sign above saying Cinque Terre Point.

Don't be fooled into thinking that once you're in La Spezia
that you're in Cinque Terre, because you're not.

[La Spezia Centrale is the hub for all of the trains going into Cinque Terre.]

Also, Cinque Terre is not just one town but 5.
Cinque - 5 | Terre - Towns
5 Towns.

It took me a while to understand that...

So What happens is you'll get into the Cinque Terre line
and once you get to the ticket counter you'll buy a cinque Terre 5 town pass.
It cost 12 euro each and it gets you a day pass to ride
the trains to and from any of the towns.

It also gets you into other stuff that i'll go into later.

[Buy the pass and go get on the next train to Cinque Terre.]

This is how Cinque Terre is set up...

[The first stop from La Spezia is Riomaggiore.
You don't have to get off there but you can if you like.
You can get off and on at any station you like,
go see the town and then move onto the next one.]

Tom and I decided before we came that we wanted to visit Monterosso Al Mare
for the majority of the day because it was beachy and we wanted to catch some rays.

So we headed off to Monterosso.
Monterosso is absolutely gorgeous.
Once we got there we walked around a bit 
and got some yummy lunch with an amazing view.

After lunch we just went down to the beach and caught a little sun.
The beach is not soft and sandy but it's not rocky and uncomfortable either.
We both really enjoyed the beach and there are chairs and umbrellas to rent
if laying on a towel in the sand isn't your thing.

Here are some pictures from our couple of hours in Monterosso.

Next stop is Vernazza.
We hop back on a train going towards La Spezia
but we get off at the next town called Vernazza.

I knew of Vernazza from pictures.
You walk up to a high point and are able to
get a photo of the town with all of the colorful houses
and the water in the center.

I knew we had to go high up but the hike up that hill
put our previous day in florence to shame.

Hiking...again??? Oy!
Plus I was wearing a maxi skirt.
You better believe I hiked that skirt up and tucked it in
at the waist, turned my maxi into a knee length.

It was wet and muddy plus my keds and tom's sandals
made for an interesting little hike.

We didn't initially know where to go to get this picture
but we saw some stairs and some people walking up them
and just decided to do it and luckily we were right.

To get up to a good spot to take the magical photo
you have to act as if you're hiking back to Monterosso.

See, all of the towns are connected by hiking trails.
We prefer the comfort of a train.

Anyways, we start hiking up but we got to a point
where they were checking tickets or selling tickets.

This is where your 5 terre pass comes in handy.
People who don't buy the pass have to buy a ticket before going up.
If you have the pass they'll just let you through.

So we keep walking until we felt we had found a good spot for this picture.
Isn't it just so beautiful!!!

This hike up was hard and to be honest we could have kept walking up
to find an even better spot for the picture but this girl and her baby lungs
were just about ready to collapse so we stopped.

But i'm so happy with our pictures from Vernazza, it's such 
a wonderful part of Cinque Terre.

We skipped Corniglia for time's sake so I can't vouch for that town
but i'm sure it was just as enchanting as the rest.

Next stop was Manarola.
The colorful houses on the hill in Manarola
seem to be one of the most popular images of Cinque Terre.

When I saw the image online that's what made me look into it more
and that image is initially what made us come to Cinque Terre.

So knowing that I now have my very own personal copy 
of this place is pretty exciting to me.

We were on a time crunch in Manarola so we
hurried to the spot to take some magical photos
and then we ate some yummy homemade pasta from
a little restaurant nearby, got some gelato and headed back to La Spezia.

I can't say enough nice things about Cinque Terre.
It's one of my favorite places in the whole wide world and
I am so happy that Tom and I got to explore it for a day.

At around 7pm we hopped back on our train at La Spezia and
made it back to Florence by 9pm, we changed clothes and went out
for some late night pizza on the road where our Hostel was at.

The day really could not have gone smoother.

I know you can stay in Cinque Terre
if you don't want to stay somewhere like Florence.

But you should book way in advance as the summer months
are going to be CRAZY busy.

I would stay in Florence or an outside city just because
I feel like you'll have more choices of where to stay but that's just me.

If you have any logistical questions about Cinque Terre email me and I'd love to
to help you plan a trip out there or just answer any questions you might have.

I can't wait to go back one day!! :)

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