Wednesday, 16 April 2014

7 Days of Italy: The Italian Riviera

From Rome, our Italian journey continued to Cinque Terre which means ‘5 Lands’. Often appearing in online list of places to visit in the world, Cinque Terre is really a gem of the Italian Riviera.

Our journey from Roma Termini began with a tout who acted to help us find our train coach. Since train stations in the UK had ticket barriers, we had an assumption that the tout was a train station staff and accepted his help. How stupid! Once we got onto the train, he was waiting to be paid. Lucky for us, the train was about to leave and he had to get off. As mean as it sounds, thank you for the help but I am not paying for services I didn’t request for. Lesson learnt; never let strangers try to help you.

It was a scenic three and half hour ride to La Spezia with lush greenery on both side of the train. Arriving at La Spezia, we took the local train to Manarola, our base for the next 2 days. Unfortunately for us, the scenic coastal path is closed and our initial plan to hike had to be amended. The remainder of the day was rather gloomy with occasional showers. Definitely not the best weather to be in the national park.

Riomaggiore on a gloomy evening

Our hearty pasta meal! Amazing seafood pasta.

Day 4 of our 7 days of Italy started off with a hearty quick bite from the pizzeria below our apartment. Honestly, any take away pizzeria in Italy at the very least matches the standard of Pizza Hut. Our visit to the 5 villages started off with Monterosso, the highest landing point of Cinque Terre.

Ready made pizza for only €2.50 per slice

Our day continued to Vernazza, the village nearest to the sea. When the great flood hit Cinque Terre in 2011, Vernazza suffered a great damage. With a great sea view, we had lunch in a seaside trattoria which the weirdest lasagna was served to us.

Written in the menu as Lasagna with 3 fish and leek - Which part of this looks like a lasagna?
Day 4 - second gelato dose
The best snack - fried seafood mix
With a visit to Corniglia and finally Riomaggiore, our exploration of the 5 villages were complete. Ending the day at Riomaggiore, it was a fulfilling day which ended with a breathtaking sunset; watching the golden sun sink slowly into the horizon of the sea. Whilst waiting for the sun to set, we met a fellow traveler and it was a fun evening spent exchanging views on places and culture.

The golden sun from Riomaggiore marina
Riomaggiore all lit up after sunset

Leaving on the morning train to Pisa on Day 5, there wasn’t much time to explore Cinque Terre further. Being in a national park, it was a wasted opportunity to not have time to hike one of its many trails. With its quaint villages, friendly people and cheap seafood, it is a place not to be missed in Italy!

No comments:

Post a Comment