After a lovely time in Venice, Joel and I took our pizza filled bellies to the train station to head to the western side of Italy. We knew we wanted to visit the beautiful villages that make up Cinque Terre, but to save some money we followed Joel’s sister’s advice and stayed in the much more accessible, metropolitan city of La Spezia (at this sweet airbnb with the nicest hosts). When we arrived at the station in La Spezia, we had trouble using the kiosk to buy our tickets to both Cinque Terre and to Nice for the next leg of our trip. Come to find out, Trenitalia workers were on strike for the rest of our time in Italy. NBD, we’d just have to get creative in the transportation department. No trains? No problem.
There was a pamphlet in our room that advertised taking a boat to Cinque Terre, so early in the morning we set off. Sounds easy, right? Well, we were staying on the side of a mountain, with no Uber or Lyft available, and the marina was miles away so how would we get to where we needed to go? THE BUS, OF COURSE! Oh, if you ever have the opportunity to take a bus in small town Italy, do it! Joel and I were by far the youngest people on the number 12… picture a bus filled with your grandparents and all of their friends bonding and speaking Italian. Sooooo freaking cute. We gave up our seats to an elderly couple and I will never forget the look of genuine gratitude the woman gave me while she squeezed my hand!
After Google Maps took us to an office building instead of the boat we needed to be on, I was ready to throw in the towel and hop back on the bus with the adorable old people and play BINGO or bridge or whatever. But the marina was just across the street so we paid the 20 euro for our round trip tickets and were on our way!
The boat did not go to all five towns like was advertised, but only to the first and last of the five towns. We got dropped off at the furthest town, Montessoro, and had to swim to shore. Just kidding, there was a ramp…
Montessoro- the town with the best beach.
After finding out the seaside trails that link the towns had been closed due to construction since 2011, we decided to check out the train station just to see if any trains were running despite the strike. No harm in trying! 5 minutes later we were in transit to Manorola.
Manorola- the perfect pastel town that you see in most pictures when you look up “Cinque Terre”.
I find feline friends in all the cities I travel to. That, in and of itself, could be its own blog post.
We walked down to the sea and saw people jumping into the freezing cold Mediterranean. I wanted to do it too! Me, my hair extensions, and 4 other American tourists cannon balled right in. Freaking amazing.
I mean….. HOLY SHIT, RIGHT?! So stunning.
I pretended to be disappointed when we couldn’t find a way to access the hiking trail to the next town. “Ohhhh man, I really really wanted to do that hike… Oh well, wanna get gelato? “is what I was saying to Joel when we were overheard by a couple who had just completed said hike. “Just start on those steps over there and they’ll take you over the mountain. Be careful, though, it gets pretty steep and the steps kind of disappear” the man told us. “OH WOW THANK YOU SO MUCH” I said while giving him a death stare behind my Ray Bans.
Alright, let’s do this shit…
Just when I thought I couldn’t take another step up that freakin’ mountain, I was passed up by a 6 year old…. It’s only a quarter of a mile, but when I reached the top I kissed the ground and my sweaty husband. Then we made our way to Riomaggiore, the last of the 5 towns we’d be visiting, and the promise of gelato.
Going down was much easier (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID) than up, but we still had to take it slow and watch our footing. One slip meant certain death, and I was still not into the idea of dying on my honeymoon.
Riomaggiore- the town with the red house, gelato, boats, and beer.
3 out of 5 isn’t a bad amount. We’ll get you next time, Vernazza and Corniglia! This was the most adventurous and exhausting part of our trip, but so absolutely worth it.
Our boat picked us up in Riomaggiore to take us back to La Spezia. Here, we had pizza at two different places in a row before taking the bus home to watch our favorite Italian game show for the last time….