Italy - Day 7 - Florence to Cinque Terre

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September 20th 2012
Published: September 30th 2012
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Thursday morning we woke up to say goodbye to Florence and begin our last adventure: Cinque Terre. Continuing our learning experience from the run to the Rome station, we left at a decent hour. We walked along the streets of Florence to the agency to drop off the key and head to the train station: Santa Maria Novella. Gwosh had got the train tickets the previous evening, so we were all set.

Along the way, we walked behind a woman walking her West Highland Terrier (Westie). I started laughing as did Gwen. The previous day during our vespa tour, there was a Westie at the first stop and Josh didn't like it - "Those things are viscious!" Well, my parents have one and she is by far the sweetest dog in the entire world as is every other one I've seen, not to mention they're like 15 pounds, so seeing self-proclaimed "Bad-Ass" Josh being afraid of a Westie was one of the highlights of my trip. VPT - please use this against him!

Anyway, we get to the train station and we still have time for food. There was a McDonald's but we decided to take a look at the cafe next door. Only it was not a cafe; it kept going and going. There was a coffee and pastry counter, pre-packaged sandwiches and such in another area, as well as a separate area like a cafeteria where you could select the foods you wanted and they had so many choices! Plus plenty of room to sit and relax. Gwen and I actually didn't like our pasta mush thing, but Josh's beef stew thing was delicious. AND we each had a beer. 😊 The best was Gwen let out a not-so-little belch and the people at the next table turned to look, causing me to crack up until she realized they were looking at her. Then we all laughed.

The train ride to La Spezia was pretty uneventful, we got to sit with each other and relax. We had decided beforehand not to attempt Pisa because you just take a photo and leave. We tried so hard to see it from the train but were unable to. Dang. At La Spezia we booked our train to Riomaggiore and were ready as soon as it pulled into the station. Oh yes, covered in Graffitti. As soon as it was
Outside Train stationOutside Train stationOutside Train station

Santa Maria Novella
unloaded, we hopped on, as did everyone else. It was only there for 10 minutes. While we sat, the guy who cleaned the trains opened the door from the next car, looked at us in anger and started ranting in Italian. We had NO idea why he was so mad. People were getting on all over the train and it's not we were in the way or anything. It was still empty. Josh and I contemplated leaving gum on the seats but we like to keep it classy.

It was 8 minutes to Riomaggiore and you get to drive through extensive tunnels until - bam! You're there. We hopped off and proceeded through the pedestrian tunnel, per the instructions from the hostel, La Dolce Vita. We found the first place pretty easily and walked up countless steps to the room I'd booked for Gwosh. The woman was very friendly and helpful. The lady told me I could stay too, but I wanted to give them privacy and I had already booked a room anyway. But their place was very nice! They even had a kitchen! And a terrific view! I know where I will recommend a future booking. It is not really a hostel, more like apartments scattered throughout the city.

The lady and Josh walked back down with me and we found where my hostel, Mar Mar, had their check in. Quite the contrast from the first friendly woman; the woman who checked me in was all business and said she knew Josh was carrying my bag but he was NOT allowed into the hostel. She showed us to the room, letting him come in to dump off my bag, and there were signs of rules posted all over the place: "No bed hopping!" "Wash your dishes!" "Take your key!". Very different from the first place. But still not a bad spot - I got my bed and a view and it was a cozy place. And definitely a hostel.

We decided to meet in a couple of hours and explore then get dinner. So we met and took photos of the city, and walked to a nearby "beach" which was more like a cove with lots of rounded rocks. Very pretty though. For dinner we tried a few places by the sea but they were all reserved, so we wound up at a nice little restaurant just past the tracks. La Lanterna I think. The wait staff was very friendly, especially the older gentleman. The food was pretty good; we weren't blown away but we all liked what we got. Even though Gwen wanted pizza and it was not availble - she did not have good luck this trip with ordering foods; almost everything she ordered the first time was not available, especially the tiramisus. Fortunately, tiramisu was available at this place and we all decided on getting a dessert. Josh, of course, got the cheesecake and the waiter correctly guessed that I wanted to try the panna cotta with chocolate. Oh. My. God. DELICIOUS! By far the best desserts we have had and the perfect end to the day!

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