5 Cities in One Day...Child's Play

Monday, July 22, 2013
Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera, Italy
We had an early start, waking up at 6:20 AM. We needed to be on our train at 7:25AM. We got our bags packed, checked out, drank a tea, and made the 8 minute walk to the train station. Everything went accordingly and we boarded our train to La Spezia.

Today, we went to Cinque Terre . This is a group of 5 Italian cities in the mountains along the west coast of Italy. We took the train to La Spezia (not included in Cinque Terre), because they had a place to store our luggage and we also needed to take a train to Pisa this evening from the La Spezia station.

We arrived in La Spezia at 11:30 AM. After checking our bags at the luggage station, we found out more information about Cinque Terre. We needed to travel between each city (ranging from 3 to 5 minute by train), explore the city, and then return to La Spezia before 7 PM, to catch our train to Pisa.

We set off for the first city on our list, Riomajora . Arriving in the city around 12:10 PM, we were excited to explore our first of the five coastal cities. We grabbed a rough sketched ouline map and set out. We started out going the opposite direction of all the other tourists. We climbed a huge hill which overlooked the city, crossed the hill, and then came down on the tourist side of the village . This brought us down the main touristy street, and back through a tunnel cut through the mountain, to the train station. We caught the train to Monterosso at 1:30 PM.

This city was obviously the beach option of the cities. Before getting into the actual city, we passed a large stretch of beach area. This was full of tourists swimming, sunbathing, taking pictures, etc. We then passed through a tunnel into the old city exploring, and kind of looking for a pizza place. It was a small village (as all of them were), and we decided to wait on buying any pizza until the next city. We returned to the station and took the train around 2:20 PM to Vernazza.

Vernazza had one main street. At the end of the main street, there was an area to swim and there was a pizza place. We grabbed a couple pizzas to go and walked back up the street to find a place to sit and eat our pizzas. We found the perfect place on some benches outside of a souvenir store and next to a drinkable water fountain . We got the train to Corniglia around 3:30.

As soon as we got off the train, we did not see the city. Instead we saw a couple signs reading "city center," with an arrow. Of course, we followed the arrows and found ourselves once again walking next to the coast. After walking for a short time, we realized that we were walking toward a large mountain area, with stairs winding their way to the top. Of course, this village was sitting on the top of the mountain. We climbed the stairs to examine the wonderful panoramas of the city and the beach/ocean. This city had a few more intricate streets, a church to examine, a couple different “lookout” spots. We grabbed an ice cream on our way back down the mountain. We grabbed the train around 4:35 heading to Manarola.

Once again, this city had a main street. At the end of the street, it yielded a great view of a rocky bay and allowed us to see the city actually sitting on the cliffs. There were a lot of people swimming and jumping off of the large rocks in the bay area . We did not go swimming this time, but if we ever return, we will be jumping in! On our way down to this bay area, we took a slight detour off of the main road. We took some stairs straight up the mountain and wound up hiking through some bushes and really off-the-road areas. We kept continuing, until we realized that if we made one false step, we would fall all the way down the mountain. Since this was a little dangerous, we decided to turn back and headed back down to the main street. We took the train back to La Spezia at 5:50.

Arriving in La Spezia around 6:05, we realized that we could still get the 6:18 PM train to Pisa and arrive a little earlier than expected. We grabbed our bags and hurried to the train.

The ride went smoothly and we wound up in Pisa around 7:30 PM. We grabbed a Pizza Margherita and a water. Then, it was time to sleep. We are heading to Florence tomorrow!
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