Thursday, July 3, 2003

2003 July 3-4, Europe--Cinque Terre


Starting in Prague (to start at the beginning, click here PRAGUE ) we then went to Ronchamp, Geneva,  then Rome.  Next in our stops of our mother/daughter 2 week European vacation was Cinque Terre.  Only spent 1 night there, but it was well worth the "trouble"!

July 3, 2003:

Last breakfast at the Golden Tulip. After 3 busy days in and around Rome, we were hitting the rails again. Now we were on to Cinque Terre (5 villages). I had come across pictures of this area while searching the web months earlier and was awed by it's beauty. Some of Angie's friends had talked about it, too, so we decided it was a place we wanted to check out. So I had made reservations for one night here, too---in RioMaggiore, one of the 5 villages.
It took another half day to get there with a couple stops and switching of trains.   At one point it looked like the mountains had snow on them, but we were told it is actually where white italian marble is mined from.


It was interesting riding on all the different trains. This one had a cute little snack car which we spent quite a bit of time in. Loved the seats facing the windows.

The little villages were a nice break from the cities we had been in---much more peaceful and laid back. Plus they had a totally different kind of beauty. Cars weren't allowed in this area, except for business vehicles, the street were narrow, lots of narrow alleys, pastel painted buildings, little shops everywhere, laundry hanging from clothes lines outside windows, steep hills and steps, and beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea with waves breaking over boulders of marble.



Finding our B and B was a little tricky. The directions said to go through a tunnel and turn left and go up to #34 on the steps. The beautifully landscaped street was quite steep and long. Half way up, we started wondering if I had the right directions. So Angie stayed with the luggage and I went on to find the room. The section it was on was so steep that they did build steps. I found the room, nothing fancy, but it was clean and comfortable.

After going back down to get Angie and our luggage, we unloaded and started walking around town some more.  Then we decided to train on to Montarosso and swim, so back to the room we went to change into swimsuits and back down to the train station we went.
After a short wait for the train at a stop overlooking the water,

we were back on a train heading to another of the 5 villages.

The first beach was packed with people, but it was a pay beach.
Walking through Montorroso



We continued on until we finally found the public beach. It was rocky and the water was rough and murky, but it felt good.
Eventually we trained back to our village and walked up to the top of the town.  Views from there were spectacular.




 As the sun began to set, we went to our room to change for dinner. Most places were closed by then, so we ended up back near our room. We even ran into some more "kids" that we kept running into in Rome. Even chatted with them for an hour or so.

After dinner, we walked back down to the marina to look at the water at night.

Back up at the room, we were ready to rest again.

July 4:
We were up and at breakfast (bread and jelly again) by 9. We checked out and left our luggage there while we ran around RioMaggiori a little more.  There are walking trails between the 5 villages and we had planned to walk a bit of them, but it turned out there was a fee for most of it.

We didn't have much time, so we just walked the free area and marveled at the water, the flowers and cactus, and buildings stacked on top of each other.
Also loved all the pastel colors in the little towns.

Then we sat for awhile and watched some bar employees bring in decorations for 4th of July---in France. I guess they get a lot of American tourists there.
We grabbed lunch nearby---pasta with pesto this time. I looked forward to getting some of the sweet wine that area is known for, but they were out of it. So we tried Grappo and Lemoncini---yuck!
Then it was back to collect our luggage---all 5 pieces of it (Angie had sent one suitcase back to Chicago with her roommate, but still had a bunch more from her 5 month stay in Prague. I just had 2 carry on pieces. We were washing clothes in the bathtubs at night).
We caught the train about 4pm and rode the train to LaSpazia and connected with a train to Genova. Then on to Milan to catch a sleeper train to Barcelona. We arrived in Milan about 7 and our sleeper arrived at 7:30. Soon we were on our way again. We had to pay another sleeper supplement, but by having first class tickets we were able to get private sleeper cars made for 2 people.

Others had to share cars with bunks for 6 people. We were able to lock our door and wander the train without worrying about our stuff. The supplement was high at 98 Euro @, but many hotels would have been that much, too. So we settled in for our 13 hour trip. We were even given little travel packs with soap, sewing kit, comb, ... . I didn't sleep well, but it felt good to rest my increasingly weary legs.

Breakfast the next morning in the restaurant car was included in the price of the supplement.

To continue on to Barcelona with us, click here: BARCELONA

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