Big Trip 2010: Verona & Cinque Terre

Saturday, August 21, 2010

So, we met a lot of rain on this leg of the trip. Not really what we had in mind when we were planning our trip to the Italian Riveria to hike through cliffs and jump into the Mediterranean.

Friday morning we packed up and headed out of Venice and took the train to Verona. We sat next to two Canadians who were on a 40 day honeymoon that started in Greece and was ending in London. They were also on their way to Cinque Terre and seemed like a lot of fun. “Maybe we’ll run into you!”

Verona was just a pit stop on our way to La Spezia (where we stayed while doing the Cinque Terre), so we dropped our luggage at the station and headed in. (For those of you new to Europe and trains, you can easily and inexpensively keep your luggage at the station while you go explore the city… We kept ours there all day and I think it cost us 4 euro for each suitcase)



556The Arena557An entrance with the Arena… 569 591606Verona is adorable, by the way. We kept saying it was a city we’d come back to sometime to just hang out for a week and pretend we’re Italian. There’s not a ton to see, but it’s a really cute, quaint city and great shopping (It seems like every city, no matter who big or small, has a Louis Vuitton, Armani, Gucci, Emilio Pucci…).

We just walked around from piazza to piazza, eating and perusing the markets. Among the sites, we visted Casa de Guilliette (Juliet’s house, as in Romeo & Juliette…because we were in Verona…get it?). It’s a total tourist trap, not a historical spot in any way, just a house with a balcony and inside it had memorabilia from different R & J movies made over the years. It was massively crowded and everyone had umbrellas, so it was not very enjoyable.

618623 637 650And back on the train…

Other highlights of Verona: climbing the Torre de Lamberti for a great view of the city, toured Castelvecchio (a castle turned museum), the Arena at the center of the town (very cool…like a mini Coliseum. I would have loved to stay for the opera that night), pizza and wine for lunch (This time, prosciutto, brie, and zucchini. Water is also just as expensive as a glass of wine, so we’ve been going for the wine (this will all change by Rome). I don’t know what I’m going to do when we get back to the states and I don’t have four square meals of prosciutto and wine everyday. (Probably lose a lot of weight.)

That afternoon we headed back to the train station and boarded our train for La Spezia (by way of a connection in Milan. Cue fiasco mentioned in the Paris post…). Because of the missed train, we didn’t get into La Spezia until 11 o’clock that night. Unbeknownst to us, our hotel was a 30 euro cab ride up to a little village at the top of a mountain (This added up quickly…). I was seriously worried for some time that our driver was just taking us off to show us his best Hannibal Lector skills.

Unfortunately, the rain followed us west to the coast and we woke up to rain and thunder on Saturday morning. I was seriously disappointed. Seriously. I had so looked forward to this part of the trip. We headed to Riogamiore anyway (with packed bathing suits….just in case). It turned out only the trail connecting Riogamiore and Manorola was open (the Via dell’Amour), so walked to the next village gripping our umbrellas. It was freezing. It was windy. It was raining. Hard.

I was not having fun.

Not only was I sorely disappointed in the day, I was highly uncomfortable. (Even our taxi driver in Florence said, “Yes, yesterday felt like November.” That’s just what you want it to feel like when you’re walking along cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, it’s raining, and you’re in shorts and sandals. November.) But enough complaining. We made the best of it and continued our journey to the next village via train. We had a great lunch in Corniglia, skipped Vernazza (we were getting tired by the fourth village… Even if you use the train, there’s still a good deal of walking and stairs in order to reach each village.). Monteresso is the last village (or the most northern one, anyway) and looked like it would be so fun if had been nice. Tons of beach chairs and little beach huts everywhere. We grabbed a gelato, but by this point it was lightening and thundering (a.lot.) and we decided to give up and head back to La Spezia…

Despite the weather, Cinque Terre is beautiful. The views were absolutely amazing and each little town was just so darn cute. Our favorite villages were the Ms: Manarola and Monterresso. [And we DID end up running into our Canadian friends, but we were headed in opposite directions. They did show us their GORGEOUS pictures of the previous day’s blue skies, green mountains, and crystal water.]005 006 The wind won that battle…

010 013 016 029038 054 075 079 We had dinner at the bottom of our hotel in La Spezia, which was fabulous—we shared a litre of vino bianco della cassa, I had tagliolini with salmon, Tyler had seabass ravioli w/ white pesto (he got an A+ in ordering that day), we shared tiramisu, and an appetizer called sgabei—fried, salted dough (it tasted like funnel cake without the sugar) with this soft cheese that looked like a dollop of sour cream but was much thicker and VERY tasty, with cured meats like prosciutto, salami, and other hams… It. Was. Divine. And the whole thing cost 38 euro.

I may or may have fallen asleep that night with the windows open, curtains billowing in the breeze, listening to the sounds of the small village below…and a walk through Britney Spears top 20 greatest music videos… I was excited to watch some American TV for awhile, okay? We also played this game that night called “We’re Getting Fat and Need to Work Out,” and the rules were that you had to run in place, dance, do lunges, sit-ups, squats, push-ups, you name it… We just had to move for 30 minutes straight. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall of our room because we looked ri-dic-u-lous. But hey, I’m not going to stop eating over here just because I’m getting a little soft in the middle…(And everywhere else…) We’re in Italy!

098The ceiling of our neat little room in La Spezia. 100Ciao La Rainia, La Spezia! Hello, Florence!

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