Today was a long day of sitting in hot trains with screaming babies. We boarded our train to La Spezia and it took about 3 hours to get there. The cool thing though is that we passed through the marble cutting region of Italy, so we got to see all of the mountains used for marble (they looked like the Dolomites).
As soon as we arrived in La Spezia, I knew already that I loved it. I could hear the seagulls calling to each other the second I stepped out of the train station and the weather was so gorgeous. We went to the hotel, which was built in the 1800s, put our baggage down, drank some water, and started our trek around Cinque Terre. On our way to Vernazza, the 4th Terre, my eye started itching and it got extremely red and swollen… and five minutes in, the same thing happened to my lip. We went to the farmacia in Vernazza and apparently I had an allergic reaction to the water… no more tap for me. I’m fine now though thank God!
Vernazza was absolutely amazing, but there were so many people. We stopped for a bite to eat at the bottom of the hill next to the ocean and I had my favorite, pasta alle vongole. The ocean was turquoise, clear, and warm. After lunch we squeezed through the crowds and got back on the train to Monterosso. Monterosso is more of a beach town with hundred of beach chairs and umbrellas laid out. We did not have our swim suits, so we just got back on the train since it was so hot. We decided to hit one more before going back to La Spezia, and that was Corniglia. There was a nice hiking trail, but we were by no means in any condition to march to the top of the cliff and then walk for an hour and a half in the sun. Instead, we decided to get something to drink and hop on the train back to La Spezia.
I thought that Cinque Terre was really nice, but there were just so many people. If you ever want travel here, avoid the Summer because it is extremely packed with tourists. The towns are so small and they aren’t built for so many people. Nevertheless, the food was still incredible and the sights were still magnificent, or sensational as our Australian friend said about some 10€ gelato in Firenze.
I definitely liked La Spezia more than Cinque Terre, I think mostly because it is most similar to San Diego. There is a sea breeze, it is next to the mountains, the buildings are relatively new yet European, and there is a huge sense of community. Our dinner was absolutely spectacular. We ate a restaurant called La Nuova Spezia and it was probably some of the best seafood that I have ever had in my life. We ordered stuffed anchovies, fried mixed seafood, verdura, mussels, caprese salads, and pesce del forno. I was nearly in tears from the beauty of it all. A group of old Italian men at a table in the other room pulled out guitars and accordions and started playing old Italian songs, one of them even sang opera. The entire restaurant joined them in song, even the dog! Sara tip: this is the reason you always need to eat at local spots.
We took our evening passeggiata back to our archaic hotel and called it a night. Once I get back home, some life style changes are being made:
- I will be making my own bread, no more store bought.
- I am going to learn the art of pasta making.
- More seafood.
- Afternoon naps are a must.
- Walk walk walk.
- Morning coffee.
- Have equal parts of work and fun.