Hello everyone! We’re starting to wind down our European tour, I’ve now told you about:
Today I’m going to take you to Cinque Terre on the Mediterranean coast, my favorite destination! From Milan we took a train to La Spezia, and then a regional rail type train that goes to Cinque Terre’s 5 villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore – which was our stop!
Why did we decide on Cinque Terre? Well we knew we wanted to go somewhere along the coast. Of course we talked about the Amalfi Coast, a popular destination, but ever since I came across pictures of Cinque Terre on Pinterest a few years ago, I knew I wanted to go there, it was an easy decision for us both!
Cinque Terre – Day 1
As soon as we stepped off the train, I could not get over the quaintness of this village! These towns are built into the mountains, so everything is steep. The whole time we were walking up hills and steps, a little bit of a challenge with our bags, but hey, a good workout!
We checked into our room with Riomaggiore Reservations before heading out for a fresh seafood lunch with a view!
It was HOT out, so we then decided to head to the beach for a couple hours. The was an interesting beach – it was all rocky, not little pebbles, but large rocks and boulders. It made it pretty difficult to walk around and get in and out of the water (and totally destroyed my pedicure!). AJ and I lathered up the sunscreen and teetered into the water. Between the sunscreen, sweat, and water I was immediately uncomfortable with my wedding rings on my finger, so I made a fist with my left hand the whole time I was in the water.
AJ felt the same way and decided to put his wedding band on the chain around his neck. Well just as he was slipping it off his finger a small wave came and the ring jumped out of his hand! I saw it falling and immediately put out my hand to try to catch it. It bounced off my palm and went down! The water was super clear and if it was a regular sandy beach, I think we would have found it with no problem. We knew exactly where it landed, but because of the rock layers, it just squeezed it’s way down to the bottom and completely out of sight! 😦
I was super sad for a few minutes, but we were both just happy it was his ring, and not mine…whew! We then consoled ourselves with some gelato and a sunset walk before dinner.
I know I mentioned dinner our first night in Paris as the best meal of the trip, but tonight’s dinner in Riomaggiore was right up there, maybe even better just because we had fresh, fresh seafood caught mere feet from where we were sitting!
We started with Anchovies 3 ways, and I followed with a whole sea bass and AJ had pasta with a homemade caponata. We drank red wine to our heart’s content, and finished up our feast with a limoncello (for me) and a tiramisu (for AJ).
We rolled ourselves uphill and multiple staircases to our room and went to sleep with full bellies!
Cinque Terre – Day 2
I was particularly looking forward to today, we’re going on a boat!
Now, most people who come to Cinque Terre hike the villages, we probably would have done at least a light hike if we had more time here. But it was so hot and we’re now getting towards the end of our trip – and we’re tired and we’ve done so much walking in all the other cities, and still have Rome to go! We decided to just relax during our 2 days here and that’s why we decided on Angelo’s Boat Tours.
I knew from the moment we stepped on the boat this was a fantastic idea – we had a spread of meats, cheese, olives, marinated veggies waiting for the group, along with a side of free flowing prosecco! Our guide gave us a little history of the area as we set out and stopped for a pre-lunch swim. This water was unbelievable. I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy the turquoise water of the Caribbean and the clear water off the coast of Hawaii, but the Mediterranean was just so perfectly blue, I couldn’t get over it.
We stopped in Manarola for lunch, as part of the tour. We walked into a small restaurant reserved for our group of about 10 and were greeted with this stunning seafood salad:
Between this and all the wine on the table, I was perfectly content with lunch. But then the courses just kept coming all served by an Italian grandma who kept loading up the ravioli, pesto, sides, tiramisu, more wine, cappucino. Mamma Mia.
Between all the wine and being loaded down with food, I didn’t know if jumping back in the water was the best idea, but that’s what we all did for another hour or so. Everyone was pretty tuckered out at this point, and we then enjoyed a quiet boat ride back to the marina.
Still full from lunch, we decided on a low-key dinner tonight in our room. We picked up some fresh prosciutto, cheese, crackers and fruit from the village market and ate in our room while watching a movie on the iPad.
We also picked up a bottle of wine, but for the life of us, we couldn’t get it open! No corkscrew to be found, good thing it was only about 3 euros and we had all that wine at lunch. Sparking waters were probably the better choice anyway 😉
The next morning we packed up again and hopped on a train to Rome – can’t wait to tell you about our final stop!