Sunday 18th September
This morning we had a 9am departure and I was very excited because not only would we be going to the country I was most looking forward to, today we would be visiting a place that has been on my bucket list for years – Cinque Terre (and now I even now how to pronounce it properly – kind of like Chinkwa Terra).
We had about a 3 hour drive before we stopped at Levanto train station. We were given a 6 hour train pass and were told that we had to be at the meeting point in La Spezia later that night. Cinque Terre is made up of five villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. We caught the train to the first village, Monterosso. Unfortunately, it started raining when we got there so everyone was buying ponchos and umbrellas and we all started praying that the weather would clear up!
Monterosso was still pretty, even in the rain. We decided to find a restaurant for lunch because we hoped the rain would stop by the time we finished. We had a little walk around the narrow streets of Monterosso and I was already in love with Italy! Even better, the rain had stopped!
We got back on the train and got off at the next station, which was Vernazza. Vernazza was so pretty! We didn’t stay too long here as it was a pretty small town – just some time to get some photos and walk around the small town.
We headed back to the train station – the station and the trains were so busy, it was like a rush to get on the train and squeeze inside! We skipped the next town which was Corniglia, as to get to the town, you had to climb 382 steps – no thank you! We got off at Manarola and we ended up staying here for the rest of the day, skipping Riomaggiore as well. Manarola is the town that you see in pictures when you look at Cinque Terre on the internet – the gorgeous coloured houses built high up on the cliffs overlooking the water. It was really stunning. We walked up the hill around the coast to get some amazing pictures of the town and it really was beautiful.
After taking lots of photos, we headed back into the town itself to find a restaurant for dinner. We found a place and had some yummy pizza, but the experience was soured at the end because the waitress scammed us, pocketing our change and telling us we hadn’t paid enough. It was only 7 euros but still, it wasn’t a nice experience.
We headed back to the train station after dinner so that we would make it to La Spezia. While waiting for the train, the sun started setting over the water and it was really pretty.
We met up with Aidan and the coach at La Spezia and drove to the hotel. We got there about 8.30pm and it was a really nice hotel – right on the beach. I was starting to get quite sick with the Contiki Cough so I took my Codral that I brought from home with me and went straight to bed.