Cinque Terre and now Rome!

Oct 08

Cinque Terre and now Rome!

We found a place to stay in Monterosso, the northernmost of the 5 villages in Cinque Terre, and it was…. interesting. The location was fantastic. We had an awesome ocean view and a balcony that was perfect for eating gelato and watching the sunset. The bed, though, was a little short and the bathroom always smelled like sewer. A weird mix of being awesome and horrible.

On our only full day in Cinque Terre, we took a quick boat ride over to the next village, Vernazza, to start a hike. Our hotel neighbors did the hike the day before and it took them 5 hours so we figured it’d be a good workout. Trying to find the start of the hike was a little difficult. After going the wrong way a few times, we finally found the right starting point at the same time as a group of American guys. About 15 minutes in, Amanda’s asthma was starting to bother her. We immediately hiked back down and took the boat back to Monterosso to get her inhaler. After making a quick gelato stop, and I considering taking a nap, we started the hike in reverse at what would have been the end of the trail.

And a good workout it was; man, were we sweating. About 45 minutes in you could tell the views were going to be spectacular. There were red and white lines that look like a long equals sign painted everywhere (hah, almost everywhere) you might go the wrong direction on the hike. A few confusing forks with minimal signage and three liters of water later we reached the top of our hike, the Santuario N. S. di Soviore, at about 550 meters above sea level (according to the altimeter on my watch, calibrated the night before). The views of Monterosso and the sea were stunning. We relaxed and drank water for about 20 minutes.

We bought some more water, exchanged picture-taking with a group of Australians, and followed them down the trail to Vernazza.

It was a long, long way down to Vernazza and hard on our knees. We passed by many olive trees and grape vines. Some farms had motorized collection contraptions that looked like an unsafe unexciting theme park ride through some plants. If you’d ask me, I’d much rather ride a machine than carry boxes of olives/grapes up and down that hillside.

I had heard (or made up, we’ll never know) that the last boat leaves at about 7pmish. It was about 5:45pm when we got close enough to Vernazza to see that the boat was coming. We really didn’t want to wait another hour to take the boat so we ran the rest of the way. And by ran, I mean we RAN. I wasn’t quite sure we’d make it. As we were running through the village streets, I was sure that we’d missed it. Turns out we made it just in time! As we quickly purchased our tickets from the ticket lady she told us it was the last boat. We congratulated ourselves with some high fives as we wiped the sweat off of our faces and hopped on the boat back to Monterosso. In total, it took 3 hours 20 minutes including a 20 minute break at the top.

For dinner, we ate at Ristorante Miky, a swanky place that we had tried to eat at the night before but they didn’t open until 7pm and we were too hungry to wait. We got there at 7:05 to find a line about 10 people long. We had gotten dressed up (OK, OK, fine, I put on my dress up shirt – a collared short sleeve – and Amanda a nice black shirt. We’re traveling, give us a break) and were determined to eat a Miky. A gal in line told us this was Rick Steve’s favorite restaurant in Cinque Terre which probably was a clue to it’s popularity. Amanda had some triple vegetable soufflé dish with *amazing* cheese and I had some tasty gnocchetti in pesto. Tiramisu and chocolate souffle for dessert. Yummmmm.

We slept real good that night. Oh wait, just kidding. Our sleep has been anything but predictable this trip. Amanda had trouble sleeping with a sore throat 🙁 The next morning, reluctantly, we got up early and, reluctantly, had the same nasty hotel breakfast. A short walk to the train station and we were off to La Spezia, the first decently sized city outside of Cinque Terre.

We’ve been using a SIM card from TIM, an Italian mobile phone company, and were relying on our 3G data too much. We hit our data limits while traveling to Cinque Terre and subsequently used up all of our cell phone minutes. For most of our time in Cinque Terre, we were stuck in a hotel with no internet, with mind-boggling slow cell phone internet, and no upcoming hotel reservations for Rome. Uh oh.

Luckily, my data limit reset this morning (Monday) and I was able to use the internet at a decent speed. We waited at the La Spezia train station for 2 hours for a high speed train to Rome with no train changes. Even more luckily, there was wifi at the train station (for a fee) with which we were able to find and book a hotel for Rome. We’ve done too much traveling to a place without having a definite place to stay until the last minute. It’s getting quite tiring. More than a couple times we’ve talked about heading home before we initially wanted to. We’ll see how Rome goes.

But for now, our hotel in Rome is awesome. Considering we had like 6 choices for hotels with wifi and a gym that had 7 consecutive days available the one we picked has turned out to be great so far. Upon checkin, the front desk manager was funny and sarcastic and gave us a room on the top floor. We were A) surprised to have a separate sitting room with couch & king chair, B) surprised to have a walk in closet, and C) surprised to have a 40 foot balcony overlooking Rome!

We don’t have any set plans for Rome yet, but we do know there are about 5 things we know we *have* to see before we go. First thing on our schedule tomorrow is laundry. Yay! Clean clothes!

One comment

  1. Stace /

    I love you guys! Great entry! Hang out in your awesome room for at least a week! Sleep well and take care! Clean Laundry! Yeehaw!

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