|At least the cappuccino was pretty...|
We still had quite a bit of time, so we sat on the train station steps and watched the world go by...brave squatters sleeping on camping mats on the station steps, vaporetto buses carrying the rush hour load, and travelers entering the city for the very first time. Here are a few more Venice pictures before we depart:
|Gondoliers..we only watched. They are quite expensive!|
|The fresh produce boat outside our hotel.|
|Musicians who were playing songs from the "Pulp Fiction" soundtrack in front of a church????|
|A boat full of wine!|
|Leslie boarding the train.|
During the second leg of our trip, we were in a small cabin with four others- a young couple from Canada who were traveling Europe for the summer, as well as a couple vacationing from Switzerland. We had nice casual conversation. Sam and I lunched on a mozzarella and tomato sandwich that we bought at the Milan train station. We both read books on our iphones and soaked in the scenery of the mountains of northern Italy. Once we rolled into Genoa (Genova) and along the Ligurian coast, it was simply breath-taking landscape! Here is a taste of what was to come...
Monterosso al Mare is the northern most town in a series of five (Cinque) small towns (Terre) clustered along the Ligurian Sea and within walking distance of one another. The Cinque Terre is absolutely beautiful! Monterosso is probably one of the most popular and touristy towns because it is the only town that has an accessible beach. The other towns (going from north to south)- Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore-
|La Spiaggia Hotel|
|Our room at La Spiaggia|
|The bathroom at La Spiaggia|
|Our balcony overlooking the beach|
This hotel, like others, was very energy-efficient. In order to turn on the lights or use any electricity, you have to place your key card into this holder. Therefore, you cannot leave with the air or lights on.
We decided to walk ten minutes along the coast to old town Monterosso. The old town is just charming- definitely a small village feel! There are less tourists on this side of town, winding small streets and locals selling their wares. We stumbled upon Ciak, a restaurant. I recognized it from the reviews, and we thought we would give it a try. We sat outside in a small, shaded alley amidst the locals. I had the BEST salad I have ever eaten.... with fresh mozzarella, corn, lettuce, tomato, onion, and carrot. (By the way- the only salad dressings available in Italy are olive oil and vinegar.) Sorry- no ranch here! The salad was perfect! It was the freshest salad I have ever had, and I remember thinking that even the lettuce tastes better in Italy! Sam had the bruschetta Romana with anchovies. Both were excellent and the cold beer hit the spot on a hot day in July! When we were done, the waiter offered us complimentary shots of Lemoncino and shared the history of the restaurant with us- as well as gave us the honest low down on Italian tipping. See the review here.
|Lemoncino is liquor made from fresh lemons from the CT. It is VERY sweet and VERY strong!|
|Walking in old town Monterosso|
|Wonderful lemons are produced here!|
Later we chose to grab some gelato from the place literally at our hotel's doorstep, Gelateria Produzione Propria. Horrible. I had the hazelnut and Sam had the mora, or blackberry. I do not recommend it. The girl behind the counter could not be more rude and inconvenienced. See the review here. The gelato was not anything to rave about- so much so that it left Sam so dissatisfied that we walked down to another gelato place (Once again...do not judge.) and tried new cones from the place down the street, which was much better. We continued to sit outside on our balcony and people watch. Here are some of the views of Monterosso: