Cinque Terraces

Today is going to be a big day as I work the Italian trains.

Up early and off to the train station. First a train back to Pisa then change trains to La Spezia which is where I can get the train to Monterosso.

You learn as you go! I should have got the cinque terra train ticket in Lucca when I bought the other ticket to La Spezia because when I got to La Spezia OMG. The crowds queuing up to get a ticket went for ages. So I went to the machine and bought a ticket to Monterosso and thought I would go there and work it out later.

No too bad though as I left Lucca at 7.08 and am now almost in Monterosso at 10.30am. It will be time for breakfast when I get there.

The train trip from Pisa was lovely. Very mountainous and lots of villages built on the top of the mountains.

Arrived in La Spezia and it was hell. From the calm and peace of Lucca I struck tourism at its worst.

Queues out the door and down the platform with people queuing to get either information about the cinque terra or trying to buy a day pass on the train.

I couldn’t cope with that so went to a ticket machine and bought a ticket to Monterosso and went and got on the train.

I think every tourist and local and their dogs were going my way!

The train trip was lovely but you were in a tunnel most of the way so couldn’t see much until you got to the station.

Got out at Monterosso with everyone else and tried to get through the crowds to get out of the station.

It was the perfect day. Not a cloud in the sky and the ocean was very blue and flat.

I wandered up and down the promenade after getting a map and headed around the headland to the actual town.

Right there was a little office where you could buy a day pass on a boat and it would take you down to all the villages on the cinque terra.

Got my ticket and was on the boat very quickly.

Passed Vernazza and dropped people off.

Then off to Manarola. Couldn’t stop at Corniglia as it is the only town on the Cinque terra that is not at sea level. Here is a photo of it from the sea

Next Manarola

And then the 5th town Riomaggiore.

Got off here and climbed a 1000 steps to the town.

There were so many tourists and the stairs were so narrow and steep it took a long time to get from the boat to the town.

I hope I am not sounding negative but it is sooooo touristy and I am not good in a crowd.

Got to the town and climbed a lot of steps and now sitting in a restaurant overlooking the sea having an aperol and the local delicacy of pasta with Ligurian style anchovies. This will be interesting. May have to have another aperol to get rid of all the salt!! Then again I could be quite surprised as their anchovies could be different to ours.

The view from my table.

Just arrived and smells unbelievable

OMG it is out of this world. Nothing like our anchovies

I just love how all the restaurants are on the side of a cliff or a hill and blend in so well.

Wandered down to the boat and sailed up to Varnazza and hoped off. There is a castle on the top of the cliff face with restaurants below sticking out of the side of the rock.

I think of all the towns I liked Varnazza the best although they are all unique in their own way.

I had such a lovely day exploring the towns by boat. A lovely lunch. It was sunny and hot and I am so glad I made the trip to do it.

I got off back in Monterosso

And made my way back to the train. I got a ticket back to Lucca with a few train changes and then myself and 15,000 tourists got on the train and off we went.

When I got my ticket to Lucca the lovely lady gave me all the times that all my changes of trains would be leaving. Unfortunately the cinque terra train was so late getting back to La Spezia that I missed my train by 15 minutes.

Headed into the town and had a drink and then on the train back to Pisa and a change back to Lucca.

It is very easy to get around with trains here and incredibly cheap.

So I am now home and packed ready to move to my villa tomorrow to start the cycling part of my holiday. If the weather today keeps up it will be spectacular.

I don’t think I have told you about my accommodation here in Lucca.

I was recommended a B&B called Evelina’s which is right in the heart of Lucca.

When I arrived and found the place it is on the third floor of an old building. No lift and a heavy suitcase but off I went.

Silvia met me at the front door. The B&B is an entire floor in this building.

It is lovely and so is Silvia.

My room is very cute

And breakfast is had each morning on the little balcony overlooking the roofs of Lucca.

So that is my day. Another one dawns tomorrow with another adventure starting on a bicycle.

Until tomorrow

Buona notte

Author: Baguettes cheese and wine

Cycling through Brittany and the Loire valley in June

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