Existing Member?

Pizza, Piazzas & Planes! My adventures in Italy, London, and Ireland with my beautiful best friend!

Making a home in Cinque Terre!

ITALY | Friday, 2 January 2015 | Views [337] | Comments [1]

 Well folks, what an adventure Cinque Terre has been! I absolutely love it here!


Our train rides yesterday were eventful. We took a train from Venice to Florence, grabbed a bite to eat, and then hopped on the next train. However, going from a high tech train to a regional train means that you have no maps, no automated voices announcing the next stops, and no clue where your train is headed. So we simply hoped we were on the right train and took the time to read, relax, and adore the countryside. Thank goodness I had done so much research on the trains and was able to estimate how much time we had left and what station we needed to get off at.


Eventually we made it to La Spezia, and had to wait for our next train. Unfortunately the station was simply a platform and a few shops, so nothing really was there to help us kill the time. So as we walked around with our ridiculous amounts of luggage, we ended up using the restroom in the McDonald’s at the station. It was nasty. I swear, bathrooms outside of America are quite the adventure. But it was hilarious to see a McDonald’s at the station. As we waited for the train, an American boy walked up to us and started chatting with us. He was an 18-year-old boy from Kansas doing a year in Italy with Rotary, named Conner. He was funny and kind and helped us know what train to get on and where to get off. We road with him and chatted with him until he had to depart, then we got off at the next stop, Corniglia (the smallest of the villages, with the most steps to climb).


As we road the train from tunnel to tunnel, under the mountains, we got glimpses of the sun setting over the Mediterranean. It was incredible! When we got off the train in Corniglia we noticed several girls speaking English. They came over and said hi and laughed at us for our ridiculous amounts of stuff and we told them that we would be taking the shuttle instead of hiking the 365 stairs to the village. As we bought a ticket for the shuttle bus, one of the girls came back to us and said the bus was there, waiting. They had held the bus for us, and as we chatted with them we learned their names, Jess, Isabelle, and Rachel, and then they invited us to join them for dinner. We quickly agreed!


We then found our way to the café ‘Pan e Vin” to meet the woman who owns our hotel. She called her husband, he filled in for her at the café counter, and she walked us to our room. This town is so small that it has 1 main street and 150 residents. No chance of getting lost here! We have a beautiful 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom little apartment that overlooks the ocean. It is all white, has a mini fridge, space heater, warm water, and Wi-Fi. What more could we ask for, right? She brought us water bottles, a map, and a schedule for the bus. We were thrilled! Then, we unpacked, changed, and met the girls for dinner.


The girls are absolutely incredible! It was crazy fun! And what made it even crazier was the Nat had prayed for us to meet some new friends, and look what happened! Jess and Isabelle are from South Africa (but not the same town) and Rachel is from New Zealand. They are working together on a yacht as waitresses and cleaning ladies in Genoa, Italy and took the weekend to come to the same little town we ended up in! HOW CRAZY IS THAT!?!?


 We had pasta and wine for dinner, followed by “limoncello” (an Italian drink made from their very own lemons). We also had a lot of conversation about accents, the way we word things, and just how life in general is so different for each of us! Then, we went to a café for some hot chocolate (and Wi-Fi) and then went with the girls to their apartment. We played ‘Uno’, chatted, and snacked with them way past bedtime. But it was worth it!


After not much sleep, we got up today, ate breakfast at the café Cristiana owns, and then took the train to visit all 5 of the villages that make up Cinque Terre. (Cinque means 5 in Italian). We visited Riomaggiore, Monterosso, Manarola, Vernanza, and we live in Corniglia. They are all connected with the train, are each beautiful and small, and have incredible views of the ocean. They are also a tourist trap (Except ours, no one wants to climb the stairs! Ha!) We enjoyed visiting them all, seeing their marinas, eating focaccia pizza, and especially gelato!


After visiting the 4 other villages, it was time to come back to our home here in Corniglia and visit our own city. We managed to find a trail that led back down to the water, and we watched the sunset over the most beautiful marina I have ever seen. These cities just absolutely blow my mind!


As we climbed the 365 steps (again) we decided to take the stairs back down to the train station and buy our tickets for tomorrow’s adventures. However, the dang machine was having trouble connecting to the system and wouldn’t print our tickets! And since we had stopped at our apartment earlier, we didn’t have our purses on us to pay for the shuttle so we had to walk back up the stairs to Corniglia for the 6th time today! And that isn’t counting the stairs done at the other villages! Legs of steel, here I come!


After returning, we were hot, tired, and crabby. But we took the hour before dinner to clean up, check some emails, and breathe. We met the girls at 7:00 for dinner once again and had a delicious meal of tuna, artichokes, and tomatoes. As much as I have loved the pasta and pizza, it was time for some protein! I am missing a balanced diet. We don’t get much fruit, veggies, or meat here. So the fish was delicious and helped! We had wine and limoncello again, before it was time to bid our new friends ‘ado’.  


When we returned home it was time to repack our bags and get ready for bed. I stuffed a ton of things into my backpack and tried to organize everything once again. Tomorrow is going to be a huge day, yet again, filled with lots of stress revolving around the trains.


We will (hopefully) get tickets and make the train from Corniglia to La Spezia to Pisa. Pisa will be a dream come true to see the Leaning Tower! Then on to Rome we go! I am excited to finally get there, see Kaitlin and Julia, and make ourselves a home there.


I’m sure we will get there just fine and it will all have to be taken one thing at a time. However, as excited, as I am to go to Rome, Cinque Terre has been quite the blessing and home to us. We have loved it here and are so thankful for the warmth, beauty and friendship this place has offered us.


Tags: cinque terre, hiking, limoncello, new friends, stairs



Wow what fun. English speaking people must not be around much. That is neat that you met 4 people in the same afternoon who spoke English. I am glad that everyone was so kind and helpful for you. That does sound like a lot of steps. I am sorry that you had to carry all your bags. Not sure which is better a large backpack or a suitcase with wheels, either way it would be a lot to handle. It will be fun to see your St. Thomas friends and get settled in a bit before schools starts. Then you can leave your bags at home for 3 weeks. Take care and enjoy your vistis. Sending love, Your Mama

  Mary Jo Jan 3, 2015 2:32 PM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About crobbins

Follow Me

Where I've been

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Italy

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.