After a marathon morning catching trains and busses from Florence to get to Pisa and holding up the tower, it was time to head on to the next leg of the tour – Cinque Terre. This was easily the most exciting part of our trip because it was something I was dying to see in person. Whenever I started researching our trip, I ended up here.
Cinque Terre literally means five lands and they are all nestled high up on the rocky cliffs of Italy. They are World heritage sights and are absolutely breathtaking. You could easily spend a week just in these towns as there are boats and hiking trails that lead you easily between the lands. Or like us, you can hop on a train.
On our hour and a half long ride from Pisa to the first of the Cinque Terre, we saw what looked like snow on the mountains. But it was in fact marble mines. It was crazy to see how high up it is.
The first of the Cinque Terre that we stopped in was called Riomaggiore. I only know this because I took a picture. I’m terrible with trying to be hectic about names. I just don’t have the memory or the energy. Thank goodness for the cameras. Pity I didn’t take of the other ones haha.
We sat high up on the cliff overlooking the Mediterranean while indulging in some deliciously cold white wine and a plate of cheeses, hams and bread. While we were eating, we had the opportunity to get to know some of our other tour members. Surprisingly there were a load of single women from the UK, Singapore and other countries that had just decided to come out on their own for a week. I think that’s awesome. And they were having the best time staying in hostels and going on all the tours.
Then it was back on the train to head to the next land which I honestly can’t remember the name of. This stop was to fulfil two things – grab some gelato and swim in the Mediterranean. We obviously did both of those things to some degree.
First we grabbed a gelato and after my first experience taking a coffee one and being disappointed I always made sure that I had chocolate and another flavour. That way I know I’d be happy no matter how the other flavour panned out. While we indulged our increasing love for gelato we walked up the little cat walk area. It was so funny though because we kept comparing it to Cape Town. So this was totally like walking on the catwalk of Fish Hoek and the place we’d just been for lunch was similar to the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay. You might have had to be there to find it as funny as we did, but isn’t it crazy how you can come half way around the World and still see something so familiar? Also, it’s a great reminder of the beauty we have right on our own doorstep.
After that it was time to dip the tootsies in the warm, but still cold for me, Mediterranean Sea. Seth was so bummed that he hadn’t brought his bather, but I was happy just sticking my feet in and running out again. Also, how weird is brown sand.
This was also the land that I saw SO many beautiful trinkets in and idiotically assumed that they would be in the next one too. But there weren’t. I’m still dreaming of the Tshirt that I should have bought. Anyone heading out there soon? I’d pay you for that tshirt. But maybe I’ll just have to go back!
With full tummies we jumped back onto the train to visit the most iconic of the Cinque Terre towns – Manarola. This is the one that you see when people take photos of this area. Usually at sunset, but unless you are staying there for the night, you won’t be getting a train back that late. Apparently. So we got bright blue skies in our pictures but I’m fine with that too.
Besides the actual picturesqueness of the town, the other thing that it is known for is the focaccia. We got some as we were leaving but I’m not sold on it. Maybe it’s because I’ve been off bread for so long but it didn’t blow my socks off or anything.
Time for the last train ride of the day. We stocked up on something to drink (because you can totally do that on Italian trains and well, everywhere in Italy) and settled in for the 3 hour long ride back to Florence. Guys, they make wine in little bottles. I love it.
As was becoming normal, this was my view for most of the ride. Although I also nodded off a bit after the long day and in preparation for the long night to come.
When we got back to Florence we we in the main “city” area and while we were walking around we stumbled on a massive indoor market. Obviously we popped in for supper and there were just so many different options. Literally anything you wanted you could find in that market. Plus, there were FREE toilets – BONUS.
After that we took another walk through the city trying to find the bus stop that would actually be the right one to catch to get us home. Could we find it? Nope. Not a damn. We walked and walked and walked and then ended up walking all the way back to our apartment. It was very reminiscent of our first day there, but you know, we never learn.
While we were walking we did find a few funny restaurants and even an entire road filled with clothing stores. Obviously closed at like 11pm, but we knew where we were going to head the next day to stock up on some clothing to wear for the rest of the trip. You know, since our AirBnB falsely advertised that they had washing machines and stuff.
The next morning we got a chance to actually see Florence in the day time and it did not disappoint!
FOR MORE ON OUR ITALIAN TRIP DON’T MISS:
- What We Packed In Our Backpacks for 9 Days in Italy
- Leaving Cape Town
- Day 1 – Rome
- Day 1 – A Day In Rome – Photodiary
- Day 2- A Morning in Naples Climbing Mount Vesuvius
- Day 2 – An Afternoon In Pompeii
- Day 2 – A Night In Rome In Search Of the Best Gelato and Caffe
- Day 3 – The Roman Suburb Of Trastevere
- Day 4 – Rome To Florence
- Day 5 – A Morning In Pisa
Day 5: Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre Besides our upcoming days in Venice, today was one of the days I was looking forward to the most and it did not dissapoint! All my bucket list things checked ✔ Highlights: 1. Taking a tour for these kinds of things is really worth it. They know the places, structure it to work with the mass of tourists, figure out public transport and ensure you have fun without having to worry. Defs worth it if you’re wanting to visit a few places in one day. 2. We went to Pisa and did our bit to hold up the tower. Did you even go of you don’t take the photo? 3. We had also booked to climb the tower. Which we did and it was really weird because it’s so skew. I struggled with the whole heights and slanty thing the entire time we were on it. 4. The bus ticket system here works really well and NO it isn’t free. You have to buy a ticket at any shop that sells tobacco. It’s saved my knee like crazy! Also don’t forget to validate it (they were checking on the buses we were on) 5. Our first stop in Cinque Terre was basically just a stretched out version of Kalk Bay and we even had lunch at the “Brass Bell”. It was lovely though. 6. We ate Gelato and dipped our toes in the Mediterranean Sea at the second stop. 7. Our Cape Town beaches are way better than these beaches. By far. 8. The last Cinque Terre town we visited was Manarola which is the iconic picture that is often used for this town. It did not dissapoint. 9. We got back to Florence and were going to head home to plan tomorrow and go to bed. But that’s not actually how we roll. So in spite of us managing to halve our walking up till that point, in just this evening we managed to double it. Walking a total of another 20km. Dang it. Tomorrow we will be better though! 10. As we were walking back to our airbnb we saw so many people walking their dogs at 12pm! It’s weird but awesome. 11. Florence has a much more chilled night life than Roma. Tomorrow we will actually stay in Florence and see David, check out the Duomo and chill!