On day three, I discovered chocolate-filled croissants. They are AMAZING. That is all for this post!
Just kidding! On day three, we had options. Our options were: to enjoy a free day or sign up for a planned excursion to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is a string of five, centuries-old seaside fishing villages along the Ligurian Sea and is best known for its colorful houses along steep hillside terraces. We visited three of the five lands: Manarola, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare.
We set out from the hotel on a bus on the way to La Spezia, where we hopped on the train to the first stop, Manarola. Here we were able to hike up the cliff to snap beautiful pictures of the beautifully colored hillside houses. After pictures, a few of us even went swimming. The water was freezing and challenging to spend much time in. However, there was a large rock to jump off, which had a rope to help climb up.
Our second stop was Vernazza. There is a remote beach that can be reached through a cave entrance from the main street. Unfortunately, the cave was closed due to flooding. Instead, we spent our time eating gelato from Gelateria Stalin which came highly recommended by our tour director (I had lemon, honey, and mango. The real kind this time…unlike our first night in Florence.) and exploring the Doria Castle and Belforte Tower on top of the hill. After climbing the steps, we paid a small, 50 euro fee, and climbed to the top for some beautiful views.
Monterosso al Mare
Our last stop was Monterosso al Mare. We had decided to wait to eat lunch at this stop since we had the most amount of time here. However, by the time we got here, we were all hangry and exhausted. The train dropped us off near the beach, and we made the short walk through the tunnel to the town to find some food. After wandering around, we finally found Ristorante Belvedere, a place that had enough seats for all of us. We ate linguine with pesto and seafood (separate dishes, of course!), served family-style with wine. After eating, we regained some of the energy and spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach. Fortunately, we were able to find a seat underneath one of the buildings for some shade (I was sweating sunscreen at this point). I had brought the wine I bought from La Tancia; which we drank it, very classily, from plastic cups, on the beach. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming before we had to run back to the train station to catch the train.
There was a chance of rain all day and, fortunately, it waited until we were on the train to begin. However, it began down pouring on our walk back to the bus, which made for a cold, soggy ride back.
Making the best of our last night in Florence
We returned to the hotel, showered, and walked across the street for another late night, European dinner. We ate pizza at Pulcinella Pizzaiolo Di Rosario, which Jason informed us, has one of the best pizzas in Florence, and was quite literally the best pizza I’ve ever had. Lastly, another repack of the backpack before heading to bed with dreams of Rome in my head. Heh!